Part 2 of 2 | Part 1
Here is part 2 of a 2 part series about 16 things to look forward to about the Cubs’ minor league system in 2016.
9. Bryan Hudson – The 6’8” lefty made his debut last week when he pitched two thirds of an inning and gave up two runs. He threw in the upper 80s to low 90s and flashed his patented curveball. However, he lacked a lot of command. He has seen action in two games without incident since. Hudson will need to develop three pitches but he is only 18 years old and has a lot of time to work on that. The question for me that I would like answered is where he is going to play next year? I think a lot of that is going to depend on how he does in the off-season program and in spring training. If I had to make a prediction, I am pretty sure he will go to Eugene to develop that arm.
10. Darryl Wilson – Wilson has had an impressive debut in the Arizona room hitting over .290. What has been most impressive is his speed and his ability to hit for average after missing a month. It’s pretty clear that next year he’s going to play in Eugene and it should be very exciting to watch.
11.Eloy Jimenez – I can’t wait to see what happens with Eloy. He’s been on the disabled list twice this summer in just over two months at short season Eugene. When he’s healthy, he hits for average. If he could sustain any kind of a run playing games, hopefully we could see the power in spurts. In 2016, he should be in low A South Bend. He’ll still only be 19 years old, which is very young for the Midwest League. When healthy, he can hit for average. If he’s healthy for a sustained amount of time, I think we could think we could see his power develop exponentially.
12. Carlos Sepulveda has been an interesting prospect this year. Signed in the winter of 2014-2015, Sepulveda came from Mexico. He made his debut this year in Arizona Rookie League. For the first month he hit about .265. By the middle of July his average dipped down to .200. This month he is hitting .370! He can drive the ball to all fields but not with power. It should be interesting to see what he can do in 2016 now that he’s acclimated to the United States. He should be at short season Eugene next year.
13. PJ Higgins – He was the last draft pick to sign but he began hitting soon as he began playing in Arizona. In fact, the 2B/3B filled up the four spot in the heart of the order. He has hit .288 with 2 HR and 10 RBIs in 20 games. Higgins is interesting because he might be a catching convert next year. The Old Dominion graduate is interesting to me because his story kind of mirrors that Chesney Young into 2014 as both began to hit as soon as they got in the box.
14. Casey Bloomquist – I am thinking might be the most unsung draft pick of the Cubs this summer. The righty from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has done extremely well at both Arizona and Eugene in short bursts of 2 to 3 innings. I pretty sure this is a harbinger of things to come next year. In ten innings at Eugene, he has a 1.69 ERA with 12 Ks. I wonder, if he is good enough to skip South Bend? I think he and #15 could.
15. Preston Morrison – The eighth round pick has been unbelievable at Eugene. He has an ERA of 0.66 in 13.2 innings. He has struck out 17 and walked only 3. He was part of a no-hitter this past week. The most interesting thing to me is that I’ve seen pictures of him where he pretty much just throws from the side around his waist and then I have seen a three-quarters arm slot. It’ll be interesting next year to see where he is placed. He could easily skip South Bend since he did pitch at such an elite level in college. He reminds me of Aaron Nola, who is now in the Phillies rotation, as an advanced college pitcher.
16. 16. MiLB.TV in Eugene. As a teacher, in the summer I tend to stay up a little bit later at that time of year. Last year, that’s how I got hooked up on the Boise Hawks listening to Mike Safford, first to hear about Schwarber, then it became every night. I attempted to do that this year with Eugene, too. However I would love to be able to watch them every night on TV instead of Internet radio. When they played Hillsboro, it was very cool to watch them play late at night. I don’t think it would take much to hook up Eugene with three or four cameras and have one guy running the show. I think a lot of people would enjoy seeing them play every night.
The big thing for me is that the Cubs pitching talent acquired in this draft is going to be top notch. Dave Berg is already at high A, and Hudson, Morrison, and Bloomquist could be must see arms next year along with fellow draftees Kyle Twomey and Ryan Kellogg. I think the Cubs nailed this draft, even though there isn’t a Kyle Schwarber or Kris Bryant, there are still a lot of good players like Ian Happ, Wilson, Donnie Dewees, and Matt Rose. The list to get on this 16 saw several players fall just short. On the other hand, some of those who didn’t make the cut are amazing to see this year, like several players who will be on the August Organizational All-Star team in 9 days.