The kiddos have a holiday performance at their school this afternoon. I am, of course, looking forward to it, and I’ve also got less anxiety about being away from my computer given last night’s report that the Jon Lester decision may not actually come by the end of this week (which is, well, today).
- Are you ready? MLB Pipeline offers its first top 50 ranking of draft prospects for 2015, and a mock draft from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of the top 10 picks. It’s not too early to start familiarizing yourself with some of the top names out there, but obviously it’s way too early to actually try and predict who will go at the top of the draft (let alone 9th, where the Cubs pick). Instead, it’s just fun. These things change wildly by the time March rolls around, and then again by April. Each pundit has the Cubs taking an arm, and there’s an implication that it is partially because of the Cubs’ positional strength. That’s fine. The Cubs very well may take an arm, and they could use an infusion of impact pitching prospects. But how many times does this organization have to take a position player in the first round, regardless of need or fit, for folks (not Callis and Mayo – I just mean fans here) to completely accept that they’re not going to take a pitcher simply because they need pitching? Best. Available. Slight preference for position players. That’s your first round mantra.
- ESPN’s Buster Olney will not vote for the Hall of Fame this year. It’s not a blanket protest of the system – which is deeply flawed – but more specifically a protest of the 10-name limit on the ballot, combined with the backlog of qualified candidates thanks to voters excluding guys connected to PEDs. Olney’s theory, and he’s sadly correct, is that if he abstains, then it’s one fewer ballot on which certain guys would be omitted (since he can’t fit them all, and, if a guy’s name is not on a ballot, that reduces his percentage (guys need to be on at least 75% of ballots for induction)). So, in a perverse and illuminating way, by abstaining, Olney might actually be helping the candidacy of the guys he’d place 11th/12th/13th on his ballot (guys he believes should be in). Good on Olney.
- Patrick Mooney offers your long read of the day on the Cubs, Joe Maddon, and what’s next. We may yet look back on 2014 as the year that things really changed.
- Hitting coach John Mallee talks about the process Javier Baez will go through in order to be successful in the big leagues (Cubs.com). Baez is in Puerto Rico to play in the winter league there, starting next week.
- Speaking of Cubs youngsters and winter leagues, Arismendy Alcantara is killing it in the DWL right now: .325/.372/.500 through 12 games, which would give him the 5th highest OPS in the league if he had a few more games under his belt and qualified.
- Junior Lake, by the way (.275/.419/.402) is 8th. It’s interesting: with an enormous walk rate and 15 stolen bases (no caught stealing) but just two homers, it’s like Lake is playing in the league as an entirely different kind of player. The same size, by the way, is getting not-so-small (at least for the walks), as he’s now well over 100 plate appearances.
- A fun tweet, and no Cubs:
The 2014 fWAR Replacement-Level All-Stars–players closest to fWAR of 0.0 pic.twitter.com/qu4bcF61Yd
— Scott Lindholm (@ScottLindholm) December 4, 2014
- Of course, if you think about the parameters there, not having any Cubs on that list doesn’t mean there weren’t some poor performances. Just no most-of-the-season, really-close-to-replacement-level performances.