Chicago Cubs News: Prospects of the Month for May 2023

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Pitcher of the week: RHP Manuel Espinoza (22 Years Old)

5 G, 16 IP, 1.13 ERA, 21 K, 0.69 WHIP, .161 BAA

Manuel Espinoza is another player that has gotten a fair amount of hype in our minor league players of the week. The Cubs have a treasure trove of pitching on its way and I’m legitimately excited to see how everything shakes out. 

Espinoza is in his second season at High-A. He’s never been as dominant as he has been so far this season and the closest he came was in 2019 in Rookie Ball in Arizona when he went 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 37 strikeouts across 47 innings while having a .280 batting average against. 

Last season was the only time he had a better BAA (.230) and it also marked the first time he had more strikeouts (68) than innings pitched (66.2).

This season, however, has been something entirely different. He has a significantly lower BAA (.161), he’s cut his WHIP in half, and he’s striking out more than a batter per inning. If this is a sign of his physical or mental maturity (he’s still just 22 years old) then count me in. 

In an ideal world, I’d love to see Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski get called up to the majors and stay up. Then, in their AAA spots that would then be vacant the Cubs would call up Jordan Wicks and Porter Hodge. Next, to replace those two at AA we could see the call-up of Manuel Espinoza and Connor Noland. Finally, let’s push Jackson Ferris a little bit and call him up to South Bend and see if the 19-year-old can continue to impress against better competition.