Welcome to Blue HQ Media, your new location for everything South Bend Cubs. With the 2017 season now underway we decided to create a primer for the rest of the year. Here is a look at a brief history of the team and this year’s top prospects.
The South Bend Cubs are a relatively young franchise, coming into existence in 1988. That year, the city of South Bend was awarded the team who were originally affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. Playing in the Single-A Midwest League, the team was originally known as the South Bend White Sox before being renamed the Silver Hawks in 1994. The name was meant to pay homage to the Studebaker Silver Hawk, an automobile that was built in South Bend.
The team remained an affiliate of the White Sox until after the 1997 season. Starting in 1998, South Bend became an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a partnership they maintained for 17 years.
In November of 2011, Andrew Berlin, an attorney from Chicago, purchased the franchise. Almost immediately afterwards, Berlin signed a 20-year cumulative lease agreement with the City of South Bend for the use of Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium, now known as Four Winds Field. On January 12, 2012, the sale became official as the financial and legal transactions were completed and Berlin became the sole owner of the club.
In September 2014 when the club decided to end its affiliation with the Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs came swooping in. South Bend signed a four-year player development agreement which has since been extended through 2020. Starting that year the team changed its name for the third time to the South Bend Cubs.
In their brief history, South Bend has been impressive. The club has won 12 division titles, six league titles and in 2015, was awarded the John H. Johnson President’s Award, an award presented annually by Minor League Baseball to recognize the “complete baseball franchise—based on franchise stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community, and promotion of the baseball industry.”
Dylan Cease, RHP
Dylan Cease is the top pitching prospect in the entire Cubs organization. While an impending Tommy John Surgery caused him to slip to the sixth round of the 2014 draft, Cease is a first-round talent. At just 20-years old, he has plenty of time to come into his own and regain some lost stamina. While he sometimes struggles with control, his velocity has been known to frequently touch 100 MPH. Cease is still a few years off of the MLB, but don’t take his time in South Bend for granted. Go watch this kid!
Erling Moreno, RHP
Erling Moreno may only be 20, but he has already been in the Cubs organization for four years. Signing with the organization as a 16-year old out of Columbia, the young pitcher has continually produced results in rookie ball. Another positive is the fact that Moreno has filled out his frame quite a bit in the past four years, standing at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. While some may be concerned with his ceiling, there is no doubt he will dazzle fans in South Bend this season.
D.J. Wilson, CF
A fourth-round selection in 2015 draft for Chicago, D.J. Wilson has certainly caught the eyes of fans and scouts alike. Another youngster at 20-years old, Wilson is a nightmare for opponents on the base paths. Another key attribute is his glove in the field. He posses freak athleticism and can make plays ranging in either direction. Wilson is another player fans should see in a few seasons at Wrigley.
Jose Paulino, LHP
Yet another player who was signed as an international free agent teenager, Jose Paulino is next on our list. Signed as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic, Paulino is now 21 and still growing. While his maturity has progressed nicely he will look to expand the quality of his secondary pitches in 2017. Paulino will also look to expand his inning total in 2017, hoping to prove he can be a viable MLB starter.
Isaac Paredes, SS
Acquired by the Cubs organization as one of the Mexican free agent signings in 2015, Issac Paredes is only 18-years old. While a he may be a top prospect, some scouts are concerned with his ability to stay at shortstop as he adds weight to his frame. Many project Paredes as a third baseman if he makes it to the majors.