Cade Horton – Picture by Todd Johnson

I’m not ready to write this post. I wasn’t ready to write yesterday’s article wrapping up the first half. Needless to say, the season is going too fast.

And that is usually the case every single year as the second half kicks off today. With four full season affiliates and three complex teams, we have our hands full here at North Side Bound covering them. So much so that the time just tends to fly. There are a lot of things coming up that we are going to keep an eye on from now through the end of the season.

These are not in any order.

1. PCA

PCA is very close to heading to Iowa. And once he gets there, everybody and their brother is going to be sitting on pins and needles to see how he does, to see how he adjusts, and to see how he thrives, all to see when he is ready for Chicago.

2 The Draft

The draft will be here very shortly. In fact, it’s just a little over two weeks away. I am still having a hard time believing that the guy that I want for the Cubs to take is still anchored in the back of the first round. Brock Wilken is still my guy for the Cubs to take. Mind you, that’s probably a longshot, but I think he is the most pro ready bat in that portion of the draft.

3. Trade Deadline

The trading deadline is about five weeks away and it looks like the Cubs are on the verge of being buyers. And that could take on several different forms. They could buy major league talent that they would use just as a rental for this year to help get them to the playoffs. They could also go and find major league talent that is locked up for a couple of years that they probably will have to pay a little steeper price to acquire. 

4. Derniche

Derniche Valdez it’s gonna be fun to keep an eye on down in the Dominican especially after his two home run and seven RBI day last week. He added another dinger Tuesday to give him 3 in 10 games.

5. MiLB Postseason

Playoff races in the second half are a lot of fun to watch. We could see the same thing that happened last year in South Bend take place again. All that needs to happen is a bunch of studs come up from Myrtle Beach and they just go on a run again. That could happen with Moises Ballesteros, Felix Stevens, and a few pitchers.

6. Transactions

Promotions are going to be fun to watch in the second half because we don’t know the mix of the draft class yet as well as who could get traded. Will the draft be mostly college guys, will it be a mix, or will the Cubs go with a lot of prep players, who would spend most of their time in Arizona? The mix of new players is going to be interesting.

7. Lists

Prospect lists are going to be quite the thing in the second half. We will have our own all next week. MLB Pipeline will come out with theirs after the draft and I’m pretty sure that Prospects Live and Future Stars Series’ Joe Doyle will also have a new list along with Keith Law and Kylie McDaniel. It will be interesting how ours compares with theirs.

8. New Guy Profiles

Draft profiles will be rolling out about three to four a week for several weeks. Once a player signs, I’ll do a profile and I hope to have them done by Labor Day but sometimes events happen that take precedence. It was a lot of fun learning about each player the Cubs took last year.

9. Drew Gray Moves Up

Drew Gray will be heading to Myrtle Beach. The question is not if, it is when. I know the Cubs are keeping a close eye on him out in Mesa but once he gets to four innings, he’s probably good enough to come to Myrtle Beach. I’m thinking at some point in July that he is going to arrive in the Carolina League. It also will be fun seeing him pitch with his high school teammate Jackson Ferris.

10. The AFL

The Arizona Fall League is always a fun thing to watch as Cubs prospects go there for different reasons. Some go for the experience of playing against better competition, while others go for getting a head start on next year. Others may be changing positions, and some others might be working on new pitches, or trying to improve them, or hitters are working on their batting stance or approach. It’ll be interesting to see who the Cubs send this year. My bet right now is on PCA for sure and after that, we will see. I’ll have a post on that at some point in August.

11. Surprise Performances/Breakouts.

There are going to be breakout performances in the system just as there were in the first half. Most of them are going to come at the complex league levels and possibly Myrtle Beach or South Bend. Sometimes, these things can happen in Tennessee. But I’m pretty pumped to see some guys take it up another notch in their development and see someone take off that we didn’t see coming. It is always fun to follow.

12. The Bad Stuff

It’s part of the game, but injuries do happen, and sometimes those injuries change the fortunes of careers and sometimes they’re just a pitstop on the way to the majors. As well, not everybody who is currently a Cub will be a cub throughout the season, as there will be cuts or releases from Mesa all the way up to Iowa. You never know. And with the Cubs possibly being buyers, they will most likely cull from their deep pool of outfielders and starting pitchers to make a deal.

I will be back tomorrow with a first half all-star team and the players of the first half tomorrow morning.