Windham’s Unbelievable Catch, Davis’s Surgery, Killian’s Outing, Much More

I have to kick these Cubs prospect notes off with an absolutely bananas play by Tennessee Smokies catcher Bryce Windham.

  • Windham is known as a fantastic athlete, and he showed it all off on this catch:
  • Brennen Davis is back in full season ball, playing for South Bend last night and blooping one in:
  • Davis spoke with Marquee’s Lance Brozdowski about his surgery, his rehab, and where things are for him going forward:
  • More details in there on just how bad his back pain was earlier in the year – so bad that it caused numbness in his feet – and about how the MRIs kept showing nothing. So they went in for surgery thinking there might be a herniated disc that needed cleaning, but there was nothing. Instead, they found the vascular malformation that was pushing on a nerve and causing the pain. Relatively speaking, it was an easy fix, which is why Davis was able to come back so quickly from “back surgery.”
  • Going forward, the idea is to just get the reps now that he’s physically able to and ready to play. Davis concedes that he’s not as strong as he was in Spring Training – that’s just the nature of being down for so long and then having to re-strengthen the core – but he’s healthy.
  • Patrick Mooney gets into Davis and a whole lot else around the farm here:
  • Alexander Canario made his Iowa debut last night, ripping a single and walking twice, though he’s 0-4 with a couple strikeouts so far today.
  • Caleb Kilian threw five dominant and scoreless innings in that game, striking out seven, walking two, and allowing just three hits. Mooney’s piece included a discussion of what comes next for Kilian after – we can be honest about it – a really rough attempted transition to the big leagues. Allow these comments from VP of Pitching and AGM Craig Breslow to take your mind in both of the possible directions: “He’s in a great place physically and mentally. There’s pressure that comes with being a highly touted pitching prospect and getting to the big leagues and maybe things aren’t going exactly as planned. But I think even the All-Star break — giving him a chance just to catch his breath — (helped). It’s just getting back to his identity. We tried to simplify things for him: ‘Caleb, when you’re at your best, who are you?’ The answer was like: ‘I’m a guy who pounds the strike zone with a really heavy sinker.’ OK, let’s embrace that and let’s build off of it. That’s kind of become the backbone to his success over the last handful of starts. Obviously, the hope is that trajectory will continue because he’s got all of the ingredients to be a legitimate major-league starter.”
  • To me, that sounds like there’s still clear belief in the stuff, but that the attempted big league stint really did go as badly as it could have gone. That, perhaps, the moment got to him a bit once the results started spiraling away. And now you just have to hope that the reset – and the offseason – work to put him in a better place for when he comes up next. I’m no longer all that sure that it will come this season.
  • A couple other things that jumped out at I-Cubs broadcaster Alex Cohen from last night:
  • Good thought here from Todd on some wearing down we might see over the next few weeks:
  • Such a bummer for Tyler Schlaffer:
  • Absolutely perfect bunt from Moises Ballesteros, and make sure you watch through the celebration:
  • The 18-year-old catching prospect is currently hitting .245/.375/.377/118 wRC+ at Low-A Myrtle Beach (remember, it’s quite unkind to lefty hitters), with a 17.2% BB rate and 21.9% K rate . And he’s 18. We probably don’t talk about the bat enough.
  • Speaking of 18-year-old prospects who are raking and deserve attention:
  • Like Ballesteros, Ramirez was kind of overshadowed by Cristian Hernández in his IFA class, and, like Ballesteros, there are questions about the body (Ballesteros is quite large, and Ramirez is quite small). But he did nothing but rake last year, and did it again this year in his stateside debut. Would love to see him get some time at Myrtle Beach before the season ends, but it all depends on his individualized plan.
  • Prettttaaaaay good week for the South Bend starting pitchers:

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