Cubs Minors: Keep these South Bend names on your radar

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Cubs: Looking at position players beyond Miguel Amaya, Brennen Davis

Unless you follow the organization’s depth, there is a high likelihood you probably have not given much credence to some of the bats in the system who aren’t named Miguel Amaya or Brennen Davis. Luckily, we have a few names discussed in more detail at various points and guys you should come to know.

One of those is first baseman Tyler Durna, who has put up some substantial numbers. A 15th round selection in 2018, Durna’s best season in a more competitive environment came in 2019 at South Bend, formerly representing as the Class-A affiliate for the Cubs. In 76 games over 300 plate appearances, the lefty slashed .304/.387/.437, four home runs, and 42 RBI.

His 141 wRC+ is still a career-best to this point in his young career. Making the jump to Myrtle Beach in 2019, Durna managed to hold his own to the tune of an 86 wRC+ over 95 plate appearances. The power numbers dipped slightly as he struck out at a 15.7 percent clip, a hair up from his 12.7 percent rate from South Bend.

The 2021 season will be necessary for Durna to improve on what he has done up to this point. South Bend will be a test for his bat, but as long as he can keep his strikeout rate at a reasonable level as well as find his power stroke.

Cam Balego could find himself at the opposite corner of the infield in a couple of years. Balego was the 30th pick in the 30th round by Chicago in 2017. In his first two years between rookie ball and short-season Low-A, Balego posted identical 129 wRC+ seasons. He worked well to become a patient hitter, as seen through his low strikeout rate.

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His year at Class-A was a minor hiccup, as Balego’s numbers dropped off considerably. He rebounded, however, back to a 125 wRC+ and a .368 OBP at Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach. He also found renewed power with 12 home runs. Balego is also 25-years-old so his time may be running thin. This year will be essential.