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

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AA Hitter of the week

3B BJ Murray (23 Years Old)

.476/.522/.952 2 BB, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R

Hopefully, there is a performance like this every week that makes the decision easy as to who gets player of the week honors. BJ Murray was simply spectacular. He had seven extra-base hits in five games. While he doesn’t appear on any top prospect lists (yet), he did get a shout-out in a recent article by Jim Bowden for the Athletic in which he looked at “27 Prospects You Don’t Know Yet, But Should.”

There’s a lot to like when you look at Murray, and whatever you don’t like can usually be offset by what you do. Does he strike out a lot? Yes. He has 38 strikeouts on the year at AA. Does he offset that by walking at a high rate as well? Yes. He’s walked 28 times this season. 

He’s competitive and plays a competent 3B, even on the biggest stage this summer as he played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic. 

His bat was always going to be what got him to the majors, and he’s never had a WRC+ under 113, but this year he’s blowing the doors off of all of his previous numbers. His BABIP may seem high at .341 but it’s actually below his career average, which implies that his early results aren’t lucky, they’re just good. He’s got a .433 wOBA and a 167 WRC+ and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. 

If this week is a sign of things to come, then expect to see BJ Murray not only climbing prospect lists, but also climbing the Cubs Minor League ladder to Iowa before the end of the year.

AA Pitcher of the week

LHP Jordan Wicks (23 Years Old)

1 G, 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K

Jordan Wicks had a great start this week and that’s what landed him on the list. So far, he’s 3-0 across 35.1 IP with a 2.55 ERA, so this week’s start isn’t out of the norm for the way that he’s pitched this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth celebrating. 

Since they drafted him out of Kansas State, the Cubs knew what they were getting out of Wicks and the word high comes up often: high K, high BB, high ceiling, high floor as a high leverage reliever. 

He hasn’t disappointed this season, and I’d argue he didn’t disappoint last year either as much as he was just unlucky and the results weren’t as favorable as they should have been.

Wicks pitched 28 innings at AA to end last season with the following stat line











Wicks has pitched 35.1 innings at AA to start this season with the following stat line:











There is a lot there to suggest that Wicks was unlucky last year and that there’s even more room for improvement this season.

There are two obvious reasons that Wicks has seen an improvement in his ERA this season and that is that he’s limited the walks and he’s limited the home runs. Last season more than 21% of the balls hit in the air against him were home runs. That was completely insane. That being said, having a 77% strand rate to pair with a 47.8% ground ball rate and 28.9% strikeout rate made it pretty tough to score against him unless the opposition hit a home run, so it makes sense that this year it would regress to the mean a little bit.

If Wicks can continue to strikeout batters at this clip and limit the walks and homers against him then it’s within reason to think that he could get even better in his next couple of starts before a late-season call-up to Iowa where he’ll only be one call away from making his major league debut.