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2023 Cubs prospect profiles: Porter Hodge

He’s #26 on the MLB prospect list, and presumably rising as the Cubs have protected him from the Rule 5 draft by giving him a spot on the 40-man roster. He pitched decently for the Southern League Champion Tennessee Smokies and has a big build and a live arm.

Porter Hodge
Lindsay Coward/Tennessee Smokies

This series of Cubs prospect profiles is based on Fangraphs’ top 52 prospects list, minus the players who have already been profiled. Generally, these will be of Triple-A and Double-A players that might see the 40-man roster at some point. I’m not necessarily doing them in order and will skip around a bit.

Porter Hodge is a bit of an unknown entity to most here, I would imagine. I was certainly not overfamiliar with him before the Cubs honored him with the 40-man roster spot. MLB.com gives his ratings as: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 40 | Overall: 40. He’s 22, and 6’4”, 230.

They say:

“Hodge’s 6-foot-4 frame gives him the strength to handle a starter’s workload and creates plenty of extension in his delivery, allowing his pitches to get on hitters quickly. There’s some mixed opinion on whether he can cut it as a big league starter, and he’ll need to refine his control and a third pitch to do so. If he ends up as a reliever, his fastball/slider combination might make him a high-leverage option.”

So he’s got potential. At least he’s a horse, now we wait and see if he’s a thoroughbred or due for the knacker’s. Somewhere in between is most likely. He had back surgery in 202 but doesn’t seem any the worse for that experience.

His counting stats are not bad. 15-15, 4.34, 312 SO and 129 BB in 248⅔ innings. The walks could come down some but that’s almost always the case with minor-leaguers. He spent 2023 with the Southern League Champion Smokies, amassing six victories against seven defeats, with an unsightly 5.13 ERA and a ghastly 49 walks in 80⅔ innings. The 103 strikeouts look nice, though.

There’s some nice video on his MiLB page, that maybe will help clear up why he’s got a 40-man spot. I’m not entirely sure, myself, but then I haven’t seen all of the others and so the standard is slippery. He did receive this honor in 2023.

I think things indicate that Hodge will be in the rotation in Knoxville unless there is a crying need for his services at the Triple-A level. He’s at least a couple years away from useful innings with the MLB club.

Have to give credit here to Bryan Smith and Brett Taylor, who hipped me to Hodge and Michael Arias a few months ago, with articles about them. 100 percent correct there, and kudos. I have been dubious since, and not a lot of their games were available to me to see.

In this case, it’s probably not the stopped-clock principle I usually run on, where if I’m right, it’s an accident.

Ba dum tss.

The BCB mantra applies here:

“As always, we await developments.”

And, as always, thanks for reading.