Welcome to the first breakdown post of the year!

For those of you that are not familiar with the format, every affiliate is off on Mondays in full season baseball. As a result, that makes it a great day to recapitulate the week and to select our awards for the week. In years past, we’ve done a Hitter of the Week, a Starting Pitcher of the Week, a Reliever of the Week, and an Affiliate of the Week on a regular basis. Most of those things will continue but I’m sure we will also have some other awards along the way.

So let’s see how each of the four teams did this week.

Myrtle Beach 1–1

The Pelicans got rained out on Saturday night and they only played two games this week to begin their season. They did not play well on Thursday and they played really well on Friday. I’m still not quite sure who all this team is because there is a lot of things still up in the air after just two games as to who all is going to be starting, who all is going to be piggybacking, and who is going to pitch at the end of close games. This much I know….Andy Garriola is going to have a good spring!

Cade Horton should be debuting on Tuesday night. It’s just one start but I am excited to see how the newly minted top 100 prospect will do.

South Bend 3-0

Luckily for me, I was present at all three games as the South Bend Cubs began their season against the Quad Cities RiverBandits in Davenport, Iowa. Thankfully, every day was gorgeous, especially Sunday where I took over 200 pictures. That ought to last me. Manager Lance Rymel seemed to be going with a very much defensive oriented lineup. Fabian Pertuz is filling in at third for James Triantos while Liam Spence made a few nice plays at second and Kevin Made was all world shortstop every game. I was pretty excited to see Luke Little pitch for the first time on Saturday. I also get to meet his parents and I can see where he gets his height.

The highlight for the weekend series was just getting to see Kevin Alcântara and Haydn McGeary play. Alcântara is just one of the most elegant athletes I’ve ever seen on a baseball field. He’s like a gazelle in the outfield and on the base paths. McGeary just hits the baseball unbelievably hard and I’m excited to see what he can do over the course of the season.

This week, Connor Noland and Kohl Franklin take the bump on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tennessee 2-1

it took 17 innings before they seemed to finally wake up and play the way they are capable of playing. This is probably the most talented team in the system from the bullpen to the rotation to the every day position group, but they didn’t play like that on Thursday night and most of Friday. They waited until the bottom of the ninth on Friday night to score 5 runs to come from behind to defeat Birmingham. Which, in and itself, is pretty darn cool. Hopefully this group of guys can start putting it together on a daily basis fairly quick which did they did on Saturday shutting out Birmingham 6-0. Ben Brown was looking good without his best stuff!

As for next week, I’m also excited to see, how Porter Hodge does along with Daniel Palencia. Those will be two fun nights!

Iowa 3-2

They’ve now got 10 days worth of games in and things seem to be rolling for the I-Cubs at 6-2 for the season. Nelson Velazquez, and Christopher Morel don’t seem to be phased at all by being sent down. They are playing like they want to be back in Chicago. The same is true for Jeremiah Estrada in the bullpen. And my favorite performance in Iowa this week was Riley Thompson’s Friday night start where he went four innings and only threw 55 pitches, yet he struck out six and only allowed two base runners.

Awards for the Week Ending 4.9.23

Web Gem of the Week

I was there. Saw it in real time. Still struggling with how much he gets on the throw and how much the throw beat the runner.

Strikeout of the Week

Just plain nasty…Marino Santy of Myrtle Beach

Dinger of the Week

A walk-off wins it every time!

Hitter of the Week

Christopher Morel hit .389 with an OPS of 1.098 in addition to scoring five times and being the sparkplug for the first full week of the season.

Starting Pitcher of the Week

This goes out to Riley Thompson – 4 IP, 6 Ks, 0.5 WHIP, .077 BAA. Stud!

Reliever of the Week

Nic Burdi – Iowa – 2 IP in 2 games – 5 Ks. Wow!

Affiliate of the Week

South Bend went 3-0. That’ll do!

Picture of the Week

Luke Little by yours truly.