Cubs First Round Pick Brendon Little Shows Perseverance in Professional Debut

How much can you say about a three-inning start? And it’s not like the game was on MiLB.TV, either. Thankfully, radio saved the day to report the debut of the Cubs’ first round pick, Brendon Little.

For starters, Little threw only 35 pitches in his first outing with Eugene Emeralds. His fastball ranged between 91-95 and sat mainly in the 92/93 range. He did struggle with his control in the first two innings, particularly with the curve. The young lefty gave up three runs on the short night, but he also got that first pro start out of the way after not pitching in a game for over two months.

The 1st inning was not one to remember. After giving up an infield single and a pop-up, Little picked off the runner on first base. Perhaps a little jazzed up, his control left him with two outs. He walked the next batter, hit a guy, threw a wild pitch, and forgot to cover home. An RBI single followed and the inning ended on a 6-3 ground-out.

You would think that with all that action, Little’s pitch count would have been extremely high. But despite all the drama, he only threw 17 pitches. Now, I like it when pitchers are efficient, but Little was having trouble getting his curve over and labored somewhat more than that relatively small number indicates.

In the 2nd, Little gave up a leadoff homer and the next pitch was a screaming liner caught by third baseman Austin Filiere. That would be the last hard-hit ball of the night off of him, as he got two more grounders and fired only 11 pitches in the frame.

Little then required only 7 pitches to get through his final frame, earning his first strikeout on the same curve he had had trouble locating earlier in the night.

Little’s next start should come late next week. Unfortunately, the Emeralds will be on the road (no TV) after the the Northwest League has its All-Star break next Monday through Wednesday. 

Here are a few takeaways from Little’s brief outing and what to watch for the rest of the summer:

  • He throws in the mid-90’s
  • He works efficiently
  • It’s going to take some time to round back into form
  • He’s only going to go 3 innings per start after throwing 80+ in college this spring
  • Don’t expect brilliance every night
  • Do expect flashes of the skills that made him a first-round pick
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