Monthly record: 19-10 (32-20 overall, one game behind Dayton for wild card, three behind West Michigan for division)
Average – Wladimir Galindo – .305
OBP – Zack Short – .429
HR – Zack Short/Kevonte Mitchell – 5
RBI – Isaac Paredes/Yeiler Peguero – 23
IP – Tyson Miller – 47
ERA – Duncan Robinson – 1.35
Saves – Wyatt Short – 4
Ks – Dylan Cease – 54
Wrong division at the wrong time
Last year, South Bend clinched a playoff spot on the last day of the first half and it looks like something similar could be happening again. The Cubs have the third best record in all the Midwest League but would be shut out of a playoff spot if the first half had ended May 31. They just happen to be in the same division as the two best teams in the league.
Although they don’t have a lot of power, the Cubs have been able to put up runs in a hurry with several players who can get on base at a prodigious rate, like Zack Short. They also have guys who can hit for average or in clutch situations, like Yeiler Peguero, Jhonny Pereda, Isaac Paredes, Luis Ayala, and Wladimir Galindo. Top prospect DJ Wilson got off to a poor start in April and was having a better May (.263 avg.) before he went on the DL.
The bullpen has been outstanding, led by Dakota Mekkes and now Jared Cheek. Two relievers, Marc Huberman and Michael Rucker, have already been promoted to high-A Myrtle Beach.
The starting pitching has been the trouble spot for a team that’s 12 games over .500, if that makes sense. Dylan Cease, when healthy, is a tremendous prospect with a power arsenal. Duncan Robinson (1.35 ERA), who was originally a reliever, took a spot away from someone. Bryan Hudson has been spectacular in May with a 2.39 ERA. That sounds good though, right?
The issue is that Tyson Miller (4.98), Jose Paulino (5.49), and Manny Rondon (5.20) have all struggled with ERAs hovering at or above the 5.00 range. After making a start during opening week, Erling Moreno spent most of the season on the DL before returning May 30 to throw four scoreless innings. Moreno now becomes another option for Manager Jimmy Gonzalez to use.
I think there are three players who will move up in June. Short should be headed to Myrtle Beach, along with Robinson and Mekkes. I am not sure on Cease moving just yet, though. He needs to stay and be more efficient, but he can do that as a Pelican as well.
Players to Watch
You would think it would be Cease, but it’s not. Rather, it’s a trio of 18-19 year old kids: Galindo, Peguero, and Paredes. They will be in South Bend all year long, whereas Cease will not. We’re talking about extremely young ages for low-A baseball and I want to see how they do next month as the weather warms up. Ideally, they can maintain their batting averages while at the same time taking a few more walks. As for Galindo, I would like to see his K-rate go down and his home run rate improve as he becomes more selective.