The minor league baseball season seems to go so fast. Then again, it might just be me. My mind breaks it down into three short stints. The first of which is from opening day until I get out of school in mid to late May. Then there’s two months of action while I am on summer vacation taking pictures and traveling. And the final third is once I go back to school in early to mid August to the end of the season.

With the end near, my mind is now starting to focus on what could happen this month. South Bend is out of the playoffs which limits the scope of the number of teams that are going to be playing from September 12 on. Still, I do have some questions about things that could or could not happen over the next four weeks before Iowa ends its season on the 27th.

Questions for September

Which Affiliate has the best chance of winning a championship?

With Myrtle Beach already in, both Iowa and Tennessee still have to clinch spots. All three teams have the ability to score runs in bunches, but it’s really going to come down to Starting Pitching and bullpens. Tennessee might have the best bullpen going, but their starting pitching is still a little iffy. The latter is also true for Iowa. But it is Myrtle Beach’s starting that is extremely young, but also probably gives them the best chance to win a series where they have home-field advantage.

Is Cade Horton an option for Chicago in September?

If this was June, next year, I would say yes, without a doubt. However, Horton’s arm still has to be taken into context because it doesn’t have a lot of mileage on it. He went from less than 60 innings in 2022 to a little over 80 this year and he should end up right around 90. Still, that’s a bit much to ask of someone who is right at their limit. As a result, this is a no.

Who Will Be in the Rotation for Tennessee?

This might be one of the big questions that could take two weeks to answer. Walker Powell and Kohl Franklin are locks. Brandon Birdsell will also be starting the next two weeks. Chris Kachmar looks like he is still in the picture, but he is limited to just three or four innings per start coming off of Tommy John. Horton is still an option for the playoffs. Should he come off the development list, which he will if only for the playoffs. That fifth option for the next two weeks looks like it could be somebody from South Bend, but who is ready for that challenge? Will it be in Brody McCullough? Will it be in Luis Devers? The most reliable arm, though, is probably Connor Noland, who has gone six innings quite a bit the last month.

Does Luke Little get a shot this month in Chicago?

The answer to that is probably going to come sooner than later. If I was a betting man, I would lean more towards no. However, I am barely at no. It’s more like 51% no, and 49% yes. It is that tough of a call.

Will Kevin Alcantara end up in Tennessee in the next two weeks?

If I was making the decision, this would be a resounding yes. Period. Let him experience the playoffs, and he seems to rise to the occasion when challenged. I could also see him getting the call to the Arizona Fall League, if only to make up for that month that he missed with a knee contusion. Look for the Cubs to make this move as early as this Tuesday and as late as the 12th.

Should Sheldon Reed head up to Tennessee to bolster the bullpen?

I don’t see why not. I don’t know why he’s been in South Bend the past three months either. He’s been more than mentally and physically ready for the next challenge for a while.

Playoff Hunt

Iowa has been in a neck and neck competition with Saint Paul all year long. With a little over three weeks left, the Cubs are going to make or break their season on the 12th through the 17th when the two teams play a six game set.

Tennessee – Unless there’s an all-out falling apart the next two weeks, the Smokies will be in the postseason as they have a 2 game lead over Chattanooga, who won the first half, and a 6 game lead over Rocket City with 12 to play. To be frank, Rocket City is who matters. They Smokies and the Trash Panadas will play a six game set the week of the 12th through the 17th.

South Bend – Eliminated. Hopefully, we will see of the players mentioned above make it to Tennessee.

Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans will have home field advantage against Charleston, who whooped the Pelicans pretty good this week.

Players of the Week

Hitter of the Week – Jared Young hit 2 HRs and drove in 9 this week while hitting .364 with a .500 OBP and an OPS of 1.227.

Pitchers of the Week – Drew Gray and Marino Santy had themselves a night on Saturday. Grey, the starter, went 3 hitless and scoreless innings while striking out 7. In relief, Santy came in and went four innings and striking out 8.