Cubs Prospects: DJ Herz, B.J. Murray keep padding their stats
There’s a saying amongst the hardiest of Chicago Cubs fans, and it goes like this: “It ain’t a party until DJ Herz starts spinning his magic.” OK, I entirely made that up just now. However, it has a nice ring to it mainly because it technically makes sense, only to those who know of Herz.
Joking aside, each week, Baseball America (subscription required) releases their list of the prior week’s 20 hottest prospects around the league. This week, Cubs fans should be proud to know that not one but two of our own made the list: South Bend left-hander DJ Herz and Myrtle Beach infielder B.J. Murray.
I think it is safe to say I’ve hit a new record on the number of weeks it’s been since last mentioning Herz, and recently Murray came into the scope of Myrtle Beach, and the season the Pelicans continue to have as they currently sit at 36-15 and lead their division by two games. Nevertheless, these two continue to shine as they continue their climb.
Chicago Cubs: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford is credited with the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and it could not ring more true for the Cubs or their prospective young talent. In recent years, the Cubs have scaled the rungs of the organizational ladder as their system has moved from the bottom of the league to a near-top 10 talent pool. But, thanks to guys like Herz and Murray, they continue to climb without the flash and pizzazz of some other systems around the league.
Starting with Herz, it has almost become a debate about what can’t this kid do. But, at just 21 years of age, the sly lefty out of North Carolina may become one of the best late-round picks in a draft in recent years. Herz faced an uphill climb as an eighth-round pick and has risen to the occasion superbly.
Last week, Herz continued his torrid run and showed the Cubs that they have a true near-elite left-hander in the system. Herz spun five shutout innings, facing Dayton, and allowed a lone hit, zero walks, and a whopping 12 strikeouts. Over his last three starts for South Bend, Herz has a 0.64 ERA along with a 43.1 percent strikeout rate and 5.8 percent walk rate.
The 12 strikeouts were a new career-high for Herz as he owns a 1.45 ERA in 10 starts this season and is striking out batters at a near 37 percent clip. In addition, he continues to show his elite-level three-pitch mix and has quickly become a favorite in the system.
Moving on, infielder B.J. Murray also had a week to remember and continues to shine. Murray, this past week, put together numbers only found in a video game as the switch-hitter slashed .529/.692/.588, nine runs scored, a double, two RBI, eight walks and only two strikeouts in 17 plate appearances. On the season, he’s hitting .333 with a .514 slugging percentage and has reached a professional career-high in home runs.
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Prospects come and go by the droves in baseball, and nothing is guaranteed, as Herz and Murray could attest as late-round draft picks. However, the Cubs continue to build something special, and while they continue as a less flashy bunch, there is a bright future ahead. Sticking with the inspirational quotes and paying homage to Albus Dumbledore, that bright future can be found if one only remembers to turn on the light.