We have got a couple of things to break down today. First, we are going to take a look at how the draft picks are doing at their current affiliate. Then, we’re going to break down the playoff chases for the full season squads. And finally, will break down the players of the week. Those were a bit tricky as they came down to last night’s games.

The Draft Picks: By the Numbers

I am still finding it a bit odd after the last few drafts that the Cubs took so many position players and all but Michael Carico are getting some action in. This week also saw Sam Armstrong throw one scoreless inning in Mesa and then get promoted to Myrtle Beach. You probably should not expect him to throw more than one or two innings per outing based on the fact that he threw a full season this spring, and then topped it off with a stint in the Cape Cod League, but let’s get to the hitters.

* all stats are entering Sunday’s game

Matt Shaw – in 37 ABs, he is hitting .378 with two home runs and eight RBI while flashing a 1.155 OPS. He was in the running for this week’s player of the week and I’m wondering if he ends up going to the Arizona Fall League to fast track his development so that he can start 2024 in Tennessee. Just based on how he’s doing in South Bend, it’s clear that he is a little too advanced for High Class A.

Josh Rivera – He has looked fine in the field, but he’s only hitting .225 with one home run and six RBIs. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I am willing to give him some more time to adjust to this new lifestyle which is quite different from college where he would only played three days a week. 

Alfonsín Rosario – The 6th rounder has been very impressive out in Mesa. In 15 ABs, he is hitting .333 with 4 SBs and 1 RBI. He’s walked 3 times and struck out just 3, both 15.8% rates, which is pretty good. But it is his physical actions and athleticism which has impressed most onlookers. We could be looking at him starting out 2024 in Myrtle Beach at 19.

Yahil Melendez – The young SS out of Puerto Rico is only 17. So, playing professionally is going to be a huge adjustment. So, far, it is as he is hitting just .207.

Brett Bateman – I just love how Bateman plays the game. He puts the bat on the ball and just goes from there. It is pretty simple for him as he only has one gear. He’s hitting .273 in Myrtle Beach but is walking almost 30% of his ABs which puts his OBP at .469. He also has 4 SBs and a wRC+ of 137.

Johnathon Long – He’s played at Mesa and is now at Myrtle Beach. In total, we are looking at 6 games here. But he is hitting .263 with 3 dingers and an OPS over 1.100. I need a bigger sample size, but I do like that power…a lot! So far, he’s played both 1B and 3B.

Zyhir Hope – Like Rosario, Hope is wowing those he plays in front of in Mesa. He has shown some pop, some speed, and what looks like he could be the steal of the draft for the Cubs. He is hitting .333 with 2 HRs and 7 RBI in 21 plate appearances. His wRC+ in that span is a God-like 175! Yeah, we are talking Myrtle Beach for opening day in 2024 when he will still be just 18. Let that sink in.

Carter Trice – Things are doing OK. The 20-year-old is hitting .333 after a rough couple of games. He has 1 HR and 6 RBI in 6 games. The more he plays, the more he produces. I am excited to see how the Cubs get him functioning again like he was his freshman year at ODU. You can read about him more on Thursday in his Draft Pick Profile.

Brian Kalmer – For some strange reason, I can see Kalmer beginning 2024 with South Bend and just hitting bombs all over the place. Why? Because that is what he is doing now in just two weeks as a Cub. In 42 ABs, he’s got 3 HR and 10 RBI and a wRC+ at Myrtle Beach of 181. South Bend it shall be to start 2024.

Drew Bowser – The Cubs have been adjusting his swing a bit and the 20 year old has been flashing from time to time. He’s been in 9 games and is hitting .290. But he is also striking out at an unsustainable 48%! However, his OBP is good at .371 so there is some hope. The Cubs need to cut that swing and miss way down.

Hat of the Week

Cards of the Week

The Home Stretch

Iowa – 6 Weeks Left – This team is neck and neck with Saint Paul for a playoff spot and have been for about two months. About the biggest difference between the two clubs has been over 2 1/2 games. Currently, Saint Paul had a half game lead heading into last nights tilt, who is six weeks left to play, the two clubs will meet again in September in Des Moines.

Tennessee – 5 Weeks Left – The Smokies are currently running away with the division this half. They have a six game lead over both Chattanooga and Rocket City. They do play both teams the next two weeks and have a chance to even widen that gap. The Smokies, then close up the season against Rocket City, and will hopefully have the divisional clinched up by then.

South Bend – 4 Weeks Left – The Cubs have 24 games left to make up five against a Peoria. They do not play the Chiefs head to head at all and in fact, have a pretty tough schedule ahead of them, including six against the best team in the league this year in Cedar Rapids. In order to get back in it, they are going to have to go on an incredible run to make up that many games in a short amount of time.

Myrtle Beach – 4 Weeks Left – The Pelicans are in having one the first half division title. Still, it be nice to go back to back. They do play a Charleston six times at the end of August in the beginning of September. They are only for back so it’s not out of the question of winning both halves, it’s just a little daunting with 24 games to go. Still, they are in and have home-field advantage by winning the first half.

Pics of the Week

Players of the Week

Hitter of the Week – This came down to Matt Shaw’s .435 with 2 HRs and 6 RBI for a 1.305 OPS. Luis Vazquez had 2 homers and 10 RBI but only hit .353 while PCA hit .400 with a .538 OBP and 1.338 OPS and 2 HRs, but only drove in 3. Now you can see my dilemma. I am going with the surprise pick – Luis Vazquez. The production was just ridiculous as he put up those stats in just 4 games. Wow!

Starting Pitcher of the Week – Grant Kipp narrowly nipped Kohl Franklin this week. Kipp struck out 8 over his 4.2 inning debut for South Bend this week. He did give up 1 run, but still…8 Ks is a good night.

Reliever of the Week – Yovanny Cabrera took this one as he threw 4 scoreless with 7 Ks for Myrtle Beach.