Behind Enemy Lines: Tennessee Smokies

Behind Enemy Lines

The Lookouts begin a five game series on the road against the Tennessee Smokies today, so let’s go behind enemy lines and take a peek at Chattanooga’s next opponent.

Team, Record (Affiliate): Tennessee Smokies, 26-34 (Chicago Cubs)

Dates, Start Times and Pitching Match Ups:

Friday, June 10th 7:05 EST, DJ Baxendale (R, 5-5, 3.49) vs Brad Markey (R, 5-1, 2.41)

Saturday, June 11th 7:05 EST Ryan Eades (R, 2-2, 4.70) vs Duane Underwood Jr. (R, 0-3, 5.30)

Sunday, June 12th 2:05 EST David Hurlbut (L, 3-3, 4.53) vs Paul Blackburn (R, 3-2, 2.40)

Monday, June 13th 7:05 EST Aaron Slegers (R, 3-4, 3.71) vs Tyler Skulina (R, 3-3, 3.59)

Tuesday, June 14th 12:05 EST Kohl Stewart (R, 1-0, 4.70) vs Jen-Ho Tseng (R, 1-2, 4.07)                                                     

Smokies Team Leaders:

AVG C Victor Caratini (.305) W SP Brad Markey (5)
R OF Jacob Hannemann(27) SV RP Corey Black (8)
HR OF Jacob Hannemann (5) SO SP Tyler Skulina (44)
RBI OF Jacob Hannemann(23) ERA SP Paul Blackburn (2.40)
SB OF Jacob Hannemann(21) WHIP   SP Paul Blackburn (1.09)

Top Performers, CHA vs TNS in 2016

Chattanooga: Zack Granite – .316, 6-for-19, 3B, HR, 5 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SB in 5G

Leo Reginatto – .421, 8-for-19, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI in 5G

DJ Baxendale – 1-0, 1GS, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER

Trevor Hildenberger – 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 K, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 Saves in 3G

Tennessee: Billy McKinney – .357, 5-for-14, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI in 4G

Victor Caratini – .385, 5-for-14, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI in 4G

Brad Markey – 1-0, 1GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER

Tyler Skulina – 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K


Top Prospects (per MLBPipeline):

RHP Duane Underwood, Rank – #4 in system, #72 in Top 100

2016 stats – 0-3, 5.30 ERA, 35.2 IP (8GS), 41 H, 21 BB, 31 K, .285 BAA, 1.74 WHIP

Duane Underwood was drafted in the second round in 2012 despite touching 98 MPH and flashing an overpowering curveball as a high school senior, and the Cubs couldn’t be happier about having the chance to pick him up later than expected. After an up and down start to his pro career, Underwood has developed into Chicago’s top pitching prospect with a No. 2 starter ceiling. His fastball sits in the 92-96 MPH range with late movement, while his curveball and changeup both rate as at least average pitches. To fully tap into the potential of his plus pitches, Underwood will have to improve his control and work through some injury concerns (he missed two months last season and started this season late). The Lookouts will face Underwood for the second time this season Saturday night when he starts opposite Ryan Eades. Chattanooga scored three runs in four innings off Underwood in their first matchup.

OF Billy McKinney, Rank – #6 in system, #83 in Top 100

2016 stats – .246 AVG, 45H-183AB, 25 R, 18 RBI, 7 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, 27BB, 44K, .346OBP, .311 SLG

Lost in the flurry of Addison Russell’s stellar defense at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs is the acquisition of 2013 first round pick Billy McKinney in the same trade that brought Russell over from the Oakland A’s. McKinney has been described as one of the best pure hitters in the Minors with a lot of bat speed and hand-eye coordination from the left side of the plate. While McKinney has struggled a bit hitting so far with Tennessee, it must be noted that he is just 21 years old, and reached Double-A last season when he was a year younger. There is some doubt about how much power McKinney will display in the higher levels of proball, but the approach (.346 OBP despite a .246 average), the above average hit tool (60 out of 80 scouting grade) and reported maturity and make-up keep McKinney’s upside high.

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