Jared Banner picture courtesy of Ministry of Supply
I was off of teaching today and I spent some time listening to podcasts. In addition to the Growing Cubs podcast, I took the time to listen to Jared Banner, the Cubs new Director of Player Development, speak more in depth than he did a week ago on The Score. Today, Marquee put out their weekly podcast with Tony Andracki and Lance Brozdowski. It took a while to get going on some specific players, but the second half of the podcast just lit it up as Banner started breaking down certain players.
Here are some highlights from today’s Pod.
Mini-Camp: Banner said it was going great in getting guys to get ramped for the season slowly.
Incorporating the new guys into the system: Banner said that bringing players in of that caliber is a positive thing. This spring has been about getting them comfortable along with finding the resources they need.
What did the Cubs learn about the pitching injuries that happened last year: “Injuries are a part of the process. When you have great stuff it can create a strain on the arm.” Banner also added that no one has figured out how to keep pitchers healthy but the Cubs have to be able to adapt and learn as an organization.
Development Plans: Banner later called what the Cubs are doing as “evidence-based development.” He said to make practice harder to make the games easier.
Brennen Davis Expectations for 2022 – Banner called Davis an impressive young player and praised how well he adjusted to Triple-A when he arrived. Banner did not give any timelines for Davis’ arrival in Chicago. However, Banner said, “I think its safe to say that he’s not too far off.”
On Injured Pitchers Returning: “Those guys (Franklin, McAvene, Franklin) are healthy now and look great! I am really excited about them!”
James Triantos – Banner called him “a left side of the field defender.” I repeat, “a left side of the field defender.” That means SS and 3B which is interesting as some had thought that Triantos would slide over to second. Needless to say, that Myrtle Beach infield should be something else.
Manager/Coach Evaluation – This was an interesting part of the discussion for me. Banner brought up that the manager and coaches at each level should be focused on helping each player meet their individualized development plan. The manager also has a hand in drafting said plan. Banner said the key is to know the goal and chase after them on an individual basis.
Pete Crow-Armstrong – “I don’t think he gets credit for how good of an athlete he is.” Over the last year, PCA worked on his body and is much stronger than when he became a Cub.
Caleb Kilian – “He really opened our eyes from the very beginning” and then Banner went on to praise Kilian’s willingness to adapt and change and then called him a physical specimen.
DJ Herz – Banner praised him for his 40% K rate. Said that the Cubs “were really excited about him.”
Cristian Hernandez – When asked about the Cubs’ expectations for Cristian, Banner said that Hernandez needs to come to the ballpark and work hard everyday to get better. Banner felt confident that Hernandez is a guy people will talking about “for years to come.”
Ed Howard – “It’s always how you bounce back from adversity.” There are some adjustments he’s going to make at the plate and he’s very aware of that.
Ben Leeper – “He told us he was ready to move up.”
Brendon Little – Banner raved about his talent but did not talk about his injury in the Arizona Fall League.
Overall, it was an intriguing discussion between the three. Banner really came alive in the second half talking about individual prospects but he remained pretty guarded about where players were going to begin this year. We will soon find soon!