Cam Sanders the Reliever, Raynel Espinal the Cub, Jordan Nwogu the Power Hitter, and More

Escaped Chicago for a number of days in Newport, Rhode Island, so I’ve spent the morning enjoying make amends for the newest happenings round the Cubs farm system. Here are a few of the attention-grabbing bits I discovered…

  • The Cubs made the proper choice having Cam Sanders spend a stint on the Development List as they transitioned him from beginning to reduction pitcher for the remainder of the 2022 season. Sanders made his reduction debut yesterday, throwing two scoreless innings in opposition to St. Paul, permitting simply an infield hit and hanging out two batters. Should he proceed to have success on this function, I’d anticipate the Cubs to present him a shot in September in Chicago as they debate internally whether or not to maintain him on the 40-man roster over the winter.
  • Sanders has a implausible arm, however management points and the lack of a standout secondary have at all times stopped him from having full success as a starter. He was about 95-97 out of the bullpen, and I will not be shocked if that even ticks up in outings to comply with. But my largest query has been how a reduction function may alter his pitch combine, as that steadiness has by no means felt fully appropriate. Yesterday, the Cubs opted to have Sanders go together with two-thirds fastballs and one-third sliders in opposition to an all-RHH St. Paul lineup, and that labored simply advantageous. I think the changeup and sluggish curve have not been retired, however they are going to be much less vital in shorter stints. Here’s the video of Sanders begin, as St. Paul made yesterday’s sport free on YouTube:
  • I watched two Raynel Espinal begins this morning, as I wished to assume by means of why the Cubs focused him as their return for Dixon Machado (though I’m certain the checklist of accessible gamers the Giants have been providing was fairly small). Espinal is a lanky 6-foot-3, nearly harking back to later profession Juan Cruz, with a tall-and-fall supply and wrist wrap arm motion. He throws 90+% fastballs and sliders, however will combine a fringy changeup. Espinal struggled in opposition to left-handed hitters, as that utilization profile would counsel.
  • Two issues have me curious as potential Spinal enhancements. One, as a pure supinator, the Cubs may attempt to present Espinal a whirlyball slider grip, as his present providing is a extra inventory selection slider. Second, Espinal will get noticeably decrease along with his launch level out of the stretch versus the wind-up, and I ponder if reducing that launch top might be in play. It’s unlikely the Cubs have uncovered a future Major League contributor right here, but when they will present him the growth infrastructure to have him re-sign on a minor league contract for 2023, they’ve improved on what Machado was providing them on an expiring contract .
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong barely performed throughout South Bend’s final sequence, nevertheless it does not sound too important. Between the Futures Game and a number of ticky-tack accidents, PCA will find yourself about 20 video games wanting a full season, and that makes me marvel if the Cubs may ask him to play in the Arizona Fall League to fill in the hole. He’s at the excellent development degree for that league, and I feel his play there would assist decide a correct growth path for 2023.
  • It was nice to see Koen Moreno make his full-season debut final week, and whereas it did not go nice, the incontrovertible fact that he’ll have the ability to get 30+ innings beneath his belt the remainder of the season is a win. Moreno will get a whole lot of reward inside the group for his weight room work, as he transitions from multi-sport athlete into full-time pitcher. He pitches now in the low 90s, though there have been rumors that he is able to greater numbers in non-competitive bullpen classes. I tweeted a bit on Moreno’s distinctive supply, however I preferred the flash of his finest curveball and the consolation he reveals throwing changeups. He’ll have the ability to decide up a slider in time, I’ve little doubt, which solely serves to counsel that he is nonetheless a mission. But an intriguing one.
  • Stray Erich Uelmen observe that I wished to throw in right here, however will discuss intimately one other time: of 503 right-handed pitchers to throw 50 pitches in 2022, Uelmen has the Twenty first-lowest launch top, and certainly one of the 5 lowest of somebody who is not a pure sidearmer/submariner. The Cubs are going to work with Uelmen for the remainder of the 2022 season to assist leverage that distinctive launch level into elevated success, however a whole lot of that may rely upon commanding pitches into completely different quadrants of the zone repeatedly.
  • Jordan Nwogu homered yesterday in South Bend’s comeback win, his fourth in the final 9 video games. This is noteworthy as a result of he had 4 in his first 49 video games earlier than that. Tapping into his energy persistently is the mandatory subsequent step for Nwogu transferring up a tier as a prospect, and so it is actually going to bear watching over the closing two months right here. It’s fairly bizarre to me that Nwogu has a better OPS than fellow outfielders Yohendrick Pinango or Owen Caissie, as a result of it simply hasn’t felt that manner, however he is averted extended slumps all season. In his final 35: .260/.362/.496, and his inventory is at the moment trending up.
  • Some fast short-season hits, as it isn’t one thing I’ve mentioned rather a lot in these components: had a supply give a superb evaluate of Kenyi Perez, who has been the most constant rotation member of the ever-changing ACL pitching employees. Perez is strolling greater than a batter an inning, however he is additionally impressed at instances, with the supply saying that he initiatives Perez as a triple-digit man out of the bullpen some day… It bears watching that Pedro Ramirez simply retains succeeding, now as much as .308/.357/.470 in 32 video games. I’m at all times cautious of short-season guys whose worth is constructed totally on the energy of a superb BABIP, however Ramirez is well-built and tapping into sufficient energy to be attention-grabbing… Good catch by Todd of Northside Bound to see the Cubs gave right-handed pitcher Kevin Valdez the uncommon late July bump from the DSL to the ACL after a profitable seven weeks in the Dominican.

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