Rod Sanford/Michigan State Athletics

A look at 10th round pick Dakota Mekkes and a winter league playoff wrap-up.

Dakota Mekkes led the NCAA in 2016 with 15.2 K/9 and ended his first pro season with a ring.

2016  Draft Class Update—Dakota Mekkes, RHP

As a red-shirt freshman at Michigan State in 2015, Mekkes only appeared in nine games and allowed 10 hits and seven walks over 12 innings. The following year, he became one of the top bullpen arms in college, leading the NCAA with 15.16 K/9 with 96 punchouts in 57 innings with a Big Ten best 1.74 ERA and .142 BAA. The Cubs used their 10th round pick on the Michigan native and he made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League in mid-July. After two appearances, Mekkes was on his way to Eugene where he was a key bullpen arm in the Ems title run. In nine games in the NWL, Mekkes fanned 21 over 17 innings while issuing four walks and holding hitters to a .186 BAA. He showed the ability to work multiple innings, going two innings in seven games and working into the second frame in the other two outings. The right-hander made two playoff appearances (4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and earned a save against Everett in the finals. The 22-year-old should have a spot in the South Bend bullpen to start and season and could find himself playing in the Carolina League before the end of the summer. Mekkes has an interesting delivery when no one is on base and he starts his windup, stops, and then delivers to the plate. Despite his size (6-foot-7, 252 pounds), Mekkes doesn’t have a power arm but instead uses a deceptive delivery, a fastball in the low 90s and a good breaking ball to keep hitters off balance. 

Venezuelan Winter League

Caribes pounded La Guaria pitching for 17 hits for a 18-4 win and the series victory. Lara forced a Game 7 with a 3-0 blanking of Margarita. 

Dominican Winter League

Licey improved to 5-5 with a 6-2 win over Escogido (3-8). 3B Chesny Young (.289) was 1-for-4 in the loss. Aguilas (9-1) and Gigantes (3-6) were rained out. 

Mexican Pacific Winter League

Hermosillo defeated Culiacan 6-3 to take the final game of the best-of-seven series and advanced to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, Hermosillo faces Mexicali and Los Mochis takes on Culiacan, the best loser. Play begins Jan. 11.

Puerto Rican Winter League

No games were scheduled. Santurce leads Carolina 3-1 while Caguas and Mayaguez are tied at two games apiece. Three Cubs farm hands are playing in the playoffs—1B Yasiel Balaguert (Carolina), C Carlos Corporan (Mayaguez) and RH Miguel Mejia (Caguas).

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