Approximately one year after the Chicago Cubs shocked with their selection of Cade Horton at 7th overall in the draft, he is on the move up to Tennessee. A quick reminder that “Cade is a bad man”. Maddie Lee reported first but as Todd hinted earlier North Side Bound has heard as well that Cade Horton will be promoted to AA.

Horton’s debut season

Horton’s season began with an electric four start stint in Myrtle Beach. After 14 1/3 innings of 1.26 ERA with an astounding 30.9% K-BB% for the Pelicans, it became clear that Horton would need a challenge to grow and develop.

He received that challenge in his first start at South Bend. Horton couldn’t just barrel his fastball down the plate and beat hitters on velocity. Hi-A batters were ready for it and spit on the slider off the plate. Horton struggled in that first outing going 3 2/3 innings giving up 6 runs, 4 Ks, and 3 BBs. Since that time, Horton refined his arsenal. No longer was he a pitcher who beat hitters on just with the fastball/slider combo. He improved his curveball and split-changeup. The latter offering has been a revelation

In total, Horton finishes his South Bend experience with a 3.83 ERA, 3.20 FIP, and 28.6% K-BB%, but after removing that Hi-A debut hiccup, Horton’s numbers (2.91 ERA, 31% K-BB%, .190 batting average against) demonstrate the clear reason he’s being promoted.

Horton’s new challenge: AA

Horton entered the season with two main offerings and a few works in progress. While he’s made strides with his arsenal, the next steps will be to continue to hone his command. He’ll need his pitches to land where he wants them versus just controlling the zone. We’ve seen shades of this throughout the season, but Horton now sets off to face advanced hitters. AA could prove to be a significant test. Don’t be surprised to see a few outings that don’t match his previous excellence. The end of the season will be about setting Horton on a strong path for 2024.