Three of the top players on the team with the most wins in the Carolina League will take part in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game on June 23 in Rancho Cucamonga.
RHP Duane Underwood Jr., RHP Jonathan Martinez and OF Mark Zagunis will represent the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Chicago Cubs on the Carolina League All-Star squad along with pitching coach David Rosario and assistant hitting coach Chris Gutierrez.
Tripp Keister, the skipper of the Potomac Nationals, will call the shots for the Carolina League All Star Team.
Duane Underwood Jr.
With Carl Edwards Jr. in Triple-A Iowa’s bullpen and injuries keeping RHP Pierce Johnson from starting the season on time, a very good case could be made that RHP Duane Underwood Jr. is the top pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system.
Duane Underwood Jr. is having a good year, and he does not turn 21 for another month (July 20).
In 10 starts this season, Underwood Jr. is 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. Underwood Jr. has allowed 17 runs, 13 earned, on 40 hits with 37 strikeouts and 16 walks in 56 1/3 innings.
Underwood Jr. has limited teams to two runs or less in nine of his 10 starts and one run or less in seven of his 10 games this season. Underwood Jr. had a rough outing on June 5 in which he allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Jason McLeod was very happy with the progress Underwood Jr. made on and off the field last year. And it appears the pitcher with possibly the best stuff in the system has continued on the same development path that got his career going in the right direction last season.
OF Mark Zagunis
Zagunis has batted .300/.431/.433 in 56 games with 12 doubles, three triples and three home runs for a .864 OPS. And in those 56 games, Zagunis has more walks (43) than strikeouts (38).
After a very good May in which he hit .333/.471/.484 with a .954 OPS, Zagunis has cooled off a little over his last 14 games. Zagunis is batting only .294/.400/.471 with a .871 OPS.
RHP Jonathan Martinez
Acquired from the Dodgers last year as the player to be named later for the recently DFA’d Darwin Barney, RHP Jonathan Martinez has put together a good season for the Pelicans.
The 20-year old right hander (June 27) is 4-1 in 10 games, nine starts, with a 2.76 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Martinez has allowed 17 runs, 15 earned, on 38 hits in 49 innings. Martinez has 27 strikeouts with only eight walks on the season.
And Martinez seems to be improving each time out. In his last two starts, Jonathan Martinez has allowed two runs on nine hits in 10 innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Cubs Minor League All-Stars
The Cubs have 15 All-Stars in three levels of the minor leagues:
- C Kyle Schwarber
- C Willson Contreras
- 1B Dan Vogelbach
- RHP Frank Batista
- RHP Corey Black
- RHP P.J. Francescon
- RHP Felix Pena
High-A Myrtle Beach
- RHP Duane Underwood Jr.
- OF Mark Zagunis
- RHP Jonathan Martinez
Low-A South Bend
- SS Gleyber Torres
- C/1B Cael Brockmeyer
- OF Charcer Burks
- RHP Jeremy Null
- RHP James Farris
Even with the promotions of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, the Cubs organization is still consider one of the top five farm systems in baseball. The mid-season organizational rankings will be released soon and with so much of the top talent in the game being promoted to the majors it will be interesting to see where the Cubs are ranked.