Owen Caissie – Pic via Tennessee Smokies

At 5:30 AM tomorrow, my alarm is going to go off and this will officially begin a new school year as it will be the first day of teacher institute. This month is flying by too fast already as there are now only nine days until the complex leagues conclude their regular season. Meanwhile, South Bend and Myrtle Beach have less than a month to go as their seasons end on September 10.

The Hot List

Yesterday morning, I sat down and started perusing through the stat pages for each affiliate and sorted them for the month of August. Here is who I found that is off to a hot start this month for each team.

Iowa – Chase Strumpf hit .417 with 3 HR and 9 RBI, although, most of that came in one game. His OPS through the 11th was a God-like 1.838! He is likely to be the International League Player of the Week. In addition, Luis Vazquez has 13 RBI in August. On the pitching side of things, Shane Greene, Anthony Kay, Jordan Wicks, Caleb Kilian, Michael Rucker, and Brendon Little all have sub 2.00 ERAs for the month.

Tennessee – Yup, this is Owen Caissie. He hit .395 over the first 11 days with 3 HRs and 10 RBI. Discussions should be taking place about moving him to Iowa. When it comes to pitching, Eduarniel Nunez is scoreless after 3 outings this month. Blake Whitney is the same after 4. And Kohl has a 0.93 ERA in August.

South Bend – This is odd because Jacob Wetzel and Liam Spence have put up good numbers but only in 5 and 4 games respectively. Christian Franklin is continuing the roll he’s been on since his development list return. He’s hitting .375 with a .531 OBP and a 1.114 OPS in August. Yovanny Cruz and Frankie Scalzo both have 2 appearances and neither has allowed a run this month. While Tyler Santana has a 2.45 ERA as a starter in August.

Myrtle Beach – Pedro Ramirez is back with a vengeance since his Development List stint. This month, he’s hitting .407. Brian Kalmer has been vicious in his short time in Myrtle Beach hitting .375 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in just 8 games. Yovanny Cabrera, Starlyn Pichardo, and Luis Rujano have been getting it done on the mound in terms of ERA as the two relievers have 0.00 ERAs while Rujano is at 1.08. In fact, 8 Pelicans that have made 2 appearances or more have ERAs under 3.00 including Kevin Valdez, Koen Moreno, and Jackson Ferris while Ferris has 12 Ks in 7.1 innings.

Fernando Cruz News

Ben Badler of Baseball America dropped some video of Fernando Cruz, the Cubs supposed top IFA of 2024. 
Here is what Badler said of Cruz’s skills in a recent article on Baseball America:

Cruz is 5-foot-11 with strong hands and forearms that help him generate excellent bat speed for 16. Some scouts thought Cruz showed some swing-and-miss tendencies against live pitching, but he is able to let the ball travel deep and drive the ball with authority to right-center field or turn on pitches on the inner third for home run power to his pull side. Cruz is a plus runner and an explosive athlete at shortstop. Like a lot of young shortstops, there are times where he can play out of control, but he has the hands, range, instincts and arm strength that give him a good chance to handle shortstop long term. 

News of the Week

Owen Caissie got a nice writeup over at MLB.com. In addition to talking to Owen, Jared Banner got some words in along with Tennessee manager Kevin Graber. My favorite quote from the article came from skipper Kevin Graber because it shows how he has adapting this year with two strikes.

 “When he’s up at the plate, and he has two strikes on him, I say to our hitting coach, Rick Strickland, ‘Here comes two-strike Owen Caissie.’ Lately, especially, those two-strike situations have resulted in line drives toward the opposite-field gap, balls just finding their way through holes, mainly just getting the bat on the ball and making something happen.”

Pablo Aliendo was named to MLB Pipeline‘s prospect team of the week for his performance from August 1 through August 6.

Luis Devers was also named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for his 14 Ks in 10 scoreless frames from August 1 to August 6.

Video of the Week

This is a pretty awesome video starring Tennessee backstops Casey Opitz and Caleb Knight both sitting around Home Plate with a beer. If you’ve ever met Casey, he’s not acting in this video! It’s just who he is.

Prospect List Week

We covered three Prospect lists this week from Baseball America, Future Star Series, and MLB Pipeline. I don’t know if we’re going to get one from ESPN or The Athletic, but I highly doubt it.

Coming up on North Side Bound Next Week and This Fall

Just like last week, they’re going to be two draft pick profiles. This week we’ll see 12th round pick Carter Trice and 13th round pick Sam Armstrong. I’ve got a little piece about investing in prospects as if they were stocks and I will also take a look at who might be the Cubs top 10 prospects in 2025. That article was challenging and fun at the same time! I will be back tomorrow with the breakdown of some draft pick stats and I will break down playoff chases with four weeks to go for a class A, 5 for AA, and six for AAA. The rookie leagues both end on the 22nd.

It is usually this time of year when I start contemplating how the off-season is going to work and how much I plan on writing. At this point, I am not sure. I went back and looked at the posts from the past couple years. I jotted down some ideas that I would like to do while avoiding a few others.

Starting around Thanksgiving, I will continue to release my annual position rankings that I do once a week. I also plan on having my weekly off-season prospect profile series. My Sunday posts will not change where you get caught up on the news of the week. And other than that, I am not sure what I want to do. There might be some mail bags, there could also be some pet projects. and there could possibly be some one-off articles.

Jam of the Week

It’s only fitting that we go with The Band this week and one of the greatest songs of all time, “The Weight,” which was written by the late Robbie Robertson who passed away this week. This is from the film “The Last Waltz.”