Football is officially back, with the Broncos stomping the Ravens last night – in Denver, since the Orioles/White Sox game in Baltimore booted the reigning Super Bowl champs westward. I’m glad that the baseball and football seasons are generally staggered – they are my two favorite sports to watch.
- ESPN once again ranked each of the 30 MLB organizations in an overall way that considers not only the makeup of their current team – the Cubs would not fare well – but also the state of their farm system, their finances, their management, and how much they could improve in the near-term. The rankings purport to be a “futures” ranking of the organizations best equipped to have success over the next five years. The Cubs came in at number 6, ahead of every team in the NL Central … except the Cardinals, who are number 1 overall. Naturally. The Cubs’ ranking is particularly impressive when you consider that their present team is among the worst ranked on the list, and that is one of the most heavily-weighted factors. Picking nits? The Cardinals’ minor league system is rated higher than the Cubs’, and I don’t think too many rankings services will be thinking that come the offseason. All in all, if the Cubs prove to be the sixth best team in baseball, overall, over the next 5 to 10 years, I think I’d be pretty happy with that. That’s a whole lot of playoff appearances.
- … of course, ESPN might be a little generous in projecting the team’s financial advantages in the next five years. (*ducks*)
- Marc Hulet at MLBTR put together a prospect all-star team, and, once again, the Cubs are nicely represented. Although they placed no pitchers on this one, Javier Baez took the spot at shortstop (over an absurdly talented crew at the position), Dan Vogelbach took first base (in part because of a lack of top prospects at the position), and Kris Bryant was mentioned as the likely successor at third base to Miguel Sano (though both could be in the big leagues by next year).
- Tom Ricketts must be checking out each of the Cubs’ affiliates in the playoffs, because the Tribune caught up with him at AA shortly after the Sun-Times spoke with him at High-A. There’s not really anything new in the Tribune piece, though I think it’s nice that he’s checking out the minor league teams this time of year.
- Javier Baez is the face of the Cubs’ successful minor league development this year.
- Outfielder Dave Sappelt cleared waivers after being DFA’d this week, and was outrighted to AAA Iowa.
- A long write-up on Kevin Gregg, who has been solid for the Cubs this year, and remains one of the biggest 2013 surprises.