DJ Herz – Picture by Todd Johnson
The winter meetings are taking place in San Diego this week and maybe we will finally see the Cubs make a move or two. The Cubs might be filling a spot on the bench or getting a key cog for their every day lineup. At some point, the player movement dam that is clogged will burst and a whole bunch of signings should begin.
There will be two events this week that we will be covering at North Side Bound. The first one takes place Tuesday night around 6:30 PM when Major League Baseball will hold its first ever draft lottery. The Cubs do have an extremely small chance of getting the top spot at 1.10%. Odds are they will land at the 12 spot where they have a 64% chance of landing.
Poll of the Week
The other big news coming up this week will be the Rule 5 Draft. There will be a major league phase and a minor league phase. I would not be surprised to see the Cubs draft a backup outfielder or a relief pitcher, some of them I covered a couple weeks ago. In the minor league phase, expect the Cubs to go looking for some help at Iowa to fill in a few gaps, or to provide depth for the major league club in terms of starting pitching along with some more lefty relievers.
The News of the Week
Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reported this week that Brennen Davis was pulled from the Arizona Fall League for a different reason than first reported. The initial statement was general soreness. A different answer arrived this week as “a stress reaction” which is more bone related than previously thought. That puts quite a different outlook on Davis’ chances to help the ballclub in the spring.
In that same article, the two writers also discussed the offseason development plans for recent draft picks Cade Horton, Jackson Ferris, and Nazier Mule.
For Horton, he will be working on incorporating a changeup and a curve to go with his plus-plus slider and mid 90s fastball. There was a caveat that no timetable was placed as to when Horton would complete the task, just that he was working on developing them.
As for Jackson Ferris, the Cubs are working on beefing up the velocity of the curve to adjust the power and shape to make it work better in concert with his 93-95 mph fastball and plus slider. In addition, physical condition is a key part of Ferris’ plan this winter as he gets ready for a 132 game season.
As for Mule, Sharma and Mooney wrote:
As with most prep draftees or international signings, the priority is building up the body rather than focusing on the repertoire or pitch shape. As long as he wants to play on the offensive side and it doesn’t impede his pitching development, Mulé will be allowed to do so.
Some Cool News on Kristin Call
Baseball America named Myrtle Beach Pelicans GM Kristin Call as their “Minor League Executive of the Year.” BA said:
“Now in her 10th year in the Pelicans’ front office, Call has built a reputation on work ethic, leadership and a keen eye for marketing. Just a year since her promotion to general manager, that reputation is only growing. Baseball America has named her Minor League Executive of the Year.”
Congrats to Kristin!!!
The Cubs also continued their profiling of minor league players this week. They dropped a video on DJ Herz. I love how he embraced the Herzday moniker in the video and you can also see a tweet from yours truly in there as well.
Strangely enough, MLB Pipeline put out an article this week on each team is most tradable prospect. I don’t agree with trading away this prospect, but they chose Owen Caissie. Here’s what they wrote about what skills Caissie has to offer other teams.
Caissie fits the classic right-field profile with his well-above-average raw power and plus arm strength, and he batted .254/.349/.402 with 11 homers as a 19-year-old in High-A. Part of the Yu Darvish trade with the Padres in December 2020, he ranks as the fifth-best outfield prospect in Chicago’s system, behind Top 100 prospects Pete Crow-Armstrong, Brennen Davis and Kevin Alcantara and 37-homer slugger Alexander Canario.
Cubs on Deck Episode 2
Greg Huss dropped episode #2 of “Cubs on Deck” with fellow North Side Bounder Greg Zumach as co-host this week where they touched on a number of topics including prospect lists and the Rule 5 Draft.
In addition to the Rule Five and MLB draft news, we will continue with our position series as we look at second base this week. On Friday, the Five Series will be back with a look at Owen Caissie, ironically. I will also see what other news the week brings.
Cards of the Week
Let’s stick with the DJ Herz theme. These are a few late model Topps templates and the pictures were taken by the South Bend Cubs.
Position Ranking Series Links
5 Series Links
Album of the Week
This is new.
I thought I would stretch out the “Jam of the Week” this winter to focus more on albums that opened my ears in my youth. This week, let’s start with the album that started Peter Gabriel embracing new sonic technology. The LP was originally released as just Peter Gabriel, which was his third eponymous LP of the same name. It is unofficially become better known as “Melt.”
Anyway, the album is one of the greatest headphone records of all time. One unique distinction is that there are no cymbals on any of the tracks. So, drummers Phil Collins and Jerry Marotta had to create unique patterns that incorporated African and tribal rhythms that took the songs to different sonic places. In addition, engineer Hugh Padgham and Producer Steve Lillywhite would take the style of how they recorded drums to other major records of the 80s including those by Genesis, Phil Collins, The Police, and U2.
My favorite track is “I Don’t Remember.” It is a sonic masterpiece! It is also the first time I heard bassist Tony Levin, formerly of King Crimson, use an instrument called a Chapman Stick to create rhythm sounds in place of the bass.