Chicago Cubs: Barreling toward ‘The Show’
The other half of this duo has been equally impressive during his rise through the minors. Mekkes is a reliable reliever who could realistically find himself in the Cubs’ bullpen at some point in 2019. As Mekkes also began his development in 2016, he has quickly moved to Triple-A.
Similar to Robinson, Mekkes saw a minute sample size at Rookie ball. His first real action came later in the year at Low A where he posted an impressive 2.12 ERA with a 2.94 FIP and 31.3 percent strikeout rate. In 2017, things got even better for Mekkes as he worked his way to High A. While he did see a slight drop in his strikeout rate, Mekkes’ ERA and FIP continued to drop, to a 1.28 and 2.76 respectively.
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Mekkes began last season at Double-A, however quickly earned a promotion to Triple-A. At Double-A in 22 1/3 innings, Mekkes posted a 0.81 ERA with a 33.0 percent strikeout rate. Unfortunately, the downside of this was his walks and the increase from the year before. Mekkes has displayed trouble with control at points. However, when he is on, he is on.
Mekkes appeared at Triple-A for 25 games, with zero starts. Across the span of 31 1/3 innings, he compiled a 1.44 ERA with a 30.4 percent strikeout rate. The positive thing for Mekkes is the drop in his walks, as he has become more controlled. Mekkes gave up a single home run over this span too, which is impressive in its regard.
The Cubs have made a few recent additions to the relief core, signing Brad Brach to a one-year deal and adding George Kontos and Junichi Tazawa on minor league deals. As far as the starters are concerned, there is a low likelihood of the team needing arms to fill in, however as injuries are destined to pile up, having effective young guns waiting in the wings can provide a boon.
For both Robinson and Mekkes their best shot will come in relief. While Mekkes is a reliever, Robinson will be able to get his feet wet before hopefully transitioning into a starting role down the road. Nevertheless, both guys are worth keeping a very watchful eye on moving into spring training.