Erik Jokisch is a left-handed starting pitcher in the Chicago Cubs‘ minor league system who receives little love from the prospect authorities, despite throwing a no-hitter last season and compiling impressive results throughout the minor leagues. Jokisch started for the Cubs against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday and threw three no-hit innings with a strikeout and two walks.
It wasn’t a dominant performance, but the skills he flashed displayed the underlying ability that Jokisch brings to the table.
Jokisch kept the Brewers’ hitters off-balance throughout his three innings by changing speeds well and featuring a quality three-pitch mix. He was poised on the mound and at times featured strong command. One of his walks was to Ryan Braun while the other was on a questionable 3-2 pitch that could have been called for strike three.
The Cubs drafted Jokisch in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of Northwestern University and while his first 34 innings in low-A ball were disastrous, he has posted an FIP under 4.00 in each of his three full seasons in the minors and has a 3.48 ERA in 489.1 total innings. After a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings pitched at double-A in 2012, the Cubs had Jokisch repeat the level in 2013. While his ERA rose to 3.42 in 160.2 innings, he showed above-average command with a 7.67 K/9 and 3.02 BB/9. Jokisch has always prevented home runs at an above-average level, and that continued last year with 0.78 HR/9.
Despite his impressive results, Jokisch is overlooked due to his finesse style of pitching. It was evident on Monday afternoon though that he has the stuff to get major league hitters out even without strong velocity, and his performance let the baseball world know that it would be wise to take notice. Jokisch will start the season at triple-A Iowa and if he continues to have success, he can put himself on the short list of potential emergency starters at the big league level.