2022 Recap

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans went 47-19 in the first half as they had the best record in all the minors by mid June. The Pelicans thus earned a playoff spot. But when you have a great team with great players, they get promoted and that is exactly what happened. The Birds went 31-34 down the stretch and lost to Charleston in the first round of the playoffs.

2023 Preview

The Pelicans’ 2023 roster was the most unclear of any affiliate, due in large part to the fact that a lot of players did not stand out last summer in Mesa. As well, the Cubs signed 15 pitchers in the 2022 draft and added two more in nondrafted free agency.

Buddy Bailey’s going to have his hands full this year trying to match a collection of high profile prospects needing experience with several college players trying to make their way to South Bend as fast as possible. The strength of this team is definitely going to be those players taken last year in the draft, most notably first round pick Cade Horton should be drawing a lot of attention as to what he can do as a full-time player.


19-year-old Moises Ballesteros will return to Myrtle Beach after a brief stint last year. That experience late in the year showed the talent that he has but it also showed that he needed to work on some stuff. There’s no doubt that he can barrel up a baseball, but he’s going to be facing lots of players who threw at some of the best conferences in division one baseball. It looks like he will be joined by former infielder Miguel Pabön, who spent all of last year transitioning to being a backstop. In addition, Ballesteros can learn quite a bit from catcher Malcolm Quintero who caught some last year in Myrtle Beach as well.


The big name in the infield is that of Cristian Hernandez, one of the Cubs top young players, who has really tampered down his leg kick this winter. That change should help cut down on the strikeouts this year. He’ll be joined by former ACL teammate Pedro Ramirez, while Reggie Preciado will be back after missing most of last year with a knee injury. Preciado is still only 19 so there’s not a lot of rush to get him going. I really liked what he was doing before he went down with the injury as he hit over .300 in May. The power hitting Felix Stevens will be at first base and Miguel Fabrizo will be doing some 1B and DH along with Rafael Morel and Reivaj Garcia backing up the rest of the infield. I know this is hard to believe but Reivaj is still pretty young at 21 and will be for most of the year. Hopefully he will get a good look and a lot of ABs this year.


This group of players is going to look a lot different from last year’s collection of bats, My comeback player of the year, Christian Franklin, along with Parker Chavers and Andy Garriola will headline a power group of outfielders who should do some serious damage in Myrtle Beach this spring. I would not be surprised to see all in South Bend in the second half. Rule 5 selection Jefferson Encarnacion will be there as well and Stevens, if needed, can play a game or two in the outfield.

Starting Pitching

With opening day, just a day away, it’s still unclear on the roles of the starting pitchers that made the club. Some will start and some will piggyback as the cubs normally are a little cautious to let a pitcher go out and throw five innings in their first start. They like to build up the arm strength first. As a result, we don’t know who’s starting for now and who is piggybacking. We will find that out over the course of the next six days. 

For my money, the Cubs will probably roll with Cade Horton, Grant Kipp, and Brody McCullough for sure in the rotation. Also in that mix are Koen Moreno, Michael Arias, Yovanny Cabrerra, Erian Rodriguez, and Marino Santy. The guy whose role I am looking forward to seeing most is Kevin Valdez. A year ago, he just had signed as an international free agent. He pitched well in the DSL, got the rare in season promotion, and now is in Low-A. Not too shabby for less than a year.


As well, we’re going to see how Buddy Bailey uses his bullpen this weekend to see who are the long guys, who are the set up men, and who are the closers. Nick Hull could start out as one closer and be joined in the bullpen by fellow closer Johzan Oquendo, Saul Gonzalez, Jose Romero, Angel Hernandez, Angel Gonzalez, and Branden Noriega who was been wowing people this spring. We will just wait and see who does what this weekend.

The Pelicans begin play tomorrow night and it will be available to be seen on the Marquee Sports Network.