Ben Brown – Pic via Chicago Cubs

Monday and Tuesday were a little chaotic this week due to the trade deadline. In addition, there were several promotions on the transaction Tuesday and they continued throughout the week. 

In terms of news on the field, there was some of that as well.

Both Andy Garriola and Owen Caissie were named the players of the week in their respective leagues. Garriola drove in 13 runs from the 24th through the 30th. While Caissie hit almost .500 and drove in seven in the Southern League. I am wondering if we will see either player move up a level here in the next couple of weeks.

MLB Pipeline put out an article about what prospect might be the most impactful call up here the last couple of months. For the Cubs, ironically, Pipeline selected Ben Brown as a bullpen arm the same day he went on the injured list. Brown’s injury is considered to be minor.

Brown barely pitched in his first five years as a pro because of Tommy John surgery and the pandemic, but he has developed rapidly over the last two seasons and came to Chicago from the Phillies in an August 2022 deal for David Robertson. He’s poised to help the resurgent Cubs with a mid-90s fastball and mid-80s downer curveball that have translated into a 3.81 ERA, .212 opponent average and 120 strikeouts in 85 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

Pipeline Lists

MLB Pipeline has returned Kevin Alcantara to their top 100 list. In fact, the Cubs have four guys now with PCA, Horton, Ben Brown, and Alcantara.

In an MLB Pipeline mailbag, segment, here is what Callis said about what other Cubs were close, and the system as a whole.

The Cubs system has improved more than any other in the last two years. Their organizational talent came in 22nd in our preseason 2021 rankings and should push for the top five when we update those in the very near future. They finally have a wave of pitching heading to Wrigley Field and also have a number of talented position players.

Chicago has four prospects on our current Top 100: outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong and Kevin Alcantara, right-handers Cade Horton and Ben Brown. It has even more knocking on the door, with catcher Moises Ballesteros, outfielder Owen Caissie, middle infielders Matt Shaw and James Triantos and left-hander Jackson Ferris all coming up in the discussion for next week’s Top 100. Jefferson Rojas, an 18-year-old shortstop holding his own in Single-A, has a high ceiling and could push for the Top 100 in the future.

In Other News

It was very cool to see that Trevor Clifton, who is still just 27, was picked up by the Blue Jays this week. Trevor was the Cubs MiLB Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and last pitched in the Cubs system in 2019. He would go on to the DBacks system, retired, came back in the Mexican League and was throwing darts this summer for Ottawa in the Frontier League. Good for him!

Debuts So Far

It’s weird that so many draft picks are playing now. After not having many hitters that last couple of years, the Cubs took 11 this summer and 10 of them have gotten in some action already. Here is how they are doing heading into last night.

Disclaimer – These are extremely small sample sizes, some just playing in 2 games.

Matt Shaw – .353, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1.156 OPS
Josh Rivera – .346, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1.015 OPS
Carico – not playing yet.
Rosario – .200. 1 RBI, .429 OBP
Melendez – .143 , 1 RBI
Bateman – .250, 1 RBI, 4 SBs, .350 OBP
Long – .429, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .600 OBP, 1.600 OPS
Hope – .364, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1.183 OPS
Trice – .222, .364 OBP
Kalmer – .389, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1.189 OPS
Bowser – .227, 1 RBI

Jam of the Week

Van Halen might be at the top of the list for bands that you can roll down the windows on the car, crank the stereo and press down with your right foot on the gas pedal and enjoy. Here is the perfect song to start a Saturday night off of my favorite VH album, Fair Warning. Here is “Unchained.”