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Heading into the 2012 season, improving the Minor League coverage here at Bleacher Nation was one of my top priorities. The Cubs’ Minor League teams, the Draft, and the Cubs’ top prospects have always been important, but, with change afoot in the organization, they may never have been as important as they are now.

But, I knew my own limitations. I know a fair bit about the Cubs’ Minor League operations and the prospecting game, but it’s not my forte. And, in the spirit of providing the best Cubs’ coverage, I wanted to bring in a real expert to join the BN team (which, like, was just me) and cover the Minor Leagues.

So I put out the call for a Minor League writer, and, after a multiple-week process, I think we all just landed someone who is as good as it gets: Luke Blaize.

The caliber of applicants for the position was extraordinary (going through them and making the necessary decisions may have been the most difficult thing I’ve yet done at BN – the applicants were that good), and I once again thank all who applied.

At the end of the process, it was clear to me that Luke was the man for the job.

You will hopefully recognize Luke as “that guy who always says thoughtful stuff about Cubs Minor Leaguers in the comments,” as he’s been a valuable member of the community here for a long time now. When he wasn’t teaching us a thing or two here, he was writing excellent pieces for Cubbies Crib as the Minor League guy there for over a year. Indeed, Luke has stood out to me for some time now as the pre-eminent Cubs Minor League writer. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a writer by trade, either.

I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Luke to what I can actually now call “the team.” He’ll be the “Minor League Editor” here at BN, and, as his title suggests, Luke is going to be our Minor League guru – our Jason McLeod, as it were. When the season rolls around, Luke will offer daily coverage of the Cubs’ Minor League teams, and he’ll also be offering thoughtful analysis, prospect introductions, and more, from time to time.

Luke will be around here in the comments, as usual, but you should also follow him on Twitter – @ltblaize.

Congrats, and welcome, Luke.

  • CubFan Paul

    This is so awesome. Congrats & good luck guys. Luke is da man.

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    Congrats!

  • Lokanna

    Congratulations and welcome! I look forward to the in-depth minor league coverage.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    Congrats Luke! Now be prepared to have witty responses to your every post. I’d watch out for the hippies, puppets, and goats (we bite).

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Oh and a plethora of non sequitur responses.

      • TWC

        Yeah! I love Fritos! Awesome!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          More of a Doritos guy myself, especially the taco ones.

           

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            I just had these On the Border seasoned thins they were excellent. Expecially with homemade guacamole.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Never have made guacamole.  I love the stuff, but my wife is definitely not a fan.

              • Ron

                It is super easy, buy a Concord Foods Guacamole mix, just add avacados, 3, and a fresh diced tomatoes.

          • TWC

            Well, the honeymoon is OVER!

  • Spoda17

    Awesome! Gratz look forward to the coverage. I love BN even more! Well, not that there is anything wrong with that… I mean… well, what I meant was… is that a cat in pajamas?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Naw it more bees knees

  • ty

    Always enjoy your comments Luke so keep us informed!

  • Doc Evans

    Bleacher Nation, once a small-business blog is expanding to corporate America. Sellouts! (Please sense the utmost sarcasm in that sentence).

    Congrats Luke. Brett, you got yourself a winner there!

    • SirCub

      I, for one, am more than happy with this sell-out. Hopefully Luke will end up being the Justin Timberlake to Brett’s Mark Zuckerburg. Or something like that.

      Congrats!

      • CubFan Paul

        ..we all know Timberlake through corporate force feeding but wth is Zuckerberg? Another boy-bander? That’s a man-card violation

  • TWC

    Congratulations, Luke. I look forward to reading your thoughts on Ian Stewart’s potential replacements.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not quite as down on Stewart as Kyle (who I half suspect would prefer a peg legged duck in the batting order over Stewart), but expect to hear way too much about Josh Vitters in the weeks to come.  And Junior Lake.

      And Javier Baez.

      And Jeimer Candelario.

      And Trevor Gretzky (who BA lists as a third baseman, even though I haven’t heard much about him playing third).

      And… you get the idea.

      • ty

        luke–Have I told you how much I like Vitters and Lake?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Glad to hear it, especially if you’ve been able to see them first hand.

          Unfortunately, I’m not able to see Cub prospects in person very often, so I will always welcome first hand impressions from those you at a lesser geographic disadvantage.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Whoa, do they really have Gretzky as a 3B?  Hmm.  I heard he was a bit uncoordinated…as a 1B! But it might make sense- kid was a QB, supposedly has a great arm, and if he grows into his body, the awkwardness could go away….

      • Frank

        Vitters and Lake and Baez–Oh My! Sorry–Wizard of MinorCubsLeagueOz acid flashback for a minute there . . .

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Thanks everyone, and especially Brett.  I’m very happy to be joining Bleacher Nation and am really looking forward to getting things under way.  It will take a few weeks for minor league coverage to really ramp up here, in no small part because we are still a few weeks away from the start of the season.  But feel free to ambush me on the message boards, in the comments, or on twitter (@ltblaize) any time.

     

    • die hard

      If Bull Durham was accurate depiction then you will have lots to tell us….looking forward to how your insight incites us …….congrats and best wishes

  • Cheryl

    Congrats Luke. I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff.

  • Karen P

    welcome aboard, Luke! I’m seriously excited to learn more about the minor leaguers via your posts. :)

  • TeddyBallGame17

    We know the real truth, Brett is just lookin to blaze with Blaize. Joking aside, congrats!! Look forward to even more extensive coverage to get my Cubs fix in!! Go get ‘em playa!!!

  • http://bleachernation.com DL HUYCK

    Looking forward to some in depth articles on our spects.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Congrats Luke, looking foward to reading some of your stuff.

    I know its a bit early for sure, but in the next couple months do you think you could write up your opinions on potential first round picks in this upcomming draft?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      We’ll ramp up on draft coverage after the season starts, and particularly in the month before the draft.

      If any of you see any potential draft picks in high school or college games, be sure to let us know. We can learn a lot about prospects from from the statistics, but there is no substitute for first hand accounts.

  • Cedlandrum

    I personally couldn’t be happier for you Brett. Luke is very good. I was hoping this would turn out this way.

  • hansman1982

    Congrats Luke! You will do good, at least as good as the last BN minor league writer…

    If you want some reports from the Iowa Cubs drop me a line @CasualCubsFan

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’ll put out some calls for reports on various players once the season starts, but feel free to write up your thoughts on any game you attend and put them on the message board or as a reply to the relevant game article. The more the merrier.

  • AP

    Congrats! I’m excited to spend even more time reading this website!

  • edgar

    congrats luke!!!!!!!!! when can we expect your first post?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I hope to have something up later this week.

      When the minor league season starts I’ll be writing daily features, but until then things will be a little more spread.

  • Robbo

    Great choice! I rarely have time to read all comments and instead find myslef scrolling through for a few respected commentors and Luke always has a tremendous insight for the Cubs minor leagues. Excellent addition to BN.

  • JasonB

    Excellent choice Brett. We look forward to reading your insights, Luke.

  • JK

    Congrats Luke. You are one of my favorite reads. A now you get the big marquee. That is great. Go Cubs.

  • cubsin

    Welcome, Luke! I’m now following you on Twitter. I plan to attend a few Peoria Chiefs games this year, and will let you know if I see anything that might be of interest to you and the BN readers.

    And Brett, you forgot to thank all of us who didn’t apply for the job because we knew we weren’t qualified.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In that case, thanks to you, too!

  • Katie

    Congrats Luke! You’ll need to take in some Iowa Cubs games now!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That’s going to be tough while I’m trapped on the East Coast, but that’s the nice thing about the video game industry… it seems like you’re always moving.

      I’m hoping to make it to a couple of games somewhere this year, but there’s nothing definite yet. I’ll be sure to let folks know when/where/if that happens.

  • Fishin Phil

    Congrats Luke!

    I’ve been a fan of your work on Cubbie’s Crib for a long time. Looking forward to your reports here.

  • brittney

    A great addition! I always enjoy his pieces in cubbies crib (2nd used site next to BN)

  • MichCubFan

    The one man wolf pack grows by one…

  • Cubbies4Life

    Yeah, Luke, you’ll have to come to Des Moines and meet those of us who post comments based on excitement and emotion, rather than any semblance of cold, hard fact! 32 days!!!

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Wow, way to go TEAM BN, this is definitely the feline’s sleepwear!!

  • DocWimsey

    Hey Luke, is this the year that Tony Woods finally gets it together? How’s Mike Harkey’s control coming along? Also, have you seen my Alzheimer’s meds?

    Seriously, enjoy the new gig.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    I’m pissed I didn’t get the gig. I shouldve applied.

    Congrats ;)

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