Over the next week to 10 days, there are going to be a lot of changes in the system. The draft picks have until Wednesday to sign and it looks like the only one who may not sign is Jaxon Wiggins, the Cubs second round pick out of Oklahoma. If he does not, the Cubs will get an additional second round pick next year in compensation round B. In addition, once the draft picks sign, they will be placed somewhere with most initially starting out in Mesa, and then going to either Myrtle Beach or South Bend. It’ll be interesting to see who exactly goes where.
As well, the trade deadline is a week away. It’s unclear whether the Cubs are going to be buyers or sellers or maybe even standing pat, which I highly doubt. After these last four games, the Cubs are inching closer to .500. They need to be sprinting to be buyers. However, Bellinger is something else. And with Swanson now healthy, I am leaning this club will be buyers if the next week is a dominant one. That success will have a huge impact on who goes where a week from tomorrow on transaction Tuesday.
It’s OK to think about those things and keep them in mind, but let’s get back to what’s happening in the system the past week.
The Playoff Hunt
Iowa has been in the hunt all season. They were in first place after the first half (which does not give them a playoff berth) and are now neck and neck in the second half. They are currently in first place by a half a game over St. Paul with four teams close behind. The Smokies are chugging along and already pulling away from Chattanooga and Birmingham after just 20+ games with a 4.5 game lead already. South Bend struggled coming out of the gate in the second half but has been playing much better as of late. They need to go on a run to get back in it. They have that chance this week against Peoria. Myrtle Beach is already in from winning the first half. They are trying to win both halves and they are only a few games back in spite of losing four in a row this week
Iowa – Things seem to be rolling along just fine for the Iowa Cubs offense. Ben Brown bounced back this week with an outstanding start and Luis Vasquez and Bryce Windham just keep chugging along, pushing their names further up the list to go to Chicago along with Nelson Velasquez. The one area that this team is struggled has been some inconsistencies in pitching. We’re starting to see Brendon Little and Bailey Horn dominate this month along with Riley Martin, who did not allow a run all month until Saturday. All three of those guys have now put themselves in position to head to Chicago as well.
Tennessee – This team is a vicious freight train with spikes on the front of the engine and it is just demolishing everything in its path right now. Under manager Kevin Graber, this team is scoring a lot of runs, the pitching rotation improved, and the bullpen has just been lights out. Zac Leigh, Danis Correa, Cayne Ueckert, Carlos Guzman, Samuel Reyes, and Porter Hodge are just dominating the back half of the game. And I didn’t even mention Luke Little.
South Bend – This has been the second good month in a row for Kevin Alcantara, but he’s not been in the lineup the last few games due to a knee contusion. Moises Ballesteros has been on fire the past month. As well, Michael Arias and Brandon Birdsell have been lights out on the mound along with Eduarniel Nunez. They’ve been playing better as of late and I’ll get to see them this week down in Peoria. I won’t be at every game, but I’ll be at a few.
Myrtle Beach – This team hit a little bump in the road for the first time since May this past week. They lost four in a row to Columbia. They just could not pull out wins. Parker Chavers still continues to show that he’s been ready for six weeks to be promoted to South Bend. Grant Kipp is also ready to move up a level. I did an affiliate update on Friday about the Pelicans young pitchers in their starting rotation that you might want to check out.
Poll of the Week
Players of the Week
Co-Starting Pitcher of the Week
The first one goes to Ben Brown, who went five innings, and struck out nine while allowing just one hit. It was his best start in a month, and hopefully this is the return to form for one of the top pitching prospects.
The second one goes to Marino Santy of Myrtle Beach who threw a five inning no-hitter yesterday. He struck out 8 in the rain shortened affair.
Expect both guys to be players of the week in their respective leagues tomorrow.
Hitter of the week
This was a tough one as Moises Ballesteros, Cole Roederer, Nelson Velazquez, and PCA all had great weeks along with Levi Jordan. But Ballesteros stood head shoulders above everyone else this week getting back-to-back three hit nights. He hit .455 with 1 HR and 6 RBI.
Reliever of the week
This came down to yesterday. The one thing we haven’t been seeing a lot of lately are high strikeout totals and that’s made it a little difficult to pick someone for separating themselves from the pack. Franke Scalzo had 5 Ks in 4 scoreless this week for South Bend. He also had one save and he looks ready to move to Tennessee. He gets the nod.
I’ll be back tomorrow with Tuesday transactions. And then on Wednesday, I will profile sixth round pick Alfonsín Rosario. Thursday looks like it’s going to be the Tennessee Affiliate Update, and Friday will be Yahil Melendez, the Cubs seventh round pick from this year‘s draft class. Also, make sure and check us out for breaking news every afternoon as I think we’ll have some on the 25th if Jaxon Wiggins does not sign.