I am a little perplexed about some things going on in the minor league system. I would’ve thought that by now the Cubs would’ve released their minor league managerial and coaching assignments. This would’ve also included trainers and video coordinators. Yet, It’s going to be the second week of February very soon and there’s not been one hint at who could be where.
As per the news, it actually did occur this week. It seemed like there was only one thing happening a day.
Early in the week, Greg Zumach reported on Brennen Davis being the only Cub to make it on The Athletic‘s top 100 list. It’s not really surprising since Keith Law tends to favor prospects that played at higher levels and have proven themselves a bit more than young guys in low-A.
On Wednesday, Baseball America dropped at the farm system rankings. Lo and behold, the Cubs were a top 15 system, right about where they should be. In a years time, they will most likely move into the top 10 if they’re young and can produce this spring and summer.
Yesterday, word got out that the Cubs signed catcher John Hicks to a MiLB deal. Hicks looks to join a plethora of catchers vying to be the 3rd string catcher behind Willson and Yan Gomes. It’s another low risk signing and provides some depth while Miguel Amaya is out, but odds are Hicks could have trouble getting a spot in either Chicago or Iowa. There’s some stiff competition awaiting him.
There were also plenty of photographs being taken this week by John Antonoff and Rich Biesterfield as the young Cubs continued toget ready out in Arizona. At some point, the players will take a break and go home for a bit before coming back for spring training at the beginning of next month. MiLB physicals are set for March 2 with “actual” spring training beginning on the 6th or 7th.
As well, it looks like the designated hitter is about 99.9% official and that’s going to change a little bit of how we do things at North Side Bound. The designated hitter is going to be included in any future position rankings. This year, the position probably would’ve been somewhere between eight and nine depending upon which players played the position most often. The designated hitters will also be ranked in the offseason series that begins at some point in November.
Video of the Week – Jordan Wicks Hype Video
While most of the video footage of him playing is from his days at Kansas State, there are a lot of recent moving images of him cranking up the weight training. Wicks is known for saying that as a D1 pitcher, he was a full-time weightlifter who pitched part time. After watching this, I am more than ready to see him take the mound in April!
To continue to provide a reserve for the major league squad, the Iowa Cubs’ schedule was increased by another week to run concurrently with the major league season to September 28. This will put them at 150 games for the 2022 season.
Stat of the Week
This could be a tweet that does double duty as Jimmy’s going to be having an article come out this week about Kevin Made. Jimmy gave us a sneak peek with this one little bit of statistical information to whet our appetite.
MLB Pipeline Inbox
MLB Pipeline had a really good question this week about James Triantos. I really like the response that Jim Callis penned.
How good of a player can James Triantos be? –@riflejackson212
The Cubs’ second-round pick in the 2021 Draft out of a Virginia high school, James Triantos has huge upside at the plate. He wasn’t as heavily scouted as other top prep players because he reclassified from the 2022 Draft after the summer showcase circuit ended, but he had a lot of helium as the Draft approached. I’ve spoken to a few area scouts whose hearts were broken when Chicago beat their team to him.
Triantos batted .327/.376/.594 with six homers in 25 games in Rookie-level ball during his pro debut, and his biggest supporters compare him offensively to Alex Bregman and David Wright. He has a compact right-handed stroke with advanced feel for the barrel, makes a lot of hard contact and should have average or better power. He probably will wind up at second or third base rather than sticking at shortstop, but his bat should profile well anywhere.
Photo of the Week
With a lot of players in camp, it was hard not to like Rich’s shots every day of the week. In having to pick one set, I am rolling with this grouping of Cristian Hernandez.
We are excited about our new content coming up. Greg Huss takes a deep dive with some stats tomorrow while Greg Zumach will be breaking down some interviews that he’s done about some changes players have made this winter. I will do a little sneak peek preview of each affiliate where I go into detail about one thing about each team. In addition, I’m going to be starting a series of profiles of players who should be heading north from the Dominican this summer. Things sort of kicked off this last week with the Anderson Suriel but at some point I will be examining some hitters who could be arriving stateside In the coming months. Another roundtable will also look at some sleeper relievers next Saturday.
Jam of the Week
I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff over the past seven days. There’s been some Punch Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, Samantha Fish, and even some INXS. However, the song that’s been stuck in my head this week is this one…Crowded House’s “Stare Me Out.”
I see alot of Cubs fans handwaving away Law’s rankings as just someone who favors upper minors prospects, but is that *really* the case? Law ranks very young players all the time, had Julio Urias as a top 15 guy at 17 and ranked Julio Rodriguez off the DSL.
If anything, I’d say Law likes to see players with tools show lots of skills and dominate the level, which outside of Davis didn’t happen in this system. Even considering that the back half of a top 100 is more volatile and can afford higher risk players, there’s so much talent in the minors overall that entering 2022 its hard to make a clean case for a non-Davis Cub off of 2021 to hit a top 100. Getting Hernandez at 81 for BA, the oldest list, was a big win that I didn’t expect anyone else among the big names appointed the powers of list making to match
Also curious as to the significance of the Made stat as it pertains to a ML stardom? Like yeah it looks good, I guess, but is that something teams are looking for in today’s game or leads to success at the highest level? Batting average on 0-0 counts?