This week began with a flurry of moves on Tuesday and saw Miguel Amaya head up to Chicago and ended with DJ Herz in Double-A and Cade Horton in South Bend. It also saw the debut of Ben Brown in Iowa as well as Hayden McGeary in Tennessee and Jackson Ferris in Myrtle Beach. All in all, it was an extremely exciting week and let’s take a look at several things in a little more detail.
Ben Brown Talks
Simply put, Brown had an excellent start as he went 5.2 innings, allowed one run, and struck out seven. What was even more interesting was that he did a big interview with Tommy Birch at the Des Moines register where he talked about his excitement of being a cub since his wife’s family are huge cub fans. Well, that’s cool, I really dug how he talked about his development this off-season out in Arizona.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the article
Brown, who got an apartment near the Cubs complex in Arizona, walked over to the facility five or six days a week and honed his craft. He adjusted his arm action which gave his already electric fastball “more true ride.” The change also made it easier for Brown to throw his breaking balls for strikes.
“The slider has been huge for attacking right-handed hitters and the changeup is just something that I can throw the second time around the lineup or even the first time if they’re on my fastball,” Brown said. “It just lets the fastball have a little bit more freedom.”
Brown said he’s using the slider more and more while the changeup is still a work in progress. Still, he’s seen monumental results to start this season.
McGeary Locked In
15th round draft pick Hayden, McGeary does not seem to be phased by going from South Bend to Tennessee. He just looks like he is locked in on whatever he’s thrown. What I like most about him, aside from his ability to hit baseball, is he’s not afraid not to swing. He knows what a good pitch is and he’s not going to strike out a lot or make bad outs. This week he hit .421 with an OPS of 1.132, mostly from the four spot.
Jordan Wicks won the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for his five no hit innings in the last week of April. As well, Christopher Morel was named the International League Player of the Month and I was hoping we’d see him go up to Chicago on Friday this week.
MLB Pipeline Articles
Just because Daniel Palencia can throw 100 miles an hour, does it mean he should be a closer? I don’t know where this narrative comes from that the club should move him into that role. In watching him pitch all last summer, Palencia would have to totally redo his routine to become a reliever. Part of what makes that arm so powerful is the extreme long toss he does before a game. There’s no way he’s going to be able do that. In a relief role. The game is not going to stop so he can throw from foul pole to foul pole to get his arm ready. Here is what MLB Pipeline said on the matter this week.
Purloined from the Athletics in a 2021 deal for Andrew Chafin, Palencia has an extremely fast arm that produces 96-102 mph fastballs, mid-80s knuckle-curves and tight upper-80s sliders. The Cubs are developing him as a starter — he has posted a 4.26 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 Double-A innings — but also believe he could help them at some point this season if they make him a reliever.
Pipeline also released a mock draft by Jim Callis on Thursday night. It Is his first one by himself beyond just 10 picks. Callis selected Ryan Teel, a catcher from the University of Virginia. I am not in love with that pick. There were a lot of good college bats on the board, including my guy, Brock Wilken from Wake Forest. Then again, Callis didn’t even have Wilken or Yohandry Morales of Miami going in the first round. One thing Greg Zumach and I are going to talk about next month when we do our 10 round mocks is that picks belonging to the A’s, Reds, Royals, Rockies, and Marlins will likely go underslot with their pick.
Stat of the Week
News from Mesa
Some of you may have seen him Rich Biesterfeld’s pics of Alexander Canario after he took batting practice on Thursday. Earlier in the week, Rich took this one of Ed Howard and James Triantos doing things on the practice field as they both played almost every day this week and they may end up coming east on Tuesday this week or the week thereafter.
The Cubs called up three pitchers from the Dominicans Summer League extended spring training squad. They are Wilme Mora, Luis A. Reyes, and Yenrri Rojas. Mora and Reyes pitched mostly in a relief, in 2022 while Rojas started 12 games last summer and pitched well at times.
In a good sign, lefty pitcher Joel Machado has been pitching a lot in extended spring training, getting stretched out to be a starter. Machado, signed in the same international class as Richard Gallardo, has yet to pitch in a game that mattered due to injuries. When he was signed, he was a really skinny kid and bulked up pretty quick, I’m excited to see what he can do in the next month when the Arizona Complex League opens up play.
Fangraphs Cubs Prospect List
I am still not holding my breath as they still only have 12 lists done.
ICYMI on NSB
Our April All Star Team came out on Monday and it was a banger.
Coming Up Next Week on NSB
I have some ideas for an article or two this week but only one has been completed and that is my 7 round Mock Cubs’ Draft. Greg Zumach will have his competing 7 rounder at some point, too. Those should be out later in the week. Tomorrow will be “The Breakdown” while Tuesday will see the usual far of Cubs on Deck and Tuesday Transactions. As for the aforementioned ideas, they are some prospect updates on Ben Hecht and Reivaj Garcia. However, I might change my mind by lunch today. I am itching to talk about pitching…about someone.
Trailer of the Week
I loved reading Dune by Frank Herbert in college and its’ subsequent sequels. I just thought that last year’s cinematic adaptation was just stunning. Looks like part 2 of the first book will be just as good from the looks of things!