alfonso soriano hittingIf you missed it, we had a fresh BN Podcast episode yesterday. Consider un-missing it.

  • Alfonso Soriano is on fire over the last few games – he’s 10 for 14 with four homers and a walk, and he’s raised his OPS 53(!!!) points over those three games. This is a thing that he does, and is precisely the kind of stretch the Yankees were buying when they sent the Cubs Corey Black and some salary relief last month. No one in the Yankees’ organization, and no one with even a passing interest in the Cubs is surprised by this stretch. But don’t tell that to SportsCenter – no, I haven’t yet been able to extricate myself from its icy grip – which has gone all SORIANOCENTER this week. Odd … when Soriano was doing this with the middling Cubs, I never heard about it. Now that he’s doing it on the middling Yankees, you can’t miss it. Thank God Soriano wasn’t traded to the New York Jets or ESPN would have a six-truck crew following Soriano around the clock to offer breathless reports about his off-day preference for poly/cotton blend.
  • (That all said: I’m quite happy for Soriano, and believe he deserves all of the praise he is getting.)
  • Cubs relief prospect Armando Rivero is rocketing up the ladder after finally arriving in the States (he was a Cuban defector whom the Cubs signed in the offseason for $3.1 million). His recent stop in High-A lasted all of 3.1 innings, which was apparently enough time for the Cubs to know that he was ready for another challenge in AA (he’s striking guys out like it’s nothing). Rivero is 25 and believed to be fairly polished, so the rapid ascent was probably always the fingers-crossed plan. He could factor into the bullpen discussion as soon as next year.

  • Speaking of Rivero, Mark Gonzales writes about other Cuban efforts by the Cubs, and an increasing focus on international value. Patrick Mooney also discusses the Cubs’ international approach.
  • Tony Andracki writes about some of the top Cubs pitching prospects.
  • Minor league promotions continue to be all kinds of awesome: the Kane County Cougars are having another Star Wars Night on August 31. You can see details here, but it’s pretty much what you’d expect (in a good way): costumes, contests, Star Wars fireworks, a strangle Jabba the Hut competition. Ok, maybe not that last one – this is a family-friendly event. You can get your tickets at the Cougars’ site or box office, or by calling (630) 232-8815.
  • Vine Line interviews Cubs’ bullpen catcher Andy Lane, which proves to be a very interesting read.
  • Javier Baez is turning into one of those prospects that you would know about even if he wasn’t on the Cubs. After last night’s explosion, he’s a 20-year-old who has put up 30 homers and 30 doubles in just 113 games between High-A and AA, is hitting .288/.347/.614 at AA … and is playing shortstop. Between Baez, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa, there are so many super elite shortstop prospects that you want to find a way to cram them all into the top 5 prospects in baseball. Because of the existence of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Oscar Taveras (and those are just the positional guys), it won’t be possible. If and when Javier Baez winds up outside of the top five prospects in all of baseball after the season, it won’t be because he’s not one of those uber prospect types. He’s there. It’s just that there are so many studs in the minors right now.

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