Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Cubs have baseball’s best farm system, chock full of Krises, Kyles and Addisons, just waiting to make it to Chicago and have an impact. But some of the youngest and less well known prospects are currently playing in the town I call home – South Bend.
Of the top 30 Cubs prospects, 3 are currently playing for the South Bend Cubs. MLB and Baseball America have them ranked differently. Trevor Clifton is a right handed pitcher who is the Cubs’ #29 prospect according to MLB. He is ranked a bit higher with Baseball America at #23. Another pitcher Jake Stinnett is #13 with MLB (#12 with BA) and 18 year old (!!) shortstop Gleyber Torres is #7 with MLB (#8 with BA). In fact, Baseball America thinks “Jake Stinnett could be the organization’s breakout prospect of the year.”
Since I get the pleasure of watching these young players all season, I’ve decided to help the rest of you Cubs fans get to know these guys a bit. I’ll be looking at other players as well including pitcher James Norwood who hovers just out of the top 30 on most lists.
So first up, Mr. “Breakout prospect of the year” Jake Stinnett.
Jake Stinnett is a 22 year old pitcher from Vista, California. He attended the University of Maryland and was a 2nd round pick (#45 overall) of the Cubs in the 2014 draft. The 6’4″, 202 pound righty was originally drafted by the Pirates in 2013 but didn’t sign with them. Jake wears #37. He was two-way player at Maryland but started to focus on pitching in 2013. Using his senior year to really work on pitching allowed Stinnett to improve his draft stock. An Academic All-ACC selection in 2012, he went 8-6 in 2014 with a 2.67 ERA and 132 strikeouts. Last year, Stinnett spent time with the Arizona Cubs in rookie ball and the Boise Hawks in short-A. He had a combined ERA of 4.91 in 11 innings pitched, walking only 2 and striking out 10.
Stinnett got the Opening Day start for the South Bend Cubs and did not disappoint. He pitched 5 innings, giving up only one run. He struck out 4, walked 2 and finished with an ERA of 1.80. His stellar start combined with an exciting walk off combined to give the record setting crowd a lot to cheer about. Even his manager, Jimmy Gonzalez was happy with his “strong outing” and “composure”. Stinnett’s style is described as “aggressive and “fast”. Stinnett’s next start will likely be at Fort Wayne this week.
I’ll keep you updated with Jake Stinnett’s progress as the South Bend Cubs’ season continues
SB Cubs series recap: For the opening homestand of the season vs the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Cubs went 2-1. On opening day, Jake Stinnett got the start, Jeffrey Baez homered to put the Cubs up early in the game and Cael Brochmeyer won the game with a walk off solo homer in the 9th. Final score was 2-1 and reliever James Farris was the winning pitcher. Game two saw Jeremy Null got the start as the Cubs beat Bowling Green 7-4. Erick Leal was the starter for game three in which the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the 9th thanks to Rashad Crawford but ultimately lost in extras. The Cubs take their 2-1 record on the road to Dayton Ohio to play the Dragons.