Cubs Minor League Check-In: South Bend Cubs Pitching Staff Heating Up

The Cubs have an abundance of pitching talent in the Minor League, and the stars to this point are primarily coming out of South Bend. The South Bend Cubs pitching staff continues to heat up in the month of May, producing absurd (in a good way) numbers from all members in the staff.

Who’s Hot

Brendon Little, the Cubs first-round draft selection in 2017 got off to a bit of a wild start but has settled down and is pitching more consistently. To this date in 8 games, Little is 2-4 with an improving 4.50 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. In three of his last five starts, Little has produced incredible numbers, with zero earned runs 15 strikeouts in those games. The other two starts from Little weren’t his best, but he still managed to pitch solid baseball. He gave up four runs through five innings on May 5th and then had scoreless baseball through five on May 17th. Little struck out 11 total in those two peculiar starts and otherwise has been very good this month.

Cory Abbott, the second-rounder from 2017 has been strong all throughout the season, and ridiculously good in May. Abbott has allowed more than three earned runs just once is on fire. He’s 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.04 WHIP through 8 starts in 2018. Since May 1st Abbott has really stood out with a 2-0 record, 1.23 ERA, and 0.95 WHIP. The second-year product out of Loyola-Marymount has caught fire.

Erich Uelmen selected in the fourth round in 2017 continues the dominance in the Cubs pitching staff this season with strong numbers. Uelmen is 3-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 8 starts but since May 1st is 2-2 with a 2.16 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Digging even further, Uelmen has tossed three straight scoreless starts with two quality starts. It’s safe to say he too is standing out this season.

Biggest Surprises

Javier Assad has probably been one of the most productive starters in the system this year and has made a name for himself quickly. Assad is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 8 starts, all-highs for starters with more than five games. What is even more intriguing about Assad’s numbers this season is he’s allowed two earned runs or less in all his starts but one. Those are incredible numbers for the 20-year old in his third season.

Tyler Thomas selected in the 7th round in 2017 has been extremely good in his first year as a starter. Thomas’ record is deceiving at 2-4 because he has been a leader of South Bend’s staff. He’s produced a 2.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 8 games this season, including 7 starts. Thomas has allowed more than two earned runs one time and has walked only 9 in 40 2/3 innings. In his second year with the Cubs and first as a starter, Thomas has really impressed.

Rollie Lacy, the Cubs 11th round selection in 2017 out of Creighton wraps up what has been a strong start for the rotation. Lacy was just turned into a quality starter this season and has had the numbers to prove his case. Lacy is 0-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 10 games, including 4 starts. In his last start, Lacy pitched a season-high seven innings allowing only three earned runs and zero walks for a quality start. The second-year product seems to have a promising future ahead.

Bottom Line

South Bend’s pitching staff has 6 really good starters that don’t seem to be slowing down anytime. In the month of May with warmer weather for the pitchers, all six have flourished when given the opportunity. The future looks bright for Little, Abbott, Uelmen, Assad, Thomas, and Lacy in the Cubs Minor League. You can never have too many arms, and the Cubs have too many good pitchers in South Bend.


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