Kevin Alcantara – Picture by Todd Johnson
July is usually a turning point for a lot of players. If they have had a rough start to the year, they realize they need to put things together to finish the year strong. For guys that are just starting out in Arizona and the Dominican, it’s usually when we start to see them begin to put together how to play the game at that level. We’re starting to see that now throughout the system as guys are getting hot. There are, after all less than two months left in Class A, eight weeks in Tennessee, and less than a month in the rookie leagues. It’s just going by way too fast.
If most of you read Rich’s ACL Recap on Mondays, he’s been talking about certain players all year long who started out hot like a Alexis Hernandez and Christian More (Who is now in Myrtle Beach). Now, Jefferson Encarnacion has been on fire the last three weeks as have Chris Paciolla, Miguel Olivo, and pitcher Gabriel Agrazal. Keep an eye out for Rich’s report this week as I’m sure he’s going to highlight what some hot guys in tomorrow’s recap of the ACL.
South Bend’s Luis Verdugo struggled mightily at Tennessee in the beginning of this year. This was after a great season last year at South Bend. I was taken by surprise that he struggled to even come close to hitting .200. He’s now settled in South Bend and he’s getting back to basics where he’s driving the ball with success. In July, Verdugo looks to be doing much better as he was hitting .280 this month heading into this week.
I have always loved Verdugo as a player since the first time I saw him in action. When he came down from Tennessee in May, you could tell he was not in the right head space. He made silly errors, he made poor swing choices. But not now. He could walk more, yes, but he’s making productive outs. He’s not flailing away in hopes of hitting something. He’s driving the ball again and being selective. Good for him!
Another guy who’s really turned it up is Riley Thompson who I loved when he was a South Bend. He was one of my favorite pitchers to watch in 2019. Injuries robbed him of a 2021 season and it’s been a slow climb back for him but he has just been dominant this month.
The same is true for both Kevin Alcantara and Cole Roederer, who have been on fire and played driving the baseball to all fields as well as being patient at the plate.
Moises Ballesteros has obliterated the West Michigan pitching staff this week going while Kohl Franklin has yet to allow an earned run in July at Tennessee.
My final guy is from down in the Dominican. His name is Ramon Eriandys in which the Cubs got backwards, so his MILB page has his last name first and first name last when it’s the opposite way. Anyway, I would not be surprised to see him get promoted here anytime soon. He’s showing the ability to hit for average and also to be patient at the plate. Despite a later start than most players, in the DSL, the recent signee has just been a walk machine in addition to the doubles machine. His OPS is over 1.000 and he had a wRC+ of 159 heading into Tuesday this week. That’s pretty hot!
Tweet of the Week
Wait? The AFL is coming in a little over two months?!?!?!? I am not ready for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not! At! All. I haven’t started my post on who the Cubs should send. I guess I better get going on that as I usually put it out the first week of August! Then again, I haven;t started my DSL recap for today at noon, either!
A 2024 Mock Already?
Well, they dropped just after the draft began including this one from MLB Pipeline. It is odd that the Cubs have that high of a pick. Then again…it could get higher or lower the next two months. Things will be more clear in the next ten days about that.
Cards of the Week
The 1971 frame was pretty busy this week.
Pics of the week
Rich Biesterfeld was in Myrtle Beach this week. It was a lot of fun seeing a lot of pictures from him.
Coming Up Next Week
I will be traveling to Peoria for my last few games this year as I have to start getting ready to teach. Greg Huss will be there as well, as he was in the Quad Cities. Hopefully there will be several new guys for me to snap this week. I have two draft profiles coming up of Alfonsín Rosario and Yahil Melendez. We shall see how things go if I get to Brett Bateman this week as I don’t really have a lot planned or pre-written. I also have an affiliate update on the Smokies about ready, I actually want to do a mailbox post here before school starts.
This Past Week
This last week was a lot of fun for me to write. I co-wrote a piece with Michael Ernst, formally of Cubs Den, about the prospects that Jon Arguello might like in today’s Cubs system. That was a fun way for us to remember John six years after his passing. It’s not something I’m going to do every year, but maybe every three or four or five years to sit down and remember John and the influence that he had on Cubs prospect community.
Jam of the Week
A nice little upbeat ditty from my favorite English pop/rock band. I am pretty sure I have had this before as a Jam of the Week. Then again, I just love the song. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s catchy. I am not taking it too seriously.