DAYTONA, Fla. — Former high school rivals, Ben Wells of Bryant and Zach Cates of Conway have[more] developed into the busiest starters for the Daytona Cubs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Florida State League.
Each has made 14 starts for the Cubs, who have started the second half of the Florida State League split schedule 4-1. Wells is 4-6 with a 3.79 earned run average through 73 2/3 innings and leads the team with the lowest WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) at 1.28. He has struck out 46 and walked 26.
Cates is 7-6 with a 4.18 ERA. In his 71 innings, he has walked 27 and struck out 54, sporting a WHIP of 1.49.
The Cubs’ Major League team also has a pair of Arkansans on its pitcher staff with Bryant’s Travis Wood and Fayetteville’s Blake Parker.
Wood, despite a 5-6 record, is putting together a breakout season for the Cubs and may be in line for his first All-Star Game selection. He’s among the National League leaders in WHIP (1.00), opponents’ batting average (.198) and earned run average (2.85). He’s also turned in quality starts (three runs or less allowed through six innings) in 14 of his 15 starts this season.
Parker, called up recently from the Cubs AAA team, has worked 9 2/3 innings in eight games with an ERA of 0.93 with 11 strikeouts.