Thursday, June 20, 2024

Cubs Call Up Filthy Pitching Prospect from Triple-A

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The Chicago Cubs have called up right-handed pitching prospect Porter Hodge from Triple-A prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. If there’s one word to describe Hodge on the mound, it’s definitely filthy. At the same time, he’s been wild. Maybe a bit too wild.

Hodge, 23, began the 2024 season at Double-A with the Tennessee Smokies, but after two dominant outings out of the bullpen he was promoted to Triple-A. Hodge is replacing right-handed reliever Colten Brewer in the bullpen. Brewer was called up back in April and has made seven appearances, posting a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings.

Brewer is now the 16th Cubs player that has gone on the injured list so far in 2024.

Hodge’s first eight appearances of the season at Double-A and Triple-A were incredible, as the right-handed pitcher struck out 19 batters in 11.1 innings and only allowed two runs, which came on a two-run homer on April 17.

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Hodge looked great early on, but as is the case with so many young pitchers the question remains if he can throw enough strikes to become a reliable reliever in the big leagues. He’s averaging nearly 8 BB per 9 innings this year, but if he’s able to get that under control and get it back to 4-5 like he’s done throughout his minor league career, then Hodge just might take the next step in 2024 with the Cubs.

Yet, there’s no doubt that Hodge does have MLB caliber stuff.

The timing of Hodge’s call up is interesting because he has been in a bit of a funk with the Iowa Cubs. He’s allowed at least one run in three of his last four appearances at Triple-A. However, he’s also striking out more than 30% of the batters he’s facing this season.

So far in 15 innings in the minors Hodge has a 4.80 ERA, with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks. In 11 innings at Triple-A, Hodge has struggled, posting a 6.55 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 11 walks.

We’ll see how Hodge looks this weekend if he gets in there against the Pirates.

Hodge did pitch on Thursday for the Iowa Cubs, so he may only be available in case of emergency today.

The Cubs picked Hodge in the 13th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of high school. The right-hander began his pro career as a starter before he was moved to the bullpen on a full-time basis at Double-A last summer.

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