At The Cub Reporter, Arizona Phil posted late Saturday a list of the players attending the Cubs October Instructional League. Games will begin this week. The 47 Cubs players are closely split between pitchers and hitters (22 pitchers), and I've decided to do snapshots on the players in attendance, three-ish at a time. Nonetheless, I want you to have slight snippets of the players if the development angle intrigues you. Today, I’m going with three relatively obscure names.
Porter Hodge was a 2019 13th-round selection from Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yes, he is a fan of the NBA Utah Jazz. In his draft campaign, he tossed eight innings in the Arizona Summer League, surrendering ten hits and nine runs. Remember that he was a prep signing, and some of his opponents had played three or four years of college ball. He survived upright, and that's what matters.
Hodge will be in line for an assignment to whatever remains of the Midwest League in 2021. As a 13th-round choice the expectations might be muted, but tweaks added or developed in Instructional Ball could be useful to pushing to the upper levels of minor league ball, or as a trade piece. You now know about all I do about Hodge.
Erling Moreno has been with the Cubs long enough to have pitched in the Venezuelan League. In 2019, he had advanced to the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans. While his ERA was an unsightly 6.04, that team's defense tended to make things rough on pitchers. That he has advanced to Instructional Ball hits there's something left in the tank. The Cartegena, Colombia native turns 24 in mid-January.
Pablo Aliendo played two years in the Dominican Summer League after being signed out of Naguanagua, Venezuela, near Valencia. His OPS jumped from .543 in his first season to his 18-year-old campaign in 2019 of .617. He seems to represent a defense-first catcher. That he's on the team instead of seven-figure bonus player Brayan Altuve could be concerning regarding Altuve's development. Or, Aliendo might be effective with pitchers. Take your pick. Ronnier Quintero is on the squad, as is 'third in the bonus triumvirate' shortstop Kevin Made, so concern should be muted. If Aliendo is a catcher-first catcher, that's fine with a player with an unreported signing bonus.
Look for these periodically through the month. Don't worry. I haven't forgotten my final postseason statistical update. It will follow relatively soon, when I can write on it in a cheerful and constructive fashion.