Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kyle hendricks iowa cubsThe packing process started a couple weeks ago, but The Taylor Family Move, itself, starts today. We’re doing what we can today and tomorrow before the movers come on Monday. Hopefully our Internet service switches over flawlessly on Tuesday, and you don’t notice any significant interruptions.

  • In an announcement that surprised absolutely no one who’s been paying attention this year, the Chicago Cubs have named Javier Baez their Minor League Player of the Year, and Kyle Hendricks their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. You know the story with Baez – the 20-year-old shortstop split time between High-A and AA, and had one of the most productive seasons of any player in minor league baseball – and you probably also know the story with Hendricks. The righty is not considered a top pitching prospect in baseball (though he’s still right up there in the top five or so, among pitching prospects in the Cubs’ system), primarily because he’s not a hard-thrower or a huge strikeout guy (*generally-speaking,* future MLB starters are much more likely to come from the ranks of minor leaguers who throw hard and strike guys out at huge rates (usually when young for their league)). But the numbers were fantastic for the heady Hendricks, with a 2.00 ERA and 1.058 WHIP over 166.1 innings at AA and AAA. He struck out 6.9 per 9 (not terrible) and walked just 1.8 per 9 (outstanding). Moreover, the numbers were fairly consistent with what Hendricks, who turns 24 in December, has done all the way up the ladder in the minors. There’s little reason to think he’s not a legitimate back-of-the-rotation option in the big leagues by the second half of 2014 or the beginning of 2015, assuming health and continued effectiveness.
  • Jesse Rogers writes – both fairly and accurately – about Dale Sveum’s bad decision to have Donnie Murphy bunt in the 9th on Thursday against the Pirates with men on first and second and nobody out (Cubs down two). Rogers’ pieces breaks down why it was a bad decision … and why we don’t really care all that much right now.

  • The Cubs might be grooming Justin Grimm for a reliever job in 2014, according to Mark Gonzales, rather than having him continue developing as a starter at AAA to begin the year. He’s got the stuff to succeed as a reliever – maybe he flourishes there – and I’m reminded of successful organizations that have broken in young starters as relievers in the big leagues before allowing them to later transition back to the rotation as needed (Cardinals, Rays, etc.). I still like Grimm’s upside as a middle-of-the-rotation starter long-term (assuming he can bring his secondary pitches along – he was rushed to the big leagues with the Rangers), but I’d have no problem with him breaking camp in the bullpen. He’s an experienced pitcher, and he might get just as much development out of being on the big team in the bullpen as he would in the rotation at AAA, regardless of his future role.
  • A great read from on Junior Lake’s experience in the outfield in the Dominican Winter League last year, with thoughts from his coach on that team, Pirates coach Dave Jauss. It turns out, it was Jauss who asked the Cubs if it was all right to move Lake into the outfield for a handful of games in that league, rather than the other way around. That may have always been the Cubs’ plan for Lake, given his limitations in the infield, but it’s interesting to learn that’s how it all started.

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