Cubs Prospects: 3 pitchers primed to breakout in 2023
3 breakout candidates - 1. Porter Hodge
Last but not least we come to one of my favorite prospects in the Cubs organization, Porter Hodge. Drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the 2019 draft, Hodge got to work in the Arizona league thereafter. He only threw 8 innings and unfortunately, the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID, spending the season between Myrtle Beach and South Bend, the still-just 21-year-old Porter Hodge recorded pretty electric numbers. Starting with the particulars, Hodge notched 109.1 innings this year between both leagues, recording a 2.63 combined ERA. More importantly, though, he got better once he got to South Bend at a higher level.
In South Bend alone, Hodge recorded a minuscule 2.01 ERA in 40.1 frames over the course of 7 starts and 8 appearances. His combination of fastball, slider and change-up allowed him to punch out 141 batters which were good for an 11.6 K/9 on the season. I do think the fact that he stepped up and got better at a higher level could technically mean he just had a breakout season, but I think there's a lot more in store for Hodge. In my opinion, his ceiling is one of the highest within the whole Cubs organization. He didn't really have a single terrible outing in South Bend.
There's currently not that much to knock on Hodge's game. All we can really do is wait to see where he goes from here. Given how quickly he adjusted to a higher level of talent, I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the same should he be promoted. As stated above, I want you to keep in mind that Hodge lost a full year of development due to the pandemic in 2020 (as did every minor leaguer). At just 21 years old, being on the fringe to start at Double-A Tennessee already speaks incredible volumes about his potential. Even if he does stay in South Bend to start the year, I don't see it being long before he moves up the ladder.