The big news of the week was clearly the promotion of Alexander Canario to Chicago. His miraculous comeback turned into an onslaught with Iowa in August. He was almost the hitter of the month for the system if not for a God- like performance from Brian Kalmer.
A second headline this week was that Matt Shaw pushed into MLB Pipeline‘s top 100 prospects. That gives the Cubs a whopping six guys in their top 100 list. That makes them arguably a top-five farm system in all of baseball.
Horton Shut Down…for a While
It was all done hush-hush, but the Cubs put Cade Horton on the development list at Tennessee. Horton hit a career high in innings for a season last week. With the playoffs yet to come, and a seven game lead, the Cubs are just being cautious and probably saving him for game one as the Smokies do still have two full weeks of the regular season left to go.
Just because it did not happen on September 1 does not mean that it cannot happen a little later. The thought of Pete Crow-Armstrong coming up to Chicago has been enticing for a couple of years now. The fact that his defense and speed could have an impact in a pennant race this September still could happen. To see that to fruition, the Cubs will have to either designate someone for assignment, or just plain release a guy on the 40-man. Unlike Canario, who has a 40-man spot, PCA does not.
MLB Pipeline did pick him in an article about nine prospects who could help their team in the pennant race.
The Cubs weren’t a preseason favorite to reach the postseason, but they’re right in the thick of things with a month to play, within shouting distance of the NL Central-leading Brewers and well-positioned in what’s become a six-team dogfight for the NL’s three Wild Card spots. Chicago’s roster is pretty well stocked with veteran outfielders, but Crow-Armstrong does so many things well, it’s hard to see the Cubs not finding a way to involve him in the franchise’s first meaningful September games in several years. The 21-year-old has handled himself well (.349 OBP, seven steals) following a mid-season promotion to Triple-A, and is somebody who can immediately translate the best parts of his game — speed and outfield defense — to the big leagues. Those are invaluable skills in big games down the stretch.
Fangraphs Gives Jordan Wicks’ Fantasy Value
Over FanGraphs, they do a weekly article about guys you could possibly add to your fantasy team. This week’s post included several paragraphs about the possibility of getting Jordan Wicks for your fantasy team. They link to an article that Greg Zumach wrote here at North Side Bound a while back about Wicks’ repertoire.
On top of the changeup, his cutter (labeled as that here at FanGraphs) stood out with four swinging strikes in 12 pitches. It’s not obvious when he added the pitch in AAA but his “slider” changed in the last couple of starts so maybe the cutter was being grouped in with them. The comps on the pitch are encouraging even though its shape is between a cutter and slider.
One of the great mysteries of international free agency is the actual specific amount of data the Cubs are spending each year. We do know how much bonus pool the Cubs have in any given year, but we don’t know exactly how they “officially “spent it. The rumor is that this year the Cubs have maxed out their pool and do not have any money left. But there is another pool coming up in January and Major League Baseball put out a list of several Cubans who could be signed at the time. We do know that most of the Cubs pool for January 15 is going to go to Fernando Cruz. After that, the Cubs will have about $1.5 million left and some of these guys would be interesting signs.
Next Week on North Side Bound
The usual fare will be released the next couple of days with “The Breakdown,” transactions, and Cubs On Deck. I will also have profiles on draft picks Brian Kalmer, Nick Dean, and possibly Drew Bowser. That will leave just the free agents for the week after. I might also drop a post about, the minor league free agents that the Cubs have, and whether they should re-sign some or add a couple to the 40-man. Some interesting decisions are going to have to be made.
Jam of the Week
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…