When the 2023 season kicks off, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are going to have some exciting players on their team. The highest ranked prospect who could probably start in Myrtle Beach this summer is 2022 number one draft pick Cade Horton. But that’s not a given. Horton could pitch well in spring training and be assigned to South Bend instead. I talked about that earlier this winter.
Today, though, it is all about the infield at Myrtle Beach.
The Pelicans are going to have several players who people are whetting their lips to see play every night on minor league baseball television. You can put me in front of the line to see the same develop this summer
Who They Got?
Cristian Hernandez will probably be the most well-known member of the infield. He’s going to be playing shortstop most every day. His 2022 season in the Arizona Complex League was one of adapting and adjusting to playing in the United States. It wasn’t a bad season, but it wasn’t a great one. The Cubs have retooled the soon to be 19-year-old’s swing and quieted it down some. Hopefully that leads to more contact and less strikeouts. While some people may be focusing on Hernandez bat, I’ll also be looking to see how much he physically grows over the course of this upcoming summer and what exactly he can do on defense.
Pedro Ramirez should be playing a lot of second base. The 19-year-old is a little bit stockier than Hernández but a lot shorter at around 5 foot 10. But Ramirez has hit at two levels, and his performance is almost equally anticipated as Hernandez. In fact, Ramirez got a little cup of coffee at Myrtle Beach at the end of the year in 2022, and that may give him a little bit of a leg up heading into this season. I do not expect him to be in Myrtle Beach very long.
I’m also anticipating the full season debut of Christopher Paciolla. The 2022 3rd round draft pick was one of the few position players the Cubs took last summer. He’s a pretty good sized kid who will probably play third quite a bit. He can also slide over to shortstop and spell Hernandez if needed. I really like the potential for power for Paciolla but I don’t think we’re going to see it that much at home this year, maybe more so on the road where the ball tends to fly a little better.
Reggie Preciado got off to a horrible start last year in Myrtle Beach in April. He seemed to have turned it around in May before a knee injury put him on the injured list. Most people thought he was done for the year. He was back playing within a couple of months as he got in a few games before the end of this season. It’s almost as if he is starting over at Myrtle Beach this year. I’d expect him to play all around the infield as well.
The guy I am really pumped to see, for at least a little while, is Haydn McGeary. We got a sneak peek of him at the end of 2022 as the 15th rounder from Colorado Mesa showed up hitting some massive shots for the Pelicans down the stretch in September. I’m not expecting him to be at this level very long. He’s just too big and too good of a hitter. South Bend is where he’s going to get his challenge.
Anderson Suriel is also a possibility to play here. The former OF moved to first base in Arizona last year. Reivaj Garcia is all set to be at full season ball permanently in 2023. It seems like he has been around forever, but he is only 21 and will be for most of the year. If someone gets promoted quickly, that opens up a spot for Reivaj.
It is doubtful there is going to be another sneak peek for Myrtle Beach the rest of this off-season. The next look at the ball club will be the affiliate preview towards the end of March.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about this club because a lot of players just did not stand out last summer in Mesa. When it comes to the outfield, we’re probably going to see Cristian More playing alongside Andy Garriola and Ke’Shun Collier, two draft picks from last year, and probably Ismael Mena. When it comes to catchers, I’m not really sure who’s going to be there as there are just too many options and too many guys who just did not separate themselves from one another.