Brad Deppermann – Picture by Todd Johnson
Top prospects usually grab most of the headlines throughout the course of the season. And rightfully so because they tend to have performances worthy of highlighting. However, in April, there were several other players in the Cubs’ system, whose performances did not get as much attention, and they probably should have. I’m going to rectify that today.
The big thing I am seeing is a lot of guys matured tremendously. I am not talking about their maturity to their game on the field. Rather, I am talking about just life in general. Sometimes adversity can make a person stronger. People do change and sometimes something that’s always been inside of them is brought out because of said adversity.
Here are the most under reported storylines from April in the Cubs’ system.
The Rebirth of Reivaj Garcia
Granted, he did win the comeback player of the month award on the April All-Star team. If he would’ve hit .270 or .280, that would’ve been a great story. But Garcia hit almost .400 in April and the former 17-year-old phenom has now turned into a 21 year old hitting machine.
Bradlee Beesley’s Production
One thing I noticed about Bradlee Beesley on opening weekend was that he was in South Bend. I thought there is no way he should be there. He is much too advanced for this league and it didn’t take long for him to prove that. But when he got to Tennessee, that confidence that he gained in South Bend carried over and now he’s doing the same thing at Double-A, which is he’s getting on base, playing all three outfield spots, and flashing the occasional power.
Kevin Valdez, Johzan Oquendo, Angel Gonzalez, and Yovanny Cabrera in MB
Heading into the year, the Myrtle Beach bullpen was up for grabs as to who would be there, and what the roles would be. Needless to say, this group of pitchers has been the best in the system in terms of lowest ERA. It also had the most relievers on the April All-Star team.
Yonathan Perlaza is raking at Triple-A
Perlaza has quietly gone about his business this spring, and has just been mashing baseballs all over the International League. While Morel and Mervis grabbed all the headlines, Perlaza has quietly hit.319 with 2 HRs in 11 RBI.
Joe Nahas Ruling in Relief
Joe now has dad strength and with that comes a certain sense of maturity and things have really started to click for him this year in relief. He’s not going to blow you away with a 92 to 93 mile an hour fastball, but he can put that pitch where he wants it along with a breaking ball. He can mix pitches and change speeds and that has been the key to his success this spring.
Scottie McKeon Reborn after a Winter in Arizona
Normally, Scottie would have returned to North Carolina after last season. His career as a pro has been pretty bumpy. It started off with a broken hamate bone up in Beloit in the second week of 2021 that pretty much washed that season out. And last year he struggled to find playing time at South Bend and Myrtle Beach and he became an organizational guy at the end of the year. But that might’ve been the best thing for him as he went to Iowa and had a decent run the last couple weeks of the year in Triple-A. That confidence led to him moving to Arizona over the winter and working out of the Cubs facility almost every day and that has carried over to success this year on the plate. In talking with him, he is much more mature this year and much more confident. You can see it in how he walks, runs, talks with his teammates, and swings the bat. It’s been fun!
7. Sam Thoresen – Wild but Effective
After undergoing Tommy, John surgery, the Cubs moved Sam to a piggyback role to start this year. He is still wild, but he’s also able to pitch his way out of jams this year at high A and he’s still missing lots and lots of bats.
8. Fabian Pertuz is turning into a grown ass man
You go play for your country in the World Baseball Classic and see if you don’t come back a changed person. I really enjoyed watching Fabian Pertuz in 2022. He can hit, he can play three positions in the infield well, and he seems to come up big when needed.
9. Miguel Pabon Is Getting It Done.
Pelicans broadcaster Sam Weiderhaft just raves about the leadership qualities of Miguel Pabon behind the plate, in the dugout, and in the locker room. Finally, the former SS is taking to catching and that ease is carrying over to his performance at the plate.
10. Brad Deppermann Is Looking Really Good!
He’s always had the tools to do well. It’s just been minor rinky-dink injuries that have held him back. In April, he’s been healthy, touching 95-96 regularly and he’s been fantastic usually going 2 innings in relief. The key for him is limiting the walk. In fact, he lead the system in K/BB at 9-to-1. That’s amazing!
I will be back tomorrow with some stat leaders for the month of April.
Thanks again Todd love reading all the articles you provide everyday. Love the prospects in the system seems every team is loaded with talent. Lots of young catchers to keep an eye on all summer.
Some others that stood out to me:
BJ Murray opening up his AA career (90 PAs) with a 112 wRC+, .378 OBP, lots more flyballs/lots fewer GBs, and not sinking himself with Ks
Pretty happy to see Luis Vazquez bringing more game power and flyballs. I’m all about a versatile glove and SLG bench, see the pixie dust potential going back to showing some game power in Eugene at 18 in the pre-pandemic days and the org’s willingness to move him around the minors as needed. Interesting track at least for this guy (drafted at 17, out of Rk ball by 18, mostly upper minors PAs since 19)
Still early enough that I could not mention it but Ethan Hearn’s lopped off more Ks while moving up a level (29% to last year’s 34) and has an 18% K rate and lg avg offense over his last 33 PAs after opening with 6 Ks in 8 PAs…Only 41 PAs…Defense looks improved, more confident in general, and still fast
Still no Chavers or Fabrizio…….
Well, no news is good news, prayerfully?
I know! I love the potential of Chavers