javier baez aflThe first football Saturday of the year is here, and I’ll be hitting up the Buckeyes game today – I know, I know, Michigan fan, but I live in Columbus – so I’ll be in and out. Mostly out.

  • The Cubs’ minor league system is full of post-season All-Stars (which makes a lot more sense than mid-season All-Stars), including Rock Shoulders down in the Midwest League. The largest bounty of All-Stars came in the Southern League, where the AA Tennessee Smokies placed five players on the 15-player All-Star squad: Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva, Matt Szczur, and Kyle Hendricks. Baez and Hendricks are very likely to be the Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, in the Cubs’ system.
  • Ryne Sandberg was happy to win yesterday, because obviously. You can read about Sandberg’s return here, here, and here.
  • Ryan Sweeney and Luis Valbuena are set to return to the big team tomorrow when rosters expand (teams can call up anyone on the 40-man). Valbuena, who is arbitration eligible for the second time after the season, is expected to return as a quality utility man. Sweeney is a free agent, and, although the Cubs likely would want him back next year as a very solid fourth outfielder, he may want to test the free agent waters a bit before returning. In each case, they’ll get a little more time to show what they can do before the end of the year.


  • Marc Hulet did a prospect chat at FanGraphs, and it’s heavy on the love for Cubs prospects. Top three system in baseball, 5 to 7 top 100 prospects overall, lots of love for Baez and Bryant … it goes on, and and I smile.
  • I’ll write about this separately, but if you haven’t seen Jeff Passan’s recent piece on “conversion” language in MLB player contracts (with the Cubs leading the pack, apparently), it’s a very interesting read.
  • It sounds like there’s going to be a feature on ESPN2 on September 3 at 6pm CT on Matt Szczur.

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