I am not sure where this week went, but it went and it went fast!
We got to see several Cubs pitchers step up their game and dominate this week. Most were expected but not at this level. I cannot recall a month where so many starting pitchers have ERAs under 1.00 heading into the last week of April. Myrtle Beach has Cade Horton at 0.00. South Bend has Brandon Birdsell and Luke Little at 0.84! Tennessee has Ben Brown while Iowa has none.
When I do the All-Star Team for April in about a week, I was thinking the standard to meet was going to be the usual 2.99 and under for starting pitchers. Surprisingly, only three more players would qualify in Brody McCullough, Connor Noland, and Riley Thompson. Still, 8 is a good number. I can roll with that.
When it comes to relievers for that team next week, the bar has always been set at 2.00. Not that many guys are in the running …. yet. Give it a week. As of today, Hunter Bigge and Jake Reindl make it from Tennessee, Sam Thoresen and Carlos Guzman get in from South Bend. Surprisingly, 4 guys from Myrtle Beach would make it lead by Marino Santy, Saul Gonzalez, Kevin Valdez, and Yovanny Cabrera. Several guys like Tennessee’s Bailey Horn and Walker Powell are close along with Deppermann, Vargas, Nahas, and Scalzo from South Bend. We will see what happens in their two outings the next 6 days.
Hitter of the Week – Luis Vazquez of Tennessee takes the nod this week as he went 11-for-19 for a .579 average and an OPS of 1.724. He also hit 3 homers and drove in 6. Don’t be surprised if he is the Southern League Player of the Day.
Starting Pitcher of the Week – Michael Arias barely beat out Ben Brown and Cade Horton. Arias went 4 innings with 8 Ks as he made a scoreless start for the Pelicans.
Reliever of the Week – This award came down to the Pelicans game on Sunday. Heading into that, I was down to Marino Santy of Myrtle Beach and Brad Deppermann of South Bend who both did not allow a run and struck out 5 in four innings. Santy gave up 2 hits and Deppermann only 3. That’s a bit ticky-tacky to split them up. So, they both won it.
Affiliate of the Week – The Smokies got some good home cooking this week as they are starting to look like the talented team we thought they were going 4-2 on the week. They are now above .500 at 8-7 and just a half a game out of first behind Rocket City.
As for the Affiliates…
Myrtle Beach went 3-2 this week and are still hovering just around .500. Heading into Sunday, every game against Augusta was decided by one run. There’s a good team in there somewhere as we have seen flashes of it. Hopefully, Buddy Bailey can bring it out of them. As you saw above, the bullpen has been much better than expected. As for hitting this week, Reivaj Garcia and Reggie Preciado carried the team as it was a rough week at the plate at home. However, on Sunday, Moises Ballesteros had himself a game with 3 hits and Miguel Pabon went 2-for-4 getting his average up to .333 as he begins to play more at 1B besides catcher.
South Bend was on the road this week going 3-3. Most skippers would take .500 on the road. Connor Noland was very good along with Luke Little and Richard Gallardo. The bullpen had a rough week as the Cubs blew a couple of leads or they could have gone 5-1. As for the offense, Haydn McGeary is raking along with Bradlee Beesley, Scottie McKeon, and Fabian Pertuz.
Tennessee went 4-2 on the week and Luis Vazquez, as you saw above went off! Miguel Amaya had a good week but PCA missed a few games with an illness, according to the broadcast. We should know more tomorrow afternoon. BJ Murray has turned into a walk machine has he hit .300+ this week with an OBP of .535!!! As for their pitching, it was stellar as they had 10 guys with ERAs under 3.00 on the week lead by Hunter Bigge and Ben Hecht at 0.00.
Iowa almost went 5-1 this week but constant roster tinkering from Chicago left them with a bullpen day on Sunday as they ended up at 4-2 on the week. The offense…simply is a juggernaut. The starting pitching this week from Kilian, Chris Clarke, Roenis Elias, and Riley Thompson was just outstanding. The bullpen…not so much.