Matt Mervis – Picture by Todd Johnson
Congrats to Matt Mervis and Walker Powell for winning last month’s players awards!
In other news yesterday, the Pelicans added Oliver Roque to their bullpen and Jacob Wetzel was taken off the IL. Things were not so rosy in Tennessee as Ryan Jensen was placed on the 7 Day IL. No corresponding move has been made at this time.
Poll of the Week
When I put out the poll of the week on Saturday afternoon, I was pretty sure it was going to be a landslide for Matt Mervis. In terms of production, Mervis is second in home runs in the Cubs system to only Alexander Canario and is one of the leaders in all of baseball in runs batted in with 104. He has done well at three levels this year and should be in contention to debut at some point next spring.
As for PCA, he is going to be skyrockling up prospect lists because he’s becoming one of the top hitters in minor league baseball. I would not be surprised to see him in the top 20 On several end of the year lists. His domination of Low A in April and May and High A in July and August has been nothing short of fascinating to watch. He has played well but he’s also gotten better at the same time.
When the MiLB season ends on September 28, I don’t think I can recall a year where the Cubs had three clear-cut favorites for the end of the year awards.
One Key Thing
For this week’s affiliate round up, I thought I would look at one key thing that has been an important part of each affiliate’s success this year.
Iowa – It’s clearly been the bullpen. From Ethan Roberts to Brandon Hughes to Erich Uelmen to Jeremiah Estrada, they’ve been pumping out arms and they probably have another one ready in Ben Leeper should the Cubs make room for him at some point. Odds are that Leeper probably fits better next year because of 40-man considerations for this fall.
Tennessee – The Smokies have been cranking out dingers all year long. They lost Nelson Velazquez and Christopher Morel in May and they just kept going with Alexander Canario and Jake Slaughter. They are never out of any game and it’s always fun to see them put up crooked numbers in a hurry.
South Bend – 2022’s really been a tale of two teams for the Cubs. There was the team that was around the first six weeks that had a lot of leftovers from last year. Once they went up to Tennessee, the second team arrived and they have just been kicking butt and taking names. The key down the stretch here has been an amazing starting pitching rotation with three guys who have ERAs under three in the second half in Luis Devers, Porter Hodge, and Luke Little. Add in Daniel Palencia and Kohl Franklin and Lance Rymel is going to have a tough time figuring out who to start in a three-game series against Cedar Rapids.
Myrtle Beach – They too were a totally different team in the first half but they have some guys who are really coming together in terms of hitting. Kevin Alcântara, James Triantos, Ezequiel Pagán, and Ethan Hearn have been quite good the last six weeks. The Pelicans have some pitching problems right now, but that offense has been keeping them close and could be the difference in the playoffs as only a few teams in the Carolina League playoffs have had the core of their lineup play together all year. You have to remember PCA, Kevin Made, and BJ Murray were the only three position guys to head up to South Bend. Most of what the Pelicans lost was their pitching.
Hitter of the Week
Matt Mervis just crushed it this week against Columbus with 4 HRs and 8 RBI and an OPS over 1.400. And I don’t think these HRs have landed yet. He’s definitely in contention for International League Hitter of the Week.
Starting Pitcher of the Week
This was all Luis Devers – 5 IP, 1 run, 8 Ks.
Reliever of the Week
I am getting a little misty eyed typing this – Ben Hecht is the reliever of the week. He threw 4 scoreless frames and struck out 5. I officially declare him recovered from TJS.
There’s not gonna be a Tuesday transaction this week because there’s just a week left and rosters are not going to shift very much. About the only move I can see happening is someone taking Jensen’s place at Tennessee. That could simply be filled by pulling DJ Herz off the Development List.