Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Fingers crossed that the mid-50s weather holds out today, as we might get to take the kiddo to the zoo.

  • Patrick Mooney profiles the Cardinals’ organization, standing in stark contrast to the Cubs’ organization over the last 10 years, in a way that will make you respect the Cardinals, and then feel depressed for doing so. In the piece, a reminder in the form of a sobering quote from GM Jed Hoyer: “From Day 1, we’ve been staring at the same picture. It’s a minor-league system that was devoid of pitching prospects. Its upper levels aren’t producing the depths that we need. It’s not a problem we’re going to fix this offseason. We’re going to do our best and spend our money as wisely as possible this offseason to improve it, but organizationally it’s a three-, four-, five-year project. It’s drafting pitchers. It’s trading for pitchers. It’s signing pitchers. I guess you never feel like you have enough pitching depth.”
  • Keith Law chatted on a variety of subjects, as he does, and touched on some bits relevant to the Cubs: (1) Keith saw Paul Blackburn (Cubs second supplemental first round pick in 2012) twice in the AZL, and said he looked like a back-of-the-rotation type, with velocity around 93 mph; (2) Keith likes the Scott Baker and Scott Feldman signings (much like Sahadev said on the most recent podcast, who would you rather have: Ervin Santana, or Scott Baker AND Scott Feldman for the same money? When viewed through that lens, the Cubs played this one just right); (3) On those signings, Law says, “figure one of them works out and becomes trade bait in July”; (4) reworking Brett Jackson’s swing is the right thing to do, and the only way he’ll make it in the bigs; and (5) Matt Szczur is the next Cubs prospect who needs a reworked swing, because he barely looks like a big league 4th outfielder at this point (to Law).

  • Brett Jackson isn’t thrilled about knowing he’s going to open 2013 at AAA, but he’s using the offseason to work on the things that hampered his game when called up to the bigs in late 2012. He’s working hard on his approach, and plans to be back in Mesa by January. Hopefully his unsuccessful call-up, which included a 49% K-rate, showed him the things he needs to work on, much in the way that Anthony Rizzo’s unsuccessful 2011 debut helped him going into the offseason.
  • More on new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer, who’s already started to help the Cubs by working with Jackson and Darwin Barney in Mesa this week.
  • For you early draftniks, Baseball America has released its top college prospects and top high school prospects lists for the 2013 Draft. They are subscription-only content, but the names at the top – given that there’s still an entire season of amateur baseball to be played before the draft – shouldn’t surprise you: Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier at the top on the high school side, Mark Appel, Sean Manaea, and Ryan Stanek at the top on the college side. Sure, the Cubs could be choosing from among those five when June rolls around, but it’s still way, way, way too early to say. Sorry – I know that’s deeply unsatisfying to some of you, but it’s true. Far too many things can change between now and then to make any kind of credible predictions. But at least you know some of the top names to follow.

  • An interesting take on why Sammy Sosa’s Hall of Fame candidacy isn’t going to get much of a fight. In short, he doesn’t have a strong sabermetric case, so those folks won’t be all about him, and he doesn’t have a great “traditional” case, because, although he’s got the big homer totals, he’s also got the steroid cloud.
  • NSBB is crowd-sourcing a top 30 prospect list, and you can participate here. In some ways, this kind of process nets the most reasonable version of a top 30, because it is distilled by dozens of opinions, and it comes from folks who tend to know their own prospects well.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the rash of extensions lately, with David Wright and the Mets being the latest.

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