Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Battle for Best Cubs Pitching Prospect Continues


Things weren’t exactly good for the Chicago Cubs in May, ending the month 10-18, but since the beginning of the season and now heading into June, there has been a great battle down in the minor leagues between the best pitching prospects in the system.

On Wednesday night, Cubs 2022 first round pick Cade Horton reminded fans why he’s ranked as the organization’s top pitching prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The right-hander made his fourth start with the South Bend Cubs and it was the best he’s looked this year.

Cade Horton

The 21-year-old made his pro debut this year with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, getting his first action in the Cubs minor league system at Low A-Ball. He dominated in four starts, giving up a total of two earned runs in 14.1 innings, while striking out 21 and walking four. It was obvious that Horton needed a step up in competition and he was promoted to Advanced A-Ball in the first half of May.

Horton found out quickly that he couldn’t get away with his fastball down the middle of the plate pitching for South Bend, as he was pounded for six runs in 3.2 innings in his debut start at High A-Ball. However, Horton has improved since then, giving up four runs in his next 11 innings that included his brilliant effort Wednesday night.

The right-handed pitcher tossed four innings and struck out nine hitters. Horton was shaky in the first inning, allowing a run after a hit, walk and a throwing error. Yet, there was no question who the best player on the field was, as Horton was completely overmatching the Fort Wayne hitters. Eight of Horton’s nine strikeouts came on swings and misses.

Horton only gave up three hits with the one walk in four innings and early on he hit 99mph on the radar gun.

At one point, after the unearned run came across to score in the first inning, Horton recorded seven consecutive outs via strikeouts, allowing just one single through that stretch.

Overall this year between Myrtle Beach and South Bend, Horton has a 3.72 ERA in eight starts, with 45 strikeouts and nine walks. He has a 1.10 WHIP and batters are hitting .213 against him.

Ben Brown

Now, as excited as fans should be about Horton, I think the answer to best Cubs pitching prospect is still Ben Brown. The 23-year-old righty is coming off a season-high, 11-strikeout game for the Iowa Cubs at Triple-A on Saturday.

Brown has been outstanding this year, moving up from Double-A to Triple-A after April and really only having one rough start. That was on May 16, when Brown gave up seven runs in four innings, In Brown’s other four starts at Triple-A, he’s allowed three earned runs in 20 innings, good for a 1.35 ERA.

Brown has recorded 66 strikeouts in 44 innings this season through nine starts, posting a 2.25 ERA overall. Just like Horton, Brown is averaging more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Oh and by the way, there’s Jordan Wicks with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A this year, while also averaging double-digit strikeouts every nine innings and then 19-year-old Jackson Ferris is off to a dominating start to his pro career with the Pelicans in Myrtle Beach. Ferris, the Cubs second round pick in 2022, has only surrendered one run in 11 innings, giving up five total hits, while striking out 16 and walking four in his first pro action out of high school.


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Jun 1, 2023 2:05 pm

Im very bullish in Jordan Wicks. I think he should be the Cubs #1pitching prospect.

Everleigh Rika
Everleigh Rika
Jun 1, 2023 1:25 pm

first pro action out of high school

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