Ex-Pelican Underwood loses big league debut

Former Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. made his major league debut Monday for the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Underwood Jr. is the fifth Myrtle Beach alumnus to make his MLB debut this season and the 174th player, including rehabbers, to have spent time in both the Grand Strand and the big leagues.

Underwood Jr., a Raleigh, N.C. native, allowed only two hits over four innings but gave up a solo home run that eventually saddled him with a the 2-1 loss. He started for the Cubs after going 3-7 with a 4.27 ERA over 14 appearances (13 starts) with Triple-A Iowa this season.

Originally drafted by the Cubs in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Alan C. Pope High School (Ga.), Underwood Jr. entered the 2015 season with the Pelicans as the No. 4 prospect in the Cubs’ organization according to MLB.com. The righty allowed more than two earned runs in a start just twice, earning a Mid-Season All-Star selection in the Carolina League. Overall, he went 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA while holding opponents to a .202 batting average against over 73.1 innings.

Underwood Jr. was an essential cog on both the 2015 and 2016 Mills Cup Championship teams for the Birds, making two starts in the 2015 postseason and one in 2016.

After pitching a majority of the 2016 season with Double-A Tennessee, going 0-5 with a 4.91 ERA for the Smokies over 58.2 innings, Underwood Jr. returned to Kodak in 2017, producing his most prolific season in his time in the minors. He threw a career-best 138.0 innings, going 13-7 with a 4.43 ERA for the Smokies.

Former Myrtle Beach farmhands Billy McKinney (New York Yankees, March 30), Pedro Araujo (Baltimore Orioles, March 31), David Bote (Chicago Cubs, April 21) and Gleyber Torres (New York Yankees, April 22) have also made their MLB debuts this season.

Photo courtesy of MLB

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