Prospects of the Week for Chicago Cubs Affiliates of the Week 5/15-5/21

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Taking a look at the Chicago Cubs prospects that have stood out over the past week of games for the team's minor-league affiliates.

AAA Hitter of the week

OF Yonathan Perlaza (24 Years Old)

.357/.400/.571 1 BB, 3 2B, 3 R, 1-1 SB

This could easily have gone to Nelson Velazquez this week. Velazquez had more games played, more plate appearances, more hits and more runs scored. However, Perlaza hit the ball harder, and when you can say that when comparing someone with Velazquez (whose calling card is his power) that’s saying something. 

Perlaza strikes out too much. He has a career K% around 25% which isn’t going to hack it at the major league level. That being said, he’s had a WRC+ over 100 every year since 2019, and outside of the COVID season, he’s moved up a level every year since then as well, never letting his K rates nor BB rates change much. The problem this year (compared to the previous two seasons) is that Perlaza’s ISO which had been as high as .236 last year for AA Tennessee, is down closer to his career expectations at .183. 

This week that wasn’t the case though. Perlaza had a .234 ISO as he hit three doubles and stole a base on his only attempt. He’s a switch hitter with a fair amount of pop (23 homers in AA last season) and enough speed to be dangerous (on pace for more than 30 SBs this year). If he continues to have weeks like this one, he could be a name we hear at Wrigley sooner rather than later.

AAA Pitcher of the week

RHP Hayden Wesneski (25 Years Old)

1 G, 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 4 BB, 5 K

It’s hard to pick a pitcher of the week when so many guys only go one time, but this week it was easy. Could it have gone to Kyle Hendricks and his stellar outing just a few hours earlier that our own Maddie Hartley wrote about recently? Sure. But at this point in his career Cubs fans know who Kyle Hendricks is. That hasn’t been the case with Wesneski.

I won’t lie, when the Cubs traded five years of team control of Scott Effross and his funky delivery for a mid-tier prospect (even one in the Yankees system), I was a little frustrated. In my opinion at the time, the best-case scenario for such a prospect was for him to be what Effross already was. 

Then came Spring Training and Wesneski had all of us wondering if he could instantly become a part of the rotation. 

Then came the up-and-down start to the regular season in which he looked like a legitimate major league starter against the lowly Oakland A’s, but looked completely overmatched by the likes of Seattle (couldn’t get out of the second inning) and most recently Minnesota (served up four home runs). 

Hopefully, this week is a sign of the next chapter beginning because he was literally unhittable on Saturday night. The walks are concerning, sure, but the Cubs have a 25-year-old mid-rotation starter sitting in Iowa, hungry for his next chance at the Bigs and I can’t remember that being the case in the last decade (if not longer).