Cubs farmhand Austin Kirk throws no-hitter

The Cubs have quietly stashed a lot of arms at the Class A level and below.  As good as the farm system is now, it could get a whole lot better in the next couple of years.  One of the more intriguing arms is Class A Peoria lefty Austin Kirk.

Kirk has had a dominant season at Peoria, even if his record doesn't show it.  Tonight he didn't give the Clinton Lumberkings a chance, pitching a complete game no-hitter with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts.

Overall this year, Kirk is 5-5, with a 2.60 ERA.  More impressively, he's given up just 63 hits in 93 innings.  He's also had 82 strikeouts against just 22 walks.

So what kind of stuff does Kirk have?  Although he has reached as high as 95 mph, he generally throws between 88-92 mph.  His best pitch is his curveball.  Physically, he's pretty mature so he doesn't figure to throw a lot harder.  Overall his stuff rates as slightly above average, but he has a good feel for pitching and great makeup, so he has a chance to be a solid major league starter when you look at the overall picture.

Right now he's overwhelming Midwest League hitters.  It'll be interesting to see how he does as he moves up the ladder.

 

 

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  • Must've been pretty exciting for the kid. I wonder how many minor league no-hitters/perfect games the Cubs have overall...

    In other minor league news...have you noticed that Flaherty is playing 3B for Tennessee now and yesterday Vitters was at 1B and didn't play today...is he falling out of the Cubs plans? Or are they planning to move Flaherty to the majors and want him to spend more time at the hot corner...

  • In reply to Swingline:

    They haven't thrown any other no-hitters this year as far as I know.

    I don't think they have given up on Vitters so much as they want to see Flaherty play 3rd again. The Cubs like there farmhands to play multiple positions in the minors to give them more options as they approach the majors.

    Flaherty looks a lot closer to the majors right now than Vitters and the Cubs may also be exploring if he's a viable option for them next year if they can't pick up a veteran.

  • I was talking about historically, as Zambrano has the only no-hitter in Cubs history. But it was more open ended, wouldn't be much fun to actually find the records.

    Here's a bit of odd theory....we may be better off using Flaherty as our starting 3B next year, and trading Vitters, regardless of how he pans out....assuming Jackson and Sczcur both do. I'm saying this because of how the age/contract maturity cycle works, we'll likely be able to maintain success and hold a team together for longer if we're able to have an age/service dispersion between our starters.

    I know you always want prospects to pan out, but that isn't a reality, so what is the most beneficial way for prospects to not develop...

    Our deepest position player organizational depth right now, to me, is in corner infielders and catchers. And just the way these 2 factors break down, Vitters is the odd man out. Regardless, he has not developed well, and hopefully there are still lazy scouts with their analytical skills stuck in the 90's which will overvalue him.

    If your best players are stuck in a 3 year span (such as 1988-1991), your roster stagnates. And if you fear this and try to force turnover, you end up feeding a buyers market and not getting value back.

    Without running any numbers of successful teams, I would say that if you're running 13 position players (which we are now) you would look to have a 2 person turnover annually once you're playing at a high level.

  • Oh...sorry...misunderstood! But there have been other no hitters in Cubs history, most recently (before Zambrano) by Burt Hooton and Milt Pappas.

    Interesting theory...I do think there needs to be a balance. If both players were to reach their potential, most people expect Vitters to be a lot better than Flaherty. Flaherty is a probably a .275 hitter, 15 HRs if he reaches his potential. It's not bad, but Vitters has a shot to be a .285-.300 hitter with 25 homers or more. I know what you're saying, and I think it makes sense in some instances, but if you think Vitters is going to be a lot better, then I think you have to keep him so you can field the best team possible and work out the finances later. If he does pan out and you can't afford to re-sign everybody, you could get a lot more back for him as an established major leaguer.

    That being said, I think there's a chance that Vitters is the guy the Cubs trade if they're going to be buyers because there is some depth there. Not just Flaherty, but also DJ LeMahieu and, down the road, Javier Baez

  • Vitters and LeMahieu are both driving me crazy with their lack of walks. More specifically, Vitters has 0 walks in at least his last 10 games, and LeMahieu hasn't walked since before the Cubs called him up....that's a while ago.

    It's hard to be patient this time of year, and with this sort of season. I'm tired of lazy veterens who seem uninterested in trying to fix their problems, I just wanna see some firey younger players who are excited to be in Chicago and let them go all out.

  • Me too...especially Vitters since he could be so good if he just waited for better pitches to hit. I'm not sure if he's stubborn or he just can't help himself. 8 walks all year isn't going to cut it. He may make the majors, but he'll never reach his potential.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    On the upside, Casey Coleman looked good today. Still learning to be an ML pitcher, but I hope he can keep working hard and be in the rotation next year.

  • I think Coleman can be a 4th or 5th starter. His stuff has improved since he was first drafted. He looked good today after a rough start.

  • I felt bad for him with the way the bullpen played today.

    Rumblings of Cashner throwing next week sound promising. Hopefully whatever happened doesn't resurface.

    Have you heard any legitimate trade rumours?

  • Haven't heard anything legit yet as far as trades...just a lot of speculation right now. I'd be surprised if the Cubs don't make a couple of deals, though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There are a few draft picks who have tagged onto Boise that have been performing admirably. Specifically the 1B Hoilman and P Pugliese.

    I realize that the pitching isn't the best down there, but it's always promising for a guy (albeit already 22) to already be taking a healthy amount of walks. Reggie Golden also seems to be seeing the ball well.

  • Sorry, Pugliese is still only in rookie ball, but still, can't be dissapointed by a solid start by anyone.

  • Not sure what happened but my post was lost...

    I think Hoilman needs to move up to Peoria soon to see what he can do against players around his age. He actually played through his senior year in college and was 3rd in home runs in the country...but I'd like to see if he can really do it or if he's just a man among boys right now at Boise.

    Really encouraged by Golden's start. If he keeps it up he'll make his way toward the top of the Cubs prospects lists.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It seems like we have more good prospects in SS ball than in either single A team, outside of Sczcur.

    Depending on how the season finishes out for him, Golden could be fast tracking himself to the majors. He'll be 20 at the beginning of next season, and I don't think it's ridiculous to say that he could be an opening day guy in 2014 where he won't be 23 until after the season.

  • It goes all the way down to the Dominican Leagues, but there are a lot of good prospects in A ball too. At some point this week, (possibly today if I can get my non-baseball work done) I'll compile a list of those players from A Ball down to the Dominican Leagues.

    Golden will be near the top of that list. And it's not out of the realm of possibility that things could click for him and he'll move quickly. The Cubs like to fast-track the prospects who adapt quickly. Not sure I always agree with that...sometimes I think it's good for players to stay in a league and dominate it before moving on -- but it certainly worked with Starlin Castro and to a lesser extent, Andrew Cashner.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We reallly need a homegrown 1B prospect to work out...I think the last one we had that was an actual starter for this team was Hee Sop Choi (unsure on spelling). Not exactly a good track record.

    In terms of the DSL, this Jeimer Candelario is putting up some attractive numbers. Won't be 18 until November, and is hitting for high average as well as walking a lot. Will hopefully add some power, but I like what I see rightnow.

  • Candelario is one guy to keep an eye on...There's Dan Vogelbach when he signs, Vitters...a kid in A ball named Justin Bour is 6'4 and has very good power. Not much strength for the Cubs at the 1b position though...I'm thinking we'll have to address that soon at the MLB level, whether it's extending Pena or going after one of the big FAs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I've seen Bour, physically almost identical to Bryan LaHair, just 6 years younger. Vogelbach interests me the most, and I'm hoping he signs. I guess the key is which of these guys is strongest defensively as well. But it's a position where you'd like to have a big lefty slugger.

    I wonder if DeVoss could move to 2B...I like his skillset there and it's a bit of a black hole of a position for us.

  • It's nice to see all the good Cubs prospects starting to develop. The one bad part IS the fact they are in the lower minors. I guess Keith Law was right when he said he really liked the younger prospects.

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