This next week is going to be a busy one here at North Side Bound. We will begin our preseason extravaganza on Monday with some predictions for statistics for hitters in the Cubs system. Tuesday will see starting pitcher stat predictions and Wednesday is all about relievers. Later in the week, we will drop our preseason All-Star team.

As for action, spring training is still going on and Javier Assad is still playing in the World Baseball Classic. He pitched well again on Friday shutting down some serious talent from Puerto Rico. At this point, Javier is probably going to be in the bullpen on opening day. 

Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter dropped a couple of recaps of some Class A action on Monday and Tuesday this week. It was good to see and read about prospects doing things and which prospects were playing for which affiliate. It’s still pretty early and the rosters are still pretty malleable. I would not put too much stock in Cristian Hernandez and Moises Ballesteros playing for South Bend or Adan Sanchez and Jefferson Rojas hitting for Myrtle Beach. It won’t be until after big league cuts that the rosters will begin to flesh themselves out for opening day.

For me the best part of those two posts were the facts that Christian Franklin and Parker Chavers are already seeing game action and doing well.

In the News

*The Marquee Sports Network announced that they will be broadcasting 40 MiLB games this season! They will also be doing the Road to Wrigley Show twice a month. I really love that show with Lance Brozdowski, Elise Menaker, and Jim Callis. Here is the whole schedule for both the games and Road to Wrigley.

*MLB Pipeline dropped an article about the best fastball in each system this week. No surprise for their selection for the Cubs are Daniel Palencia got the nod for the Cubs.

*Hayden Wesneski also drew some pub from Baseball America as one of 25 players standing out this spring training. Ons scout said of him, “He’ll be their No. 3 starter, in my opinion, by July.” That’s some pretty high praise.

*Sahadev Sharma put out this wonderful piece yesterday ($) about the possibility of Jeremiah Estrada AND Cam Sanders both making the 16-man roster. That would be so cool!

*The 2002 members of the South Bend Cubs all got their rings in a ceremony at Sloan Park. It was strange seeing them all in street clothes. 

*Owen Caissie had himself a day this week with a grandoise dinger against Great Britain but that was not the highlight of the play. Instead, it was his cheering section of Pete Crow-Armstrong and James Triantos going crazy in the stands that got all the pub! Good stuff here!

*The Cubs also signed another nondrafted free agent in lefty Christian WInston out of San Diego State and William Jessup. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-5 and should be at Myrtle Beach to start the year.

*Baseball America also dropped a full first round mock draft this week. They had the Cubs taking RHP Rhett Lowder of Wake Forest which would be an excellent selection as he is probably a top 10 pick in my book. 

*Prospect Live also dropped their new draft ranking that goes all the way to 400. That covers about 2/3 of the players that could be taken in this year’s selection process.

Picture of the Week

This pic comes from Alexander Canario’s Instagram account. No shoulder sling. No boot. He’s getting closer to doing baseball things.

Video of the Week

It was cool to see Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline talking with Cade Horton about the pitch that got him drafted,

T Shirt of the Week

As soon as this product was put on the Interwebz, I ordered myself one. I just had to have it! I cannot wait until they come out with one that is simply <drink>!

Jam of the Week

If you want to hear a one hit wonder, today’s jam is for you. If you want to hear the most perfect guitar tones and over dubbed guitar parts, this is your jam. It is Matthew Sweets classic bubblegum pop rock class “Girlfriend” that feels like it came out in 1976 rather than the early 90s. Turn it up to 11 today!

Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend – YouTube