Picture of James Triantos by Todd Johnson

On Friday this week, the school year will be complete. I will be coming home and taking a few days off to learn how to do nothing again. It happens every year. I’m a little ground down this year as I’ve battled allergies the past week as well as going to several games in Beloit as well as teaching. I’m excited for summer to get here because I have some ideas to flush out on several posts about several prospects and that will give me the time to do so along with getting ready for my ten rock mock in early June,

As for this week…

MLB Pipeline released an article about the top prospect find for each organization. For the Cubs, they picked Matt Mervis. That was a good sign as a nondrafted free agent in 2020 in what was the five round draft. Had there been more rounds, Mervis would likely have been taken on day two. Here is what Pipeline said about Mervis.

Matt Mervis, 1B – A priority free agent for several clubs after going unselected in the shortened five-round 2020 Draft out of Duke, Mervis responded to an aggressive Cubs pitch and signed with them for $20,000. He has the best combination of power and contact among Chicago’s prospects and led the Minors with 78 extra-base hits, 210 total bases and 119 RBIs in 2022. Called up in early May, he went 9-for-36 (.250) in his first nine games and smacked his first big league homer on Tuesday against Cristian Javier.

One could easily make the case that the last two full drafts that the Cubs have nailed the 15th round pick. In 2022, they took a Haydn McGeary out of Colorado Mesa. He’s just been outstanding this year as someone who can hit for average and power.

The other guy you could have several bullet points laid out on the whiteboard would be BJ Murray who are the Cubs took in the 2021 draft. He has been on a tear this month and will probably be the hitter of the month in the Cub system. He was a 3rd baseman at Florida Atlantic and was originally born in the Bahamas. I’ll have more on BJ later this week.

Picture Gallery

Here are several pics I took this week off in Beloit of some South Bend Cubs.

Card of the Week

EXST News 

We’re seeing lots of names pop up of guys that have been rehabbing out in Arizona in extended spring training box scores over at The Cub Reporter. Zac Leigh has been seen several times in this week saw the return of Scott Kobos. As well, Ed Howard has been playing steadily for the past three weeks and should be nearing the completion of his rehab. Where he goes is going to be quite intriguing. Will he go to Myrtle Beach where it’s a little bit warmer? Or will he pick up where he left off with South Bend.? And, what position is he going to play or will he be playing a mixture?

The Future of EXST

Baseball America put out a really interesting article about how extended spring training has outlived its usefulness in the new minor-league season system. The main gist of the article is that the players are now being paid, and they should be playing games that matter rather than the old sky style Style of games where things don’t really count. BA said, “Extended spring training remains professional baseball’s version of a witness protection program.”

The article went on to suggest that it’s possible that rookie league could be split into two seasons, a spring and summer campaign. I like that idea is it almost makes it as the spring campaign schedule would be more like having, a short season class a team followed by a rookie league team. Because most of the guys are doing well and extended spring training end up in Myrtle Beach in June or July. The article came to a close by saying, “With no financial benefit, MLB teams no longer have a convincing reason to stick with the current format.”

True, very true.

Draft News

Prospects Live updated their top 400 draft prospects this week. Sitting  at number 13 was none other than Catcher Blake Mitchell, a high schooler from Sinton, Texas. There are lots of prep players on the rise on this list, and I am curious to see how many more will continue to rise as the showcases come around next month.

MLB Pipeline Mock Draft

In the latest iteration of pipelines’ mock draft, they had the Cubs taking Rhett Lowder out of Wake Forest. I could go for that as he is top 10 material and probably the third best college arm in the draft. If he’s there, that would be hard to pass up as he is probably better than Cade Horton who the Cubs took at seven last year. That’s just how deep this year‘s class is.

Jam of the Week

Summer is close, time to roll down the car windows, cruise around, and crank the ultimate stereo tester of a song – Panama by Van Halen!