Brody McCullough – Pic via Myrtle Beach Pelicans

One thing that has been impressive this month at Myrtle Beach has been the starting pitching. First rounder Cade Horton left early to go to South Bend. In his stead, 2022 second round pick Jackson Ferris arrived and has been, literally, and figuratively, almost unhittable. 

For Jackson Ferris, he’s thrown in three games, and has pitched a total of 10 innings where he struck out 12.His ERA stands at 1.13 and I don’t expect him to throw more than three innings until some point in June where the Cubs will probably take the cuffs off a little bit and extend him to four innings for that month.

But Ferris is not the only one who is pitched well this month. 

Let’s break down this new look rotation that’s starting to come together.

Michael Arias is a converted shortstop, who, for all intents and purposes, is still learning how to pitch. He has a very live arm and can reach the mid to upper 90s. This month he threw 10.2 innings and struck out 18. Then again, and has a WHIP of almost 2, and the batting average against of.268. But there have been moments where he has flashed some serious potential. He’s likely going to be in Myrtle Beach all summer as he works on developing into a more fully formed pitcher.

There are three guys who the Cubs also acquired last summer that have been standing out.

Nick Hull has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings over three starts in May. He has also struck out 18, but his WHIP is 0.69, which is rather nice. The former Grand Canyon closer seems to be adjusting well to starting again.

Nondrafted free agent Grant Kipp out of Yale has a 2.13 ERA over three starts this month. In 12.2 innings, he has struck out 12 with a 1.26 WHIP. He is almost ready to move to the next level but still needs a little more seasoning against the Carolina League.

The one guy who I am most impressed with who doesn’t necessarily have the best ERA and that is Brody McCullough out of D2 Wingate. He was the D2 pitcher of the year last year. In 13 innings this month, he’s struck out 23. He tends to give up most of his runs at the end of his outing, which bodes well for how he prepares for a game. He’s just gonna need to carry his success from early in games to the later frames. What is most impressive about McCullough is that opponents are only hitting .196 against him. Once he gets stretched out more, and that arm strength continues to grow, those later innings are also going to turn into goose eggs.

I don’t think anyone’s quite ready for South Bend yet, although Hull is close. If someone is needed to move up, he would be my first choice, but it would be hard to pass up McCullough as well, despite a 4+ ERA this month. He misses a lot of bats. 

I’ll be back again tomorrow to discuss some of the things that I saw in South Bend over the course of nine days and seven games.