There are going to be six games today…maybe. I don’t know if Iowa and South Bend are going to get their games in today as rain has spread all across the Midwest. I, for one, am glad I got the backyard mowed yesterday afternoon. There will be no mowing today. Just baseball.

As for the news of the week, it’s a bit of a mish-mash this week of roster moves, rankings and lists, and some cool pics from around the system.

Let’s get to it!

MLB Pipeline News

This week, Pipeline put out an article on each organization’s most talented affiliate for 2023. It was not a surprise as they picked the Tennessee Smokies. They said:

Several players who won the 2022 Midwest League championship at High-A South Bend have made the jump to Tennessee, headlined by outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Cubs’ top prospect and the consensus best defender in the Minors. Jordan Wicks, Ben Brown, Daniel Palencia and Porter Hodge give the Smokies a formidable rotation. Owen Caissie offers some of the best raw power in the system and Miguel Amaya had a strong spring as he put 2021 Tommy John surgery further behind him.

In addition, pitcher Hayden Wesneski graduated from prospect status this week and MLB Pipeline placed Pablo Aliendo in the top 30.

Roster News

It was a pretty busy week in terms of movement. We saw Nelson Velazquez and Jeremiah Estrada go up to Chicago while Javier Assad went down. Adrian Sampson was placed on the 7 Day IL while Jake Slaughter was on the temporary inactive list for a few days. Levi Jordan was activated off the Development List along with Jake Washer and Bryce Windham went on the 7 Day IL. Pitcher Eric Stout was released. 21-year-old C Dilan Ganadillo was called up from Mesa to fill in for a few days. In addition, Alexander Canario was moved from the 7 Day IL to 60 Day IL and Miles Mastrobuoni was optioned to Triple-A. Last night, Nelson Velazquez was sent down from Chicago and Brandon Hughes was pulled off the IL to Chicago.

And that’s just Iowa.

Pitchers Christian Winston and Cristian Rojas were released while catchers Yoanis Aleksandrov, Yidel Diaz, and Carlos Ramos were all sent back to the Dominican.

In Tennessee, Cole Roederer was placed on the 7 Day IL while Zach Davis was activated.

At South Bend, Bailey Reid was activated off the 7 Day IL.

Myrtle Beach did not have any moves this week. However, we could see some changes in the roster on Tuesday.

A New Prospect List Ranking

Writer Aram Leighton has a new venture called Just Baseball and this week they published their top 100 prospect list and six Cubs made the list. PCA came in at 22 and he’s only going to continue to climb the next few months. Brennen Davis was at 68 and Owen Caissie was at 76. Kevin Alcantara was next at 80 while Matt Mervis got in at 88. Hayden Wesneski, who lost his status the day after the list was published, was the last Cub at 92.

This is one of the better lists I have seen all prospect season. The only quibble I would have would be switching Alcantara and Brennen Davis. 

Thoughts on the Opening Series Last Weekend in South Bend

It was fun to get to go to an opening weekend series this year, even if it was in Davenport. I got to see a lot of practice, lots of BP, and pitching side sessions to go along with three nights of action. While it is still early to talk about some things, I did come away with some key thoughts from last weekend.

1. Kevin Alcantara is easily the best athlete the Cubs have had since they moved to South Bend. He’s like a gazelle out there. Moving up to High-A is going to be an adjustment for him, but he will figure things out in time. You just have to be patient with him while he does.

2. Brandon Birdsell is extremely deceptive. His short arm delivery makes it hard to pick up his fastball and at 95 it is usually too late.

3. I have never heard or seen a pitcher break so many bats as Luke Little did last weekend. Not one hitter totally barreled up the ball. It was like he was throwing baseballs made of concrete.

4. Haydn McGeary will be a star prospect by the end of May. The dude is a work-a-holic and takes instruction well. In addition, he’s a giant individual who is going to terrorize pitchers in the Midwest League during his brief tenure.

5. Kevin Made’s glove and arm are just amazing. SS-1 designation hereby designated.

Cards of the Week

Three weeks ago, I was dead set against making cards this year. I was not into it whatsoever.

Then as soon as the first action pics came out, I could not wait to get going. Later this morning, I will add about 30 some cards from my own pics. For this week, though, here are four cards that I made from some pics I really liked from other people.

Pics of the Week 

North Side Bound has the market cornered on photographs about the lower part of the system. With Rich Biesterfeld in Arizona, Stephanie Lynn in the Carolina League, and Me shooting shots of South Bend in the Western Division, we can fulfill a lot of your image needs. 

Both Rich and Stephanie had some great pics this week including James Triantos in his rehab, Jackson Ferris pitching, Cristian Hernandez in action, and many more.

Poll of the Week

Coming Up on North Side Bound

Greg Zumach will have Mock Draft 2.0 this week if all goes according to plan. I also plan to write about the hot starts of PCA and Owen Caissie this week and how the Cubs might use them in the next couple of years. The Breakdown will be out tomorrow while Transactions and Cubs on Deck Episode 16 will be out on Tuesday.

Jam of the Week

This week, I am rolling with the mellow and beautiful song “Wild Country” by Chris Whitley. It is just him and a steel framed guitar that makes an amazing sound and is probably tuned in some C# open tuning. In fact, his acoustic album Dirt Floor, from which this song comes, is one of my top five records of all-time.