Kevin Alcantara – Picture by Todd Johnson
The first two rounds of the draft were last night and the Cubs came away with a couple interesting players in Matt Shaw and Jaxon Wiggins. You can read their draft prospect profiles on NSB by clicking on their names.
Today will be rounds three through 10 and I will be covering them live on North Side Bound. It will be the same post all day long and I will start live blogging at noon. All you have to do is have it open in your browser on your phone, tablet, or desktop, and just click refresh to see the latest selection and background. I’ll try to have some basic information on each guy, a quote, some video, and a card.… maybe. Tomorrow will be a little bit tougher for rounds 11 through 20, but I’m getting started at 12 noon with the live blog. The Cubs first selection today is at number 81 and the next one after that is 113. Lots of good names are still on the board.
If you want to get a head start on being prepared, six of the ten names I mentioned in 10 names to know at 68 yesterday are still available and will likely be there at 81 when the Cubs pick.
Back to the week that was in the minors
Every single full season affiliate played seven games last week. Now that we are a full 10 games into the second half, that means there’s only 60 games left. The first half seemed to be over fairly quickly and the second half Is it going to do exactly the same. I will be in the Quad Cities this weekend when play resumes, and then my last opportunity to see South Bend will be in Peoria the last week of the month. Then I have to get ready for school and mentor a couple new teachers before that begins.
Let’s breakdown what’s happening with each club so far in the second half.
I-Cubs are on a roll. After winning the first half by a half a game, the Cubs have positioned themselves well to get a playoff spot in the second half for the second year in a row. Their starting pitching is beginning to stabilize with Jordan Wicks and Adrian Sampson now in the fold. They join Nick Neidert, Riley Thompson, Ben Brown, and we’ll see what happens with Caleb Killian, who was outstanding in relief this last week. The offense has not been a problem either as it is loaded with power bats like Mervis, Perlaza, Chase Strumpf, Jake Slaughter, and then you add in on base guys like Bryce Windham, Darius Hill, and Sergio Alcantara. PCA should be joining the I-Cubs any day now.
Things are going to change a little bit in the second half because PCA will probably be in Iowa. That’s going to open up some opportunities for others, but most notably Cole Roederer. It should give him a chance to play more frequently. Now that he’s fully recovered from Tommy John, he’s been showing what he can do the past two months. He just needs to do it on a daily basis. We’ve seen DJ Herz flash again, and then struggle again. He needs to flash more on a consistent basis. I would expect to see some guys coming up from South Bend this week. Brandon Birdsell and/or Cade Horton should be coming. That would be exciting. As for who goes to the bullpen, that’s above my pay grade right now.
They could go on a run after the break. They have all the pieces they need to play well and earn a playoff spot for the second half. The issue is they have to produce. For the past six weeks, the offense has struggled. Then, in the last month, the bullpen has been extremely unstable holding leads or keeping ties. With Ballesteros and Stevens aboard, that lengthens the lineup some and Parker Chavers could help. Hopefully pitching coach Clayton Mortensen can get the bullpen back to their April and May performance. There is plenty of talent there.
The Pelicans just keep chugging along is if the first half never ended. Whatever they’re putting in the water in Myrtle Beach should be systemwide. Buddy Bailey is going to have a position core that’s going to remain mostly the same in the second half except for probably Parker Chavers who should be in South Bend as we speak. It’ll be interesting to see who the starting pitchers are coming down the stretch of the second half as Grant Kipp and Nick Hull could possibly be sent to South Bend along with a couple relievers. I also expect to see some 2023 draft picks like first rounder Matt Shaw.
Players of the Week
Hitter of the Week
Kevin Alcantara is a thing again and it’s good to see. He struggled mightily adjusting the first two months but he began to takeoff in June and he has not really stopped hitting since. On Friday night, he drove in five runs after heading to home runs. For the week…he hit .421 with a 12.289 OPS and he had 7 RBI.
Starting Pitcher of the Week
I’m going with Kohl Franklin who four inning 7K performance is hopefully indicative that he’s adapting to AA. It was his first start this month and hopefully he can continue to build on that and develop some consistency from start to start at this level.
Reliever of the Week
Kenyi Perez has been at Myrtle Beach for less than two weeks and this is already his second Reliever of the Week award. This week, he went 2.1 innings with five Ks and we are only just beginning. I wonder if the Cubs plan to stretch him out as a starter or keep him as a reliever?
Affiliate of the Week
Yeah, the first place Smokies are smoking winning five in a row. They went 6-2 on the week and lead their division in the second half. In fact. the Smokies’ odd of being playoff bound