The more that this week went on, the more the speed of news coming out increased. I felt by Friday I was struggling to keep up and that I thought I might have to cut some information out if a lot more news dropped on Saturday.
Thankfully, that did not happen as I was stuck in the house as we got around 5 inches of snow yesterday, my first full day on spring break
Let’s get right to the news…
These are never fun to report so let’s get them out-of-the-way first.
News broke early in the week that two-way player Nazier Mule would be undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Cubs took Mule in last year‘s draft in the fourth round, and was seen as a steal as a pitcher who could throw near 100 miles an hour and flashed a good breaking ball while also showing the ability to play shortstop. Hopefully he can have a successful surgery and follow that up with a successful rehab and be ready to go a year from now.
As for James Triantos, I’m probably not going to see him now until June with South Bend. If all goes great, I could see him up at Appleton in May, but the injury is supposed to keep him out 6 to 8 weeks. If Reggie Preciado set any precedent last year, it’s that you can come back from a knee injury the same season.
In addition, pitcher Anthony Mendez of Myrtle Beach threw just one pitch on Wednesday and had to be removed from the game according to Arizona Phil. No further injury information has come down the pike.
The Cubs also traded a veteran minor league player Esteban Quiroz to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations. I like this deal as it opens up some space for playing time for a few guys at Iowa.
The ugly part of camp rose its head yesterday as the Cubs released pitchers Trey Lang and Andricson Salvador along with catcher Fredy Montenegro and infielders Christian Donahue and Esmarly Tatis. More could be coming unfortunately. Good luck to the released players.
26-Man Roster with 3 Days Left
On Friday, Nelson Velazquez was optioned to Iowa. No surprise there since the Cubs added Bellinger. That makes that Iowa outfield lethal with Brennen Davis, Nellie, and Darius Hill – It brings back memories of 2019 in South Bend for a few games before Hill was injured.
Hayden Wesneski is now a lock for the starting rotation. And Miles Mastrobuoni has come on late since the end of the WBC to overtake Mike Tauchman as the Cubs fifth outfielder. Mastrobuoni‘s versatility also opens up a spot down in Iowa for some of the Cubs top prospects.
As well, Javier Assad looks like he’s in the mix to be a bullpen guy and Cam Sanders is still defying the odds.
Video of the Week
This comes from the Pitching Ninja and it’s nothing but sliders from Hayden Wesneski.
Catch of the Week
Owen Cassie’s defense has come a long way over the past year. The arm has always been there, but now it looks like he is taking much better routes to the ball. He made this one look easy.
The first article that got my attention this week was from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo who placed the Cubs at number 12 in their preseason farm system rankings. While Pipeline is still high on the hitters, they look towards last summer’s haul of prospects in the draft and trade deadline panning out this year. The Cubs easily be a top 10 system by mid season. Here is what they said about the system in the article.
All three of the Cubs’ Top 100 Prospects are outfielders, but the greatest strength of the system may be its pitching depth. Adding Cade Horton and Jackson Ferris via the Draft and Hayden Wesneski and Ben Brown via trades last summer may yield 80 percent of Chicago’s future rotation. International shortstops Cristian Hernandez and Derniche Valdez have two of the highest ceilings among Cubs farmhands but will need time to develop.
In addition, Pipeline put another article on Friday when they tabbed Zach Davis again as the team’s fastest prospect. No shocker there.
Arizona Phil added some more game reports this week. When he wrote about two weeks ago, it was about the two class A teams and this week was about AA and AAA. Most of the players that were sent down from the major league club saw action in both games. There’s still a lot of roster finagling to occur in the next three days before the Cubs break camp.
Last night, Phil broke out some shuffling of the rosters down in camp.
OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, infielders Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber, 1B Bryce Ball, catchers Miguel Amaya and Bryce Windham, and RHPs Samuel Reyes and Joe Nahas have been moved-down from the AAA Iowa squad to the AA Tennessee squad, OF Yohendrick Pinango and Brad Beesley, catcher Ethan Hearn, and RHP Jarod Wright have been moved down from the AA Tennessee squad to the Hi-A South Bend squad, OF Christian Franklin, C Malcom Quintero, 1B-C Miguel Fabrizio, INF Rafael Morel, LHP Chase Watkins, and RHP Gregori Montano have been moved-down from the Hi-A South Bend squad to the Lo-A Myrtle Beach squad, LHP Christian Winston and RHP Mathew Peters were moved-down from the South Bend squad to the Extended Spring Training (Mesa) group, and LHPs Jose Aquino and Joel Machado, RHPs Gleiber Morales, Starlyn Pichardo, Cristian Rojas, Jose Romero, and Tomy Sanchez, C Adan Sanchez, INF Jefferson Rojas, and OF Ismael Mena have been moved-down from the Myrtle Beach squad to the EXST (Mesa) group. Also, because of the injury to INF James Triantos (knee surgery – torn meniscus), INF Juan Mora has been moved back up to Hi-A South Bend from Lo-A Myrtle Beach.
Since my busy season, ended a couple weeks ago, I started to get more and more into draft mode. This week Baseball America shuffled the deck chairs on their top 300 ($). MLB Pipeline is still at 100 guys, but it was interesting to see the amount of movement on BA’s list including the movement of 3B Brock Wilken.
Speaking of drafts, next week at some point, Greg Zumach and I will have our five round mock Cubs draft where we each picked the first five guys we think the Cubs could take based on current rankings and evaluations. We’re pretty excited to see what the other one wrote.
Tweet of the Week
Coming Up Next Week on North Side Bound
Our preseason extravaganza continues this week with the Hitter of the Year, Starting Pitcher of the Year, Reliever of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year articles. The two Greg’s and I will comment individually on who we think is going to win each award.
On Friday this week, I will also drop the Iowa Cubs preview. I’m afraid to start writing it because a lot will change over the next three or four days as to who is on the roster. The other affiliate previews will be out on the third, fourth, and fifth of April and I will be in Davenport with South Bend on opening day on Good Friday, weather permitting!
Jam of the Week
I have been in a Foo Fighters mood all week. I’ve always liked their crunchy guitars and power pop melodies since their inception in the mid 90s. Today’s jam is the song “The Pretender.” Turn it up to 11 if you can.