South Bend Development Coach Alex Wright, Pitching Coach Tony Cougoule, and pitcher Riley Martin – Picture by Todd Johnson
It has been an exciting first year at North Side Bound for Greg Huss, Greg Zumach, and myself! As we get ready to move into our second year, today is a day to reflect back on some of our own favorite articles we wrote here over the past 12 months at North Side Bound.
There were no requirements for each of us to pick from. It could be something we just really liked writing about and not necessarily click driven, but one we enjoyed ourselves – a passion post per say.
Each of us picked our own favorite three.
Click on the arrow or name to see what posts each of us picked!
I’ve written hundreds of articles about Cubs prospects over the last decade or so, and this might have actually been the one I had the most fun putting together and the one I’m most proud of. Sitting down and talking to Cubs Co-Hitting Coordinator, Steven Pollakov, was an absolute joy and digging into the brain of a guy like that is absurdly valuable.
2. Complete Hitters: Prospects That Make Contact, Get On Base, and Hit For Power
You guys know by now that I love compiling statistics and using them to identify top performers in the system. Last offseason, I did just that to put together an article and this was the final product. I identified the only three prospects in the organization that met certain contact, power, and on-base stats. Those prospects were none other than Jared Young, Chase Strumpf, and Matt Mervis.
3. What’s Going on in My Head: DJ Herz, Prospects in the Majors, MLB Draft
I put together a decent amount of pieces like this over the course of the season. Mid-Week Buzzes, articles about what has been going on in the system recently while throwing in my thoughts and opinions. This one was my favorite of the year simply because it incorporated future Cubs prospects by way of the draft, current Cubs prospects (Herz), and former Cubs prospects playing in the bigs.
- “Cade is a Bad Man”: A Behind the Scenes Breakdown of how the Cubs Landed Cade Horton
It was an unbelievable privilege to speak with Dan Kantrovitz and other members in the Cubs scouting department about how the Cubs landed Cade Horton. It was a surprise pick to all of us, but the Cubs drilled down on Cade Horton. They see serious upside in the young righthander.
- System on the Rise: Behind the Scenes with Five Cubs Starters
We saw the pitching explode within the system last season and prior to the start of spring camp, I was able to connect with several players to get insights into what they were working on. I hope to bring you similar caliber of details this offseason.
- Nelson Velazquez is Breaking Out
This was one of my first deep dives and it involved watching footage from 2019 and comparing it to different points during 2021 and touching base with hitting experts throughout the league. It is just a piece I’m very proud of.
1. Grading the last 10 IFA Classes
This pick was not really about the post, it was really about building the database of IFA classes that I needed to do the analysis to then write the article. I take a big interest in the IFA signing period as I like to research who the next big breakout might be and they tend to come via International Free Agency.
2. Why Does Kantrovitz Takes Risks with High School Pitching? Simple Answer – Infrastructure
This piece came together pretty quickly in on a walk after supper. For the past three or four seasons, the South Bend Cubs would employ a new tech guy every year. It’s a lonely job for that person during the game as they filter data during the game. That simple three camera setup has now evolved into 2 or 3 times that many cameras. Anyway, when I would get to the ballpark to take pictures, I would always watch the side sessions of pitchers and talk to the pitching coach, development coach, and tech guy. It was the culmination of the evolution of the Cubs’ tech breakthrough. It was a lot of fun seeing what goes on and how pitching development has changed the past five years.
3. What Is the Development List?
As the “Tuesday Transactions” guy, this is usually the most common question I have gotten the past two summers since it was implemented at the beginning of the 2021 season. After seeing how it was used in South Bend, that behind-the-scenes viewpoint hopefully gave some insight into why the Cubs were placing players on the list and what they do while they were on there.
We have some interesting things coming up in year two!
We will kick that off in a big way in a couple of weeks with our newest prospect lists!
We will be adding to our staff, too! If you are interested, please inquire to NorthSideBoundMail@gmail.com .