Chicago Cubs: Top 30 Prospects- No. 10 to No. 1
#4 Duane Underwood (P)
2015 Stats (Arizona Cubs and Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
6-3, 2.41 ERA, 16 GS, 73 1/3 IP, 48 K, 1.04 WHIP
Underwood was drafted by the Cubs in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft. At just 21 years old, Underwood already has a few seasons of pro ball under his belt. He flashed a 98 mph fastball and a nasty curveball as a senior in high school but his inconsistency dropped him to the second round of the draft.
He has had some on and off success in his first few seasons and started to break out in 2014 when he lead the Kane County Cougars to the Midwest League Championship.
After spending a few days in rookie ball, Underwood started for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in Advanced A ball. He had the best season of his career, going 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts. He held opponents to just a .202 average and compiled a 1.04 WHIP.
He didn’t strike out many, though, just 48 in 73 1/3 innings. Underwood has the most upside of any Cubs starting pitching prospect, operating with a 92-95 mph fastball a hard curveball that causes a lot of swing and misses. He also has a changeup, but his curveball is more reliable.
Underwood has all the necessary ingredients to be a frontline starter, and his command and control improved last season too. Underwood is #67 on the Top 100 Prospects list. He could begin to move quickly through the minors but likely won’t crack the big leagues til at least 2017.
Next: No. 3 - P Carl Edwards Jr.