Alexander Canario – Picture by Tribuna Central Noticias

Winter Ball

Mr. Alexander Canario debuted in the Dominican Baseball League this week playing for the Aguilas and he is already flashing big power. He had a homer and a double in his first two games. In addition, his defense is shoving as well. In the videos below, his ability to get a baseball is seen along with his powerful arm. That would look pretty good in Wrigley!

On Friday, Rich Biesterfeld announced that Cole Roederer would be playing in the Australian Baseball League this winter. That should give Cole a good head start on 2023 where he might start the year back at Tennessee for a while.

AFL News

I am starting to get a little nervous because Brennen Davis has not played for well over a week now. He last played on October 10 and today is the 23rd. Meanwhile, the other Cubs in the AFL have been busy while Brennan has been on the bench.

On Monday, Owen Caissie went  1-for-3 and he was the only Cub in action. On Tuesday, several Cubs got in the game. Matt Mervis went 1-for-3 while BJ had a 1-for-4 night. Pitcher Sheldon Reed threw a rough inning, but was able to work out of it and not allow a run. And like clockwork, Bailey Horn threw 2 IP with 2 Ks and he has yet to allow a run all fall. On Wednesday, Riley Martin threw 2 scoreless  IP with 4 Ks to get his ERA down to 3.52. Zac Leigh continues to have a Jekyll and Hyde fall. He’s either amazing or he gets roughed up. Wednesday saw him go 1.2 IP with 2 runs to raise his ERA to 5.68. 

Come Thursday, Owen Caissie was back in the lineup as he went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI as the leadoff hitter and Matt Mervis had a 2-for-4 night with 1 RBI, to raise his average to .290. No Cubs played at all on Friday afternoon.

Saturday was Owen Caissie’s night as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a HR while driving in 4. Mervis, on the other hand, went 2-for-4 as well but did not drive in anyone. Matt is now hitting .314 and Owen is up over .240 now. Meanwhile, Sheldon Reed gave up a run in 1.1 IP but struck out three while Bailey Horn did his usual scoreless thing over 2 innings.

The league is officially halfway over and will end in three less than three weeks with an All-Star game and a championship.

In addition, Matt Mervis made Baseball America’s “Hot List” this past Monday for his performance in Arizona. Here’s what they had to say.

The Scoop: Signed as an undrafted free agent after the five-round 2020 draft, Mervis scuffled in 2021 but emerged a new man after overhauling his swing in the offseason. This year, he climbed three levels and crunched 36 home runs while leading the minor leagues in extra-base hits. This week, he showed off his power in spades. Two of his three home runs came in the same game and were absolutely destroyed. A third showed off his pure strength when it went out despite not being hit as flush as the previous two. His four homers lead the AFL.

Great News of the Week

JP Wheat has begin throwing in his rehab from TJS.

Pics of the Week

I love these pics from Rich Biesterfeld of newcomers Juan Bello and Wilber Rodriguez, two possible breakouts for next year.

Video of the Week

One of my highlights of the summer was watching all the young Cubs take batting practice before games in Beloit, the Quad Cities, Peoria, and Appleton. Here’s some of Owen Caissie from this week who looks like he’s put on a little weight in his upper half.

Rule 5 Draft Coming Up Quick

There are 3 weeks and 4 days until teams have to have their list of players to be added to the 40-man to avoid being taken in the Rule Five Draft. The Cubs have close to 70 names eligible for the Draft and there’s no way they can protect all of them. That’s going to be one of the biggest storylines of November is just exactly who the Cubs are going to protect. Some of those players are set to be minor league free agents like Yonathan Perlaza and I would not be surprised to see the Cubs protect him and I would not be surprised to see the Cubs let him walk considering their outfield depth. However, a switch hitting outfielder with power is not something you see every day. The Cubs would have to add him immediately after the World Series ends or he walks. We will keep you posted as that date draws near.

Defenders Logos

One of the cool things from this past couple weeks I have not talked about is a promotion between MiLB and Marvel Entertainment called “Defenders of the Diamond.” Both South Bend and Iowa are participating and they have some pretty cool hats that I may have to invest in..

Some Sad News

Pitcher Kelvin Feliz retired at 21 Years of age this week. He was rostered all summer at Myrtle Beach but never threw one single pitch. Good luck to him in his future endeavors.

Awards Week Coming Up

Greg Huss, Greg Zumach, and I put together five awards we will be handing out this week. There will be one every day – make sure to check those out as Greg Huss put them together before his wedding and honeymoon!

I have been resting up and getting ready for when the World Series ends after which trades can begin, free agency starts, and all hell breaks loose. Most of the stuff that you’ve been reading the past few weeks was pre-written. I’ve taken some time off from writing the past three weeks other than “The Weekly” and I’m getting some good ideas for some articles for late fall and this winter. 

For those of you who follow my baseball card making hobby, this week I was able to make some cool templates from the 80s, 90s, and early 00s, and 20s from Topps to expand my template collection. I will have some for you next week in a Cards of the Week segment.

We are officially less than a month away from the position breakdown series that starts around Thanksgiving. I need to get that series going ahead of time.

Jam of the Week

Jeff Beck is just amazing! Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld is not too shabby either! This is one of my all-time favorite instrumentals.