Alexander Canario – Picture by Todd Johnson
I’d first like to begin this week by thanking everyone for reading our coverage of the 2022 minor league regular season and playoffs! We are now at the point of the year where instructs are taking place in Arizona and the Arizona Fall League is the main game in town starting on Wednesday the fifth.
The big news this week was that Tennessee had two games at home to clinch the Southern League Championship and it just did not happen. They had leads both nights but couldn’t hold anything as the bullpen issues we talked about last Sunday came right to the forefront. Still, the Smokies had a great year and when your Double-A team does well, that is only going to bode well for the major league club in less than a year’s time.
Matt Mervis, who played at Tennessee among other places, was named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Year on Monday. He made the second squad which was odd because he led the entire minors in RBI and was third in home runs. But it’s still cool for a Cub to be thought of that highly and especially one who came out of nowhere pretty quickly.
Stats of the Week
Alexander Canario is one of the most exciting prospects in the system. From the first day he arrived in the Quad Cities on August 1 of 2021 to finishing this year at AAA, I found him nothing but exciting and I don’t know how people continue to look at the 22-year-old and not think that he’s going to be a star. I thought Morel was going to be an excellent player and I might’ve been the only person on that hype train a year ago. But we’ve seen with Canario this year is that he advances and adapts, advances and adapts. He moves up to a level and it takes him a few weeks to get used to it and then he just dominates. And I don’t think there’s anybody that can carry a club quite like him. If not for an ankle injury this year, he might’ve hit 40 home runs and driven in 100, although he came pretty close.
The Cool Kids Are in Town
The Cubs brought in several of their top prospects to Chicago the past few days to get in a little camp where they got to know the ballpark and some of the coaches this weekend. Some of them even made a stop at Obvious Shirts.
About half of them are going to find their way to Arizona either today or tomorrow to get ready for the Arizona Fall League. It’s a cool gesture to stop off in Chicago because most of these guys are going to have a chance to go to Wrigley in the next calendar year. Hopefully it’ll help ease the transition to the big league club when their time comes. The fact that there’s 14 of them, that’s quite a few. I don’t know if all of them will make it in the next year, but definitely in the next two years we could see a huge flood of prospects. Perhaps the coolest person on the list to see was Darius Hill. If the Cubs do not protect Hill in the Rule 5 Draft, he’s as good as gone. Somebody’s going to take him.
The Cubs Fall Instruct squads have been playing against each other all week. Due to the lack of pitchers ready to pitch in a game, the coaches have been pitching as well as using hitting machines in game settings. I’m not putting too much stock in the stats Arizona Phil has put out because of that. Still, I am curious to see who’s been having a good camp so far.
*Reggie Preciado had a HR one game
*Nick Hull, who pitched some at Myrtle Beach, has been vicious in two outings and has not allowed a run.
*Kevin Valdez threw 2 scoreless with 4 Ks. He was promoted midseason from the DSL to Mesa.
*Michael Arias topped him with 5 Ks in two frames.
*Brody McCullough, Brandon Birdsell, and Frankie Scalzo combined to throw five innings of no-hit ball.
*Erbin Jacque, an OF from the DSL hit an inside-the-park dinger and then went 2-for-2 Saturday
*Nazier Mule has been hitting doubles but is not pitching in this camp
*Grant Kipp has also had two scoreless outings
*And David Avitia, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2021 debuted after being a grad assistant coach at Grand Canyon this spring where he got to coach his younger brother 2021 Cubs pick pitcher Daniel Avitia.
*Cristian Hernandez went 2-for-3 Friday
*Pedro Ramirez was spotted playing CF
*Raino Coran has also had a hit every game
*Mason McGwire debuted throwing 1 inning with 2 Ks and 1 unearned run
*James Triantos and Moises Ballesteros both had good days on Saturday
*Frankie Scalzo also has thrown 2 scoreless outings
Pics of the Week
Let’s go to Rich out in Arizona!
Video of the Week
Speaking of Chicago, you need to check out this drone footage that basically gives you a tour of Wrigley Field and the surrounding facilities. It’s amazing! Thanks to my older brother Mark for sending me the link. It’s odd because he’s a huge Cardinals fan.
Homer of the Week
Congratulations to the Seattle Mariners and their fans on making the postseason! It was a 21 year playoff drought and I hope they do well in the postseason and knock the Yankees out if they play them. I really don’t care who wins the American league as long as it’s not the Yankees or Astros… But I’m afraid it will be one of them.
Jam of the Week – Rocktober is Here!!!
One of my favorite records of the decade of the 2000s was an album by the super group Them Crooked Vultures which featured Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme on guitar and vocals, Dave Grohl on drums, Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones on bass, and Eleven guitarist Alain Johannes on guitar. It’s one of my favorite all-time records and I saw them perform this week at the Taylor Hawkins tribute. I just love the Arabic melodies in the song and the fact that it rocks so hard yet Josh Homme doesn’t ever scream when he sings. And I love that about all his records whether it’s Them Crooked Vultures or Queens of the Stone Age.