Haydn McGeary – Picture by Todd Johnson
There’s been a lot of taking stock in the past week. With two full months of action in, we’re beginning to see a little bit of a bigger picture of how several prospects are doing. We have our big-named guys who draw a lot of attention from the national media, we have guys that have been around a while and are knocking on the door of Chicago, and we have some new players or prospects that we did not see coming. You could call them surprises, you can even call them breakouts after two months.
Yesterday, on the Twitter machine, we put out three polls about who people thought were the Breakout Hitter, Starting Pitcher, and Reliever so far. By our definition, these are guys that we didn’t see coming or are having a good year as they are having. So, guys like BJ Murray and Luis Vazquez, who had big years last year, are not going to be breakouts. Neither is Owen Caissie, even though he is showing a lot more power than last year, he really came onto the scene in 2022. And the same is true for Moises Ballesteros.
Let’s see who people think.
There’s no big shocker here. McGeary dominated South Bend in April and struggled for a little bit at Tennessee. He seems to have rebounded in the last 10 days hitting almost .350 the past week.
The reason we included Jackson Ferris in this is because nobody thought he’d be at Myrtle Beach in May. August, yes. May, no. As a result, his dominant performance is a runaway breakout especially considering his minuscule ERA.
This was the toughest one for me. I really like how Joe Nahas has improved this year and he should be at Tennessee very shortly. However, Saul Gonzalez was your selection and a good one. Hopefully I will get to see him with South Bend in either Cedar Rapids or Beloit this month.
So that’s where that money went
I thought it was odd a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that the Cubs still had $500,000 in international free agent money just laying around. Most of that money was thought to have been spent back on January 15. So, when that news came out, I thought one word: Cubans!
I was not wrong.
The Cubs signed a 19 year old pitcher named Brander Guevara this week. The terms of the deal were not announced, but he is a kid who is big and strong, and has a lot of international experience. Then again, it’s been a while since he’s played organized ball having left Cuba 3 to 4 years ago. That’s just crazy to me.
Here is what Francys Romero of MLB.com said about him and followed by some video.
A member of Cuba’s team at U-18 World Cup in 2018, the teenager is considered by many scouts to be a potential starter. He has shown good mechanics with solid arm action and durability. He spent some time in Costa Rica and in December, he moved to the Dominican Republic to showcase his talents. Guevara’s fastball sits at 90-91 mph and the belief is that he will eventually touch 93-94 mph consistently.
I would expect to probably see him in one of the rookie leagues this summer. I’m not sure which one yet. But we will find out soon.
End of EXST
Yesterday marked the end of extended spring training. We should see most of those players end up on the Cubs team in Mesa. However, a few will matriculate east of the Mississippi. Scott Kobos pitched twice this week. He threw two scoreless innings and he will probably end up at Tennessee if the Cubs think he’s ready to go. Ed Howard is most likely to go to South Bend. I would not be surprised to see him do a “rehab stint” in Myrtle Beach. That’ll be a pretty exciting day when Ed returns. We should also see Drew Gray make his 2023 debut. I think it’s gonna happen in Mesa, but I would not be surprised if he heads east to work in relief for the Pelicans. That would be cool.
Stat of the Week
I like numbers. These are some good numbers.
MLB.com published an article this week about which prospect from the 2018 draft was the best selection for each team. For the Cubs, it was Nico. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail about that pick.
The Cubs scored with several first-round college bats in the 2010s, including Stanford star Hoerner. Scouts began wondering why he lasted 24 picks in the 2018 Draft after he stood out in the Arizona Fall League that offseason, and he became the first 2018 draftee to advance to the Majors when he arrived in September 2019. He’s a career .278/.333/.387 hitter who signed a three-year, $35 million extension in March.
Card of the Week
Jared Young pitched for Iowa this week…enough said.
Big Week Coming Up at NSB
The two complex leagues start play tomorrow. Last year, I did a rookie league recap every Sunday. This year, I am splitting those duties with Rich Biesterfeld, who is out in Arizona. He’ll be doing his own Saturday or Sunday post about the happenings in Mesa. I’ll be covering things going on in Boca Chica every Sunday at noon. We will also be doing some previews of those two leagues over the next two days. The DSL preview drops today at noon.
In addition, Greg Zumach and I will be dropping our 10 round Cubs mock drafts this week on Wednesday. I don’t think they could be more different.
Jam of the Week
Going all the way back to my favorite band in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade….