Hitters Are Beginning to Catch Up As It Gets Warmer

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By Todd Johnson

With two home runs on Tuesday night, Zack Short capped off a ten game span in which he’s hit .306 with 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, and an OBP of .419 mostly in the leadoff spot for South Bend. Short’s short burst helped propel South Bend into a three-way tie for first place on Wednesday morning.

It is getting to be that time of the baseball season where hitters are catching up to hitters. In early April, it is easier for the pitchers to get a jump on the hitters, especially in cold weather sectors like the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region that is the Midwest League. However, Cubs hitting prospects are hitting all over. While Ian Happ, Jeimer Candelario, and Victor Caratini busted out of the gate early in April, it has taken time for the rest of the Cubs top prospects to do some catching up.

South Bend
Wladimir Galindo – Hitting .421 over his last ten games, Galindo’s breakout coincided with him being able to go the other way. I thought he might be pull happy to start the year. Instead, he is showing himself to be a complete hitter and is now entrenched in the number four spot for the first place Cubs. The power has yet to come, but it will.

Yeiler Peguero – He is on a .364 clip in his last ten games and also drove in nine runs in that span. He even cranked a home run and a double off the top of the fence in one game. I knew he could hit and could be an exciting player just based on his performance last year at Eugene. I did not know he could be this dependable.

Myrtle Beach
Robert Garcia – I first heard of him in Rookie League in Mesa when he hit .341 in the summer of 2015. Last year in Eugene, he was a bit overshadowed by some other prospects and only hit .283. This year, the 23 year -old switch hitter skipped South Bend and is holding his own in the Carolina League. In his last 10 games, he’s going along at .387 clip.

Tennessee
Charcer Burks – I love to watch Charcer Burks play. He is gold glover on defense and he is beginning to figure out the offensive side of the ball. He got a couple looks with the big league club in spring training and it appears he gained some confidence in that process. In addition to being a key cog in Myrtle Beach’s championship run, Burks is having his best season as a Cub. He’s currently hitting .292 with an OBP of .418 for Tennessee. I don’t think it is any coincidence that Burks’ play has helped Tennessee get off to a great start.

Trey Martin – He was off to an outstanding start in Tennessee before a hamstring injury sidelined him. Like Burks, Martin is an excellent defender and is also beginning to figure himself out at the plate. In just 8 games, he was hitting .320 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs. I can’t wait to see him get back to playing.

Keep an Eye On
Jake Hannemann – He has always been a great defender and athlete, it is his bat that has always been lacking. I think he may have found it. He stayed behind at Extended Spring Training and gradually began to destroy the pitching there. I have never been that high on him just based on his lack of offensive production. Occasionally, there would be an outburst here or there, just not any sustained production. I think that changes this year. Now that he is on the 40 man roster, I think expectations changed from the Cubs, and more importantly, from himself. Look for good things from him in Tennessee.

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