Cade Horton – Picture by Todd Johnson

It was a week of awards here at North Side Bound as we released our Hitter of the Year, Starting Pitcher of the Year, and Reliever of the Year. Owen Caissie, Cade Horton, and Luke Little pretty much swept all three categories.

Meanwhile at Minor League Baseball…

Owen Caissie was named to the First Team All Minor League squad! That’s a pretty high achievement for a guy who began the year in AA at just 20-years-old. It’s hard to imagine that he’ll begin 2024 in Iowa at 21 and he could be in Chicago before his 22nd birthday if he gets off to a strong start.

Pete Crow-Armstrong also won the Defensive Player of the Year award for all of Minor League Baseball. It’s pretty cool that he was named the top defender over shortstops and catchers and third basemen.

Horton and PCA were also named to the Second Team All Minor League squad and one has to begin to wonder just exactly where those three are going to rank again heading into 2024. It’s clear there are going to be one, two, and three on most Cubs lists. Where they fall in the top 50 or 60 guys is gonna be extremely interesting and I would not be surprised to see both Horton and PCA in the top 15 or 20.

Good News of the Week

Nazier Mule was spotted by Arizona Phil taking BP and doing some shortstop stuff but not pitching. It’s good that he’s back now and beginning working towards the 2024 season. The two-way player should debut as a Cub in 2024. At this point, it’s unclear where he should begin his career. There are several options that could happen. Most of his placement is going to be dependent upon what he does, and how he does, this off-season. We could see him start the year in extended spring training and head to Myrtle Beach later. Or maybe that bat is advanced enough to start out at Myrtle Beach. If he’s going to pitch, I’d like to think that Mesa might be the best landing spot so the Cubs could keep an eye on him, but he’s probably not going to have a hefty workload coming off of Tommy John. It’s gonna be one of the top storylines to follow this winter and next spring.

AFL News

At first, Alexander Canario was slated to be in the Arizona Fall League, but as a legacy player in the Dominican, he is heading back home to play for the winter. I am expecting big things this winter from him, in terms of dingers, and I just hope that he avoids injury and is all set to possibly make the opening day roster next year.

With Canario heading back to the Dominican, Christian Franklin took his spot in Mesa on the Solar Sox. Carter Trice was also added to the roster as a third string catcher. The former infielder from Old Dominion and North Carolina State was taken by the Cubs in the 12th round this summer and has been working on converting to catcher and he is also going to be one of the top storylines to follow next spring.

On the field in the Arizona Fall League, the big story of the week was the bat of James Triantos, who went 6-for-12 this week. Kevin Alcantara also had a mammoth home run for which he will earn the bat flip of the week. Franklin hit .273 on the week with a double and an RBI. As for the pitchers, it did go well except for Adam Laskey who pitched 1 scoreless frame with 2 Ks. And I’m going to leave it at that.

In instructs, Zyhir Hope seems to be stealing all the headlines in Arizona Phil’s write ups for home games. Miguel Olivo is also another guy who seems to be coming on strong the second half of the year. The former shortstop has moved to the outfield and he even threw out a runner this week.

Draft Thoughts

I looked at a couple of mock drafts this week and I liked what I saw for possibilities for the Cubs at 17. Unlike last year where I was totally fixated on Brock Wilken of Wake Forest, I am pretty wide-open this year, but there are some really good pitchers that should be available in the middle of the first round, including Thatcher Hurd from LSU via UCLA, Josh Hartle from Wake Forest, and Gage Ziehl who the Cubs took out of high school in the 11th round in 2021. Instead, he went to the University of Miami in Florida. There’s a long way to go and a lot of things for me to do to get ready. The draft lottery will be held in early December at the winter meetings

Coming up on North Side Bound

I am going to take some time off starting today after a busy year. I’m going to go and recharge my mental batteries. I am physically fine. I just had a busy summer pretty much writing twice a day and now I’m ready to write zero times a day for the next four weeks and then we’ll see where to go from there. I’m just going to focus on teaching and doing some things around the house. Thank you for always reading! For those of you that have reached out to me on Twitter the past month, thanks! I will talk to you when I talk to you. 

Jam of the Week

Here’s one of the most underappreciated gems of the 80s, the Kinks with “Do It Again!”