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superdome super bowl footballThe Super Bowl is here. I care about it in the sense that everyone will be watching, and I like the idea that I’m a part of that communal experience. I don’t so much care about it in the who’s-going-to-win sense. I also like the commercials. Yes, I’m one of those.

  • Bruce Miles dominated the coverage of Kane County’s recent event, which afforded fans the opportunity to meet with some of the development executives (Jason McLeod, Brandon Hyde, for example). He’s got a full write-up, which is well worth a read. There was also a local Kane County write-up, if you just can’t get enough.
  • Obviously one of the most popular subjects of discussion this time of year is who’s going to start the year where, but McLeod wasn’t too keen on giving anything away just yet: “I don’t think that would be fair to the players yet,” McLeod said, per Miles. “We’d like them to come in and challenge each other at Spring Training. It is easy to look at the Boise roster and assume that those guys will be here because they had such a good season last year. We want our guys to come in hungry. We don’t want them to come in and say, ‘OK, I’m penciled in to this certain affiliate.’ We want them to come in and really strive to go above and beyond. We want all our players to come in and think, ‘I’m going to make that [high-A] Daytona team.’ We want them to come in hungry and challenge the guys that’s in front of them.”
  • That said, Bruce reports that McLeod indicated, tentatively, that Albert Almora would start the year at Kane County (low-A), and Jorge Soler would start at Daytona (high-A).
  • McLeod described Javier Baez as “more advanced” at shortstop at 20 years old than Starlin Castro was at 20.
  • When asked for a sleeper in the organization, Farm Director Brandon Hyde identified relief prospect Austin Reed (yes, he’s the brother of Addison). He pitched very well at Peoria last year as a 20-year-old after the Cubs converted him to relieving full-time.
  • Matt Garza is back to throwing off the mound, and – per his usual Twitter update – it sounds like the first time went well.
  • Dan Szymborski wrote a bit about the Dodgers’ financial future, and, among his thoughts, he notes that the Dodgers have $116.5 million worth of players already under contract for the 2018 season (think about that!), when those players are projected to generate all of 16 WAR.
  • college_of_coaches

    I find it interesting that Hyde chose a relief pitcher as his sleeper prospect.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      All the more sleeper-y.

    • yield51

      I only saw Reed throw once last year at Peoria. I came away thinking he looked like the best pitcher I saw that day. That is saying something since Jensen was the starter. I’m happy he is getting some love.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not convinced Reed is remaining in the bullpen permanently. There is still plenty of time for him to move back into starting.

  • Jon

    I’m slightly irritated soler is expected to start in Daytona
    It’s great for the organization, but if he started in Kane county,
    They would play on the road 20 min from my house

    • X The Cubs Fan

      I’m disappointed to I was hoping he would start in tennessee.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I expect he will head for Tennessee later in the season, but starting there would be a stretch.

        • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

          Do you think Baez may make it to the Smokies this season as well? I’m only an hour and a half away from their stadium, so I’d love to be able to see at least 2 of the big 3 play this season.

    • THEOlogical

      I’m happy he’ll start in Daytona! Can’t wait to go watch him play down here!!!

  • Blublud

    I think we are going to be suprised at a lot of the minor league placements this season. Soler to Daytona for a short stint, and probably to Tennessee by halfway point if he produces. Almora to Daytona pretty quick if he produces, and especially if Soler goes to Tennessee, then Almora can slide right into his slot. Vogelbach may be in Tennessee by years end. Watch for a lot of the Pitchers to shoot up. I don’t think the Cubs will rush anyone for the sake of rushing them, but they have no reason to hold anybody back if their talent and production allows them to moved.

    Baez, IMO, will start out in Tennessee and not Daytona. If not, I don’t expect it to take more then 100 Daytona at-bats to get him there. Interestingly, I was looking at Trout’s developments and it appears after his first full minor leagues season in 2010, in which he never played rookie ball, he started his second season in 2011in rookie ball. He then moved to AA before finishing that year with the big club. I wonder if the Cubs are thinking the same thing with Baez. I think Baez will finish 2013 in the bigs for developmental purposes unless he does something drastic to throw his development off. I really don’t think the success or failures of Lake, Valbeuna, Stewart, Watkins, Vitters or any other possible 3B, 2B, OF or SS or where ever they decide to play him by any other name other then Starlin Castro will have an effect on his development. I know some were suggesting that all the names and then some would would have to fail, but the cubs would not let their performance effect Baez’ possible super star development unless maybe they are in the heat of a pennant race.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I doubt the Cubs will rush or artificially delay Baez for any reason at all. He’ll set his own pace.

      But unless he learns to lay off bad pitches and work the count, he’s going to stay in Daytona all year. His walk rate isn’t just bad. It’s awful. Double A pitching will easily expose him if he doesn’t make adjustments before moving up.

      He can make those adjustments, no doubt about that, but I’m not sure anyone should make plans to see him anywhere but Daytona until he does.

      • BluBlud

        Luke, I know you are the MiLB guy here, but I completely disagree. There is no way Baez finishes the year in Daytona under any circumstances. I not so sure he will even see Daytona, or rather, he’ll have a chance to play his self above Daytona. His numbers in Daytona last were the result of inconsistant playing time from all the rainouts and not some big exposure of all his flaws. I don’t think a smart FO is to worried about those 23 games.

        His inability to “lay off bad pitches and work the count” is actually his ability to hit anything. There is no way, and I repeat, no way he is invited to ST if they plan to keep him in Daytona all year or even any extended period other then an early season warmup.

        • nkniacc13

          I could see him be one on the last to go to minor league camp unless he struggles terribly I think he may go to Tenn just because of the weather conditions in Dayton and the cubs wanting him to play everyday and take some of the weather out of it

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I doubt the Cubs have a firm plan on where Baez will play from one month to the next. That’s largely up to Baez and how fast he makes adjustment.

          But there is absolutely no chance that they will send him to Tennessee, at all, if he repeats his 2012 performance in Daytona. Baez won’t be able to hit everything he sees as he moves up the system. He has to learn to be patient and wait on his pitch, just like Vitters does.

          Baez has a terrifically high ceiling and fans should be very excited by him, but he has real and significant flaws in his game right now. They are fixable, but until he fixes them, he won’t be rushed up the system just for the sake of rushing him. Ultimately, how fast he moves is largely up to him.

          And the same goes for Almora. I love the tools, but tools alone are not enough. Junior Lake should be proof of that.

          • BluBlud

            I like Almora, but Im putting him on bust alert

            • JR

              Yeah, dude better learn to walk at least once a month or something.

              • Van

                While I don’t necessarily disagree with you, Almora has 145 professional PAs. I give the scouting reports a lot more weight than the numbers at this stage in his career, and the early reports have been glowing. What the numbers say about him at this time next season will be interesting.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Keep open the possibility, however slim, that Baez doesn’t even see Daytona this year – there’s a 5% chance he just starts at Tennessee, as crazy as that may seem.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              I’ll concede the possibility, but I have my highly unlikelies. He’d have to demonstrate a completely different approach at the plate… totally different player level of different… before the Cubs could risk sending him directly to Tennessee.

              Soler, on the other hand, I think has a better chance of vaulting directly into Double A. That chance is still fairly low, though.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          “His inability to “lay off bad pitches and work the count” is actually his ability to hit anything”

          I have read repeatedly that Baez swings at too many bad pitches, and that he often looks bad doing so. People often claim that pitching tactics improve as guys go up levels: pitchers are both smarter and wiser, and they also are at a point where they are being judged more on their success than their stuff. After all, lot of organizations want their low-level pitcher to focus on throwing strikes rather than getting out individual batters: getting a batter out with strikes is and should be held much more in a pitchers favor than getting a batter out with non-strikes. However, MLB pitchers are expected to tailor their routine to individual batters: and AA should be the place to start doing that.

          • Kygavin

            “His inability to “lay off bad pitches and work the count” is actually his ability to hit anything”

            Believe the same thing was said about Vitters early in his career correct? or at least something similar. Just saying

      • cubspong

        I agree that Baez will likely start out at Daytona. Further, I think Luke is correct that he has the ability to make these adjustments and when he does make the adjustments he will be called up to Tenn. The issue is how long will he take to make these adjustments, and that is up to Baez. I agree with BluBlud that he will likely move up past Daytona this year but that is because he will likely make the adjustments that are required.

    • Matt

      That doesn’t really hold with this front office’s philosophy at all

      • BluBlud

        I think that is exactly this FO’s philosophy.

  • nkniacc13

    You alo may hav the cub giving them challenging promotions or starting assingment to inrease trade value in certain prospects

  • DanielSon

    Hey Brett, I’m a fairly new (but regular) reader and love your work here. I can’t wait for football season to end today and give way to baseball. Thanks for the updates.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Rooting for the Ravens. Who is with me?

    • Hansman1982

      Book. I hate ray Lewis (all because of the pre-game walk out strut they show on some promos. If he does that before every game then go Niners!!

      That and joe Montana was the greatest QB EVER!

    • Patrick G

      I have no preference, don’t like either team being a Bears fan, but got $20 on the Ravens so I guess I gotta root for them right

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m slightly rooting for the Ravens, but only because I don’t want most of my co-workers to be depressed on Monday.

      Mainly, I’m in it for the commercials.

  • BluBlud

    Go Ravens. Ray Lewis is a legend and I would love to see him go out on top like John Elway, David Robinson and Michael Jord……..oh yeah…..damn. Why’d he come back again? That guy screwed all of us out of a great memory.

    • Hansman1982

      Freaky? My memory of Jordan is as one of the games greats.

      Ray Lewis deserves to play well enough to decide to not retire and spen all of next year being a terrible defensive player. Then, in the final game of his career, Tim Tebow just destroys him on a qb keeper.

      Like, literally, he is pulverized into a fine powder.

      • Hansman1982

        Freaky = really

      • BluBlud

        Was j/k bout the Jordan thing, though the Wizards days just didn’t do it for me. The Byron Russell pushoff, crossover, pullup jumper, hanging hand with that “did you expect me to miss?” look was the best way any career could have ever ended.

        As for Ray-Ray. Greatest MLB to ever play the game. Better then Butkus or Sigletary. Hands down. He may be a top 10 NFL player of all time. He is the definition of the word legend. He desrves to go out on top, as long as I don’t have to ljsten to him pray afterwards. :-)

  • Patrick G

    Hopefully Austin Reed has the same amount of talent in the family as his brother.

  • Stu

    Wasn’t Ray Lewis involved in a situation where someone died. I bet that incident is not talked about. You know, different rules, etc…

  • X The Cubs Fan

    I think Mcleod meant defensively. Because if he were offensively he would be batting well over .300 in the minors.

  • Vince

    He was allegedly part of the killing but they found him not guilty and they are talking about all the time now in case you weren’t watching espn.

    • Martin

      Nobody found him “not guilty” of anything. He pled to a lesser charge of obstructing justice in exchange for testifying against the two guys who were in the car with him. There is debate as to whether or not he told the truth on the stand as well. He was found guilty (due to his plea) of obstruction.

  • Stu

    OK. Ray Lewis is a hero. Nothing went on. As long as a jury of his “peers” say so.

    • BluBlud

      Ray’s crew was attacked with one being hit over the head with a Champaign bottle, so they defended themselves. Ray never touched or killed anyone according to testimony from his side and from the victim’s side. Only one person out of all the people that seen what happen testified that Lewis was physically involved and that’s because later he tried to file a civil suit. I don’t even know why this is brought up here, on ESPN or anywhere else. It has absolutely nothing to do with football or this Super Bowl.

      • frank

        Maybe it has nothing to do with this Super Bowl and shouldn’t be discussed. But you don’t plead to obstruction if you’re defending yourself. You plead to obstruction when you’re caught impeding an investigation. Many believe he was lying, and that he should’ve been charged as an accessory after the fact–I don’t know if he was lying or not, so I cannot say anything about that, but they don’t lightly bandy about terms like “accessory after the fact.” That happens when you knowingly help a wrongdoer after the commission of a crime. He may not have killed or assaulted anyone, but just because he may not have been physically involved in those acts does not make him innocent–and he’s certainly not as innocent as you make him seem.

        • BluBlud

          “accessory after the fact.” 

          Not a lawyer, but doesn’t there have to be a conviction on the crime for there to be an accessory after the fact charge. Ray never lied Bout what happen, he lied and said he wasn’t there, so his lie was he didn’t know what happpen. If a fight breaks out, after a club, near you car, after an initial arguement, it becomes pretty apparent that you were attempting to flee the scene and the other party was pursuing the altercation.

          Also, Ray didn’t have to testify, as the DA prosecuting the case was getting his ass kicked in court. Rays testimony was to go ahead and get the trial over with, so he could move on and get back to off season camp and other football activities and get off his house restriction or something like that if I’m remembering right.

          Art Modell posted his bond. If there was any reason to think he was guilty, I don’t think Mr. Modell would have done that.

          • frank

            As I said, I don’t know enough about what happened, so I’m not going to condemn the man outright, and there was no accessory after the fact charge made, as far as I know. In many jurisdictions, a conviction in the primary case is necessary–so if that case was weak, there might’ve been a problem there. An obstruction charge usually comes when you lie to authorities in the course of an investigation, and he did plead to that, after being initially charged with murder. He did settle two civil suits out of court, one of them for $1 million. He testified that he tried to break up the fight, so he knew that at least that much had happened. He then helped those who were charged to get away (hence the talk of the accessory charges).

          • scorecardpaul

            It seems to me that you are only remembering the parts of the story that you want to remember. Did you forget about the blood soaked clothing that Ray was wearing that night? If I had blood socked clothing, and was innocent I wouldn’t have destroyed it so the police couldn’t see it.

      • Martin

        It absolutely does have something to do with football. Ray Lewis has been championing his faith and redemption all week, throwing his beliefs in every camera he finds. He talked about how this situation redeemed him and made him who he is today. Therefore, it is entirely justifiable to question the truth of the events that happened that day; in fact, it is required of anyone, journalist or otherwise.

        Lewis can’t have it both ways: he can’t celebrate his faith and redemption and then disqualify people from discussing the events that have (in his words) led to that redemption.

        • BluBlud

          That why j said earlier that I don’t wanna here him pray either. I don’t wanna here the God speaches. I wanna watch him play football. What happens within the day, before or after he does that, has absolutely nothing to do with me or the Super Bowl, unless it is going to have an effect on ability to play.

          • BluBlud

            *I* and *Hear*, not j and here.

          • Martin

            You can’t feign confusion about why it’s discussed here and on sports shows, though.

            You might not like it, but Ray Lewis has decided to make this about him, and as such, that’s the story we’re going to discuss.

          • scorecardpaul

            I especialy liked the part were Ray says that it isn’t his voice talking about illegal drugs that they have on tape. He claims it is the Devils voice??????

  • Rcleven

    ChicagoCubsOnline ‏@TheCCO

    RT @Tcampana_24 On my way to Phoenix with @whit_law ready to get season goin ready for a #breakoutseason

    OH JOY.

    • Tom A.

      Tony — I truly hope you are READY for a breakout season. I wish you demonstrate a skill beyond defense and speed — for example, hit for average and/or get on-base. If what you say is true, it would be a most pleasant surprise for many of us. Sincerely, I wish you the best of luck and hope you blossom into a true game-changing player.

  • Lou

    For anyone curious, ESPN is looking for someone versed in analytics, production and programming. I know it was discussed that the Cubs had a similar position. I didn’t post any link because well….this is Brett’s site and not mine.

  • Die hard

    In 1970 we just walked in and played touch football in the old sugar bowl at Tulane- speaking of worn down stadiums- very similar to Wrigley now- cant renovate- needs to be torn down too- as with New Orleans- rebuild Wrigley and they will come

  • Adarecub

    I know it’s along way off given that he’s gonna start in Tennessee at best but I don’t know where Baez plays if he reaches the bigs before the end of the year. They are not going to move Castro from SS. I’d imagine they will give josh Vitters another shot at third if Stewart struggles. Given the lack of interest in anyone trading for Barney and the high estimation of the FO in him, he won’t get 2nd. The outfield seems stacked so he won’t be tried there. Barring a plethora of infield trades at deadline, the farthest he will go this year is Iowa

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I honestly don’t know why the Cubs would send Baez to the majors in 2013, regardless of how he performs in the minors.

      I don’t see the upside for the team in adding him to the 40 man roster (thereby giving up the ability to protect one more player in this fall’s Rule 5), starting his arbitration clock, starting his option clock, etc., just for a couple of weeks late in the year. It would make the fans deliriously happy, but from a team building standpoint, I don’t see the upside.

    • BluBlud

      Man really. I’m a huge Barney, Campana, Sori and Castro fan and was pretty happy they signed Hairston, but in reality, the only players on the roster that would keep Baez from playing would be Castro (obvious), Soriano (the veteran you won’t bench) and Rizzo(his position has no impact on Baez). If Baez is ready to play, and the Cubs want him to play, then he will play. This doesn’t just go for the Cubs and Baez, this goes for every MLB team and prospect. Schierholtz, Hairston, Campana, Sappelt, Dejesus, Barney, Valbeuna, Stewart and Vitters will not keep Baez from playing.

      Now what Luke says is true about the roster spot. But if it comes down to DFAing somebody like Valbeuna or Shierholtz, then who cares. And as for protecting prospects next year, Garza, Valbeuna, Stewart, Dejesus, Baker, and several other will be gone after the season and our 40 man will be somewhere down close 30, so I don’t think they are worried about it.

      • Jeremy

        How can you be a huge Campana fan?

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I’ve been saying all along that Soler is ahead of Baez in development (and already on the 40 man roster). Of course, both of them have easy roads to get to the majors: DeJesus and Schierholtz aren’t guaranteed to be on the team in 2014 to block Soler in RF and 3B has been a question mark ever since Aramis Ramirez became a free agent.

    • BluBlud

      I dont think it entirely out of the question that they both see the bigs some this year.

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        Lol!!! People like you give normal cub baseball fans a bad name.

        Push away from the keyword, put down the crackpope and go outside and do something that benefits mankind rather than the garbage you spew here.

        Next

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Ha. Crackpope.

          • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

            Yea iwas going to say crackpipe but he said earlier he was a devout Catholic so I thought I would really hit him where it hurts to get him to stop trolling.

            • BluBlud

              You never heard me say I was a devout catholic, so you might wanna find something else. Plus, there nothing you can say on a website when you don’t know me personally can’t hit me where it hurts. Grow up kid.

        • BluBlud

          Dude, really. What do I spew. Most of the “garbage” I have spewed here for the last year and a half have come true. Volstad would be garbage, I was called crazy. Don’t trade Sori before last year, he was due a breakout, I was called crazy. Joe Mather wasn’t worth a roster spot over Campana, I was called crazy. None of those need explaining.

          Cubs would sign one of kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson or Anibal Sanchez, I was called crazy. People said it was too soon to sign free agents for that kind of money. Well they tried to sign Sanchez and signed Jackson.

          Cubs should sign Bourn. I was called Crazy. They might not sign him, but they have at least show interest and would still sign him if the price and years are right though I may value him a little more then they do.

          Campana would not be DFA’d unless the Cubs sign a couple OF and even then he might not be DFA’d. I was called crazy. Well, he is still on the roster, and unless he is DFA’d for Hairston, he’ll remain on the roster going into ST.

          I said Baez was on a faster track then most people thought and that it was possible that he could see the majors this year. I was called crazy. Just a week later, Brett wrote an article on how Baez might be on a faster track then we thought, then he was invited to the big league camp and now he is invited to ST.

          So, about all that crazy stuff I have been spewing on this site that makes all cubs fan look bad? Seems like I been just as right as anybody else on this site my friend.

          • Drew7

            I’d like to know when anyone called you crazy for any of the moves/non-moves you mentioned in your first 3 paragraphs.

            • Drew7

              Also, there’s a huge difference between Baez seeing the Majors this year and him being invited to ST.

            • BluBlud

              I’m sorry. Not litterally crazy. Where I from, if you disagree with somebody, you call them crazy, and it’s not meant as disrespect. It’s a lingo thing, i guess. I guess I should say most people disagreed.

            • BluBlud

              Right, but me saying he we see the majors all of a sudden don’t look so far fetch.

          • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

            Soriano at 36 having a breakout year?

            Lol

            Next.

            • BluBlud

              Breakout in terms of more productive then in recent years. Now you just trying to dissect words cause you were proven wrong. How about you go and get back on your crackpope.

              • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                Nobody breaks out at 36. If you knew what a breakout year was you’d understand that.

                You do realize that most of the minor leaguers will complete bust outs, right?

                Next

                • BluBlud

                  I know what a breakout year means and in those terms, Sori had a breakout, or rebound or more productive then expected year.

                  Anyway, whats your point about minor leaguers being bust and how does that relate to me.

                  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                    You have Baez in MLB this year after he batted .188 in high A ball and .214 in a the fall league?

                    Stop trolling and inciting other cub fans.

                    • BluBlud

                      Dude, I don’t have Baez playing anywhere. I have my opinion. I never said he will play in the MLB, just that he could. I don’t put much stock in his play every third day due to rainouts Daytona numbers and his AFL numbers are a small sample size. Baez will not be a bust, I will guarantee that.

                      As far as trolling and inciting other Cubs fans, you seem to be the one trolling my comments. Until now, you had not given one reason why you disagreed with me. All you have done is made childish and disrespectful remarks. I don’t see why you can’t disagree with me without getting angry or mad. Everybody is not going to agree all the time, that is the purpose of a blog.

                      You should have stated that you think Baez will start in Daytona and spend most of his season there if that’s how you feel.

                      Making off the cuff comments about somebody’s religion, though I’m not a Catholic and never said I was, so I have no Idea where you got that from, or trying to “hit them where it hurts” shows your maturity level and shows that you are actually incapable of having a legitimate conversation.

  • mudge

    I enjoy reading your posts, Blubud.

  • @cubsfantroy

    OK, lets hug it out.

    • mudge

      Opinions are like diverticulae.

      • beerhelps

        Now that’s funny

  • cjacks

    just say soriano had a breakout season,last year

    • mudge

      acne?

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Who would be ranked a higher draft prospect if they were in the same class? Austin Meadows, OF, H.S. (GA) in this years draft or Albert Almora? I think Meadows would be because of the power potential and he’d be able to play all 3 OF positions. Even though Almora was a much more advance defensively, but I think Meadows power potential and bat speed are better. I think Meadows has a high ceiling but a lower floor and likely hood to make to the bigs then Almora

  • 2much2say

    Soriano finally got healthy. He will have even a better year this year if he stays healthy.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      The way Dale Sveum was talking about Sori’s knee’s i dont know how much better he’ll. I think its not very likely he matches last years #’s. I don’t see him producing offensively at the same level, maybe just a notch down if he stays healthy all season, but I think he’ll still be productive though

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I think the Cubs should sign both Scott Kazmir, Dice K and Brandon Webb to minor league deals and give maybe give them spring training invites

  • Die hard

    Cubs should invite Kapernick assuming still own rights

  • dan

    can someone put in order our minor leaque system I thought Kane county was a ball?

    • BluBlud

      Arizona (R)
      Boise (short season A)(low A)(A-)
      Kane County (A)
      Daytona (high A)(A+)
      Tennessee (AA)
      Iowa(AAA)

  • dan

    Thanks

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