Chicago Cubs: Smokies doing work in Tennessee
Tantamount to the start from Iowa, the Smokies also found themselves, winners of their opening weekend series, taking three of four from the Mississippi Braves. Similar to Iowa, the pitching ended up being a smorgasbord of production, while the offense was strong enough.
Cubs’ top pick in this years MLB Amateur Draft, Nico Hoerner, has begun his season 3-for-12 with three RBI and four walks, good for a .250/.438/.333 line. Hoerner is highly regarded among both team brass and fans alike, so it was nice to see him get out to a respectable start.
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Jared Young finished as the top offensive producer for the team, and also began the new year on a power trip, hammering two of the teams’ three home runs over the weekend. Young is slashing .222/.263/.556 through his first 18 at-bats and can hopefully continue to build on what he has started.
The starters for Tennessee were reliable as well. Right-handers Tom Hatch and Keegan Thompson both threw starts of five shutout innings. Hatch recorded seven strikeouts while Thompson struck out eight. Cory Abbott also pitched well in his first start, giving up a run over five innings walking one and striking out two. Needless to say, the rotation was on point.
Concerning the relief staff, Ian Clarkin and Craig Brooks each recorded scoreless appearances. Clarkin is a former first-round selection of the New York Yankees and came to Chicago on waivers from the Chicago White Sox. Brooks is a seventh-round pick of the Cubs and has pitched well. He worked 22 1/3 innings at Iowa last season, finishing with a 4.03 ERA.