I’m a little stunned today as it is the 11th day of the month. I feel like I just finished doing the All-Star team for May a couple of days ago and that school got out a week ago. It actually got out 16 days ago. So time is flying by and so is the month of June. All throughout the system things are changing rapidly and today is going to be a day where I discuss 10 things I am thinking the Cubs’ system.
1. The older I get, the more reluctant I’m becoming to jump on a player’s bandwagon at either level of class A. I’m getting to the point where I want to say, “Call me when they get to Double-A.“ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Double-A is the level with the most talent and players that do well in Double-A tend to do well at Triple-A and make it to the big leagues. There are a few exceptions – Chesny Young for example. On the whole, though, Double-A tends to separate the wheat from the chaff.
2. Patience is still the key. While there are still a lot of players in their first year at a full season affiliate, adjusting to playing professional baseball takes time. Learning how to play against advanced competition is difficult whether you were a high school player or a D1 star, the players on the other team are good. For players that have never had to adjust because they were the best player on their team or in their conferences, this comes as a huge shock. So, be patient with players in rookie ball or Class A as they learn to learn.
3. The draft is five weeks from tomorrow and I’m pretty close to being ready for days one and two. I’m never ready for day three. But I feel pretty good about knowing most of the names that will probably be called up through the seventh or eighth round right now. That’s a major achievement for me to dig that deep into the draft with a month to go. As a result, I think the Cubs are going to get a lot of good players on days one and two and sneak in quite a few sleepers on day three.
4. The ability of Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, and South Bend to come from behind to win games this year has been uncanny. On Tuesday, both the Smokies and Pelicans were able to get it done and it just of blows my mind that they believe in themselves that much. That’s a great thing to instill in players in your organization.
5. I’m excited to go to the Quad Cities next week to see Pete Crow-Armstrong. It was a little awkward seeing his name plastered in two levels on his home jersey this week. Luckily, South Bend does not put their names on the back of the road grays. So that will not be a problem. Just me paying for gas will be.
6. Developing starting pitching is probably going to be the hardest thing for all three rookie league teams this summer. So much more emphasis is now placed on the rookie league squads because there is no short season team to help them bridge that gap to Low-A. We might see pitchers do a two-year stint in rookie league or even Low-A. That might become the norm rather than getting promoted after one year.
7. I am also very excited to go back to Beloit here in a little over two weeks. It’s going to be so nice to go see the Cubs play 35 minutes from my garage. That also means I’m able to stay a little bit longer and get to see more of the bullpen in person rather than just the starters which I would do at Davenport and Peoria.
8. At some point, the Cubs are going to release several players because they’re gonna have to make room for 25 or 30 new ones next month. That is never easy to see but it always happens.
9. I’m just as excited about nondrafted free agency as I am about the draft. The Cubs have been nailing those signings the past two years and it seems like there are a lot of hits, ironically, on the pitching side.
10. Following the stats in the DSL is nice and fun. But in the big scheme of things, they do not mean anything to the projected future success of a player. None whatsoever. We have been fooled many times by a player who does well in Boca Chica. The side of the road in Mesa (and Eugene) is littered with names of guys who never made it to Class A. Fernando Kelli (there’s a blast from the past) is Exhibit A. However, I can’t help but notice who is doing well.
BONUS THOUGHT – Promote Jeremiah Estrada.
I will be back tonight with the Players of the Day and The Weekly will be out tomorrow with a recap of the news of the week and what other people are writing about the Cub prospects.