Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kris bryant smile on baseCongrats to Japheth in last week’s DraftKings contest, as he won the signed Starlin Castro bat. And also congrats to Andy, Werner, and Eddie were the top scorers among the BN contingent, so they’ve got some shirts on the way. I hope folks had a lot of fun. I did; though it would have been more fun if the ump hadn’t ejected Bryce Harper as soon as the game started. He’s shown the Cubs the last two days how quickly he can put up fantasy points.

  • Theo Epstein discusses the progress of the big league team thus far here in the Tribune. Give it a read for the full context, though I want to note that he points out something I hadn’t given enough thought: the success at the plate from young big leaguers like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell makes it a lot easier for the Cubs’ development staff to impress a certain approach upon the young players in the minor leagues. If Bryant and Russell are debuting in The Show and having success with a specific plan of attack, then how could you not want to emulate their approach – which is really just an example of the organization’s selective aggressiveness philosophy – as a 19-year-old in A-ball? Moreover, the coaching and development staff now has concrete examples to which to point to say, “You want to make it to the big leagues and contribute? Look at how these guys bought in to the things we were teaching them.”
  • I like the way Jon Lester talked about last night’s game, despite the Cubs’ loss (CSN). He knows he pitched well, and that’s just the way those games go sometimes. The start dropped his ERA/FIP/xFIP to 3.30/3.49/3.21, each of which is better than his career mark. So far, Lester has been exactly what the Cubs paid him to be.

  • Lester also has a great attitude about the things that happen on the field outside of his control, saying that you have to allow yourself to be pissed off about it for just a little bit, and then you get over it and make the next pitch (Tribune). Trying to act like you’re not bothered by an error behind you or a ball that drops is not realistic or particularly healthy. Let yourself feel the frustration for a moment, and then move on. That’s a good life lesson, really.
  • Tommy Birch writes about the third baseman behind Kris Bryant the last couple years, Christian Villanueva. The glove is still legit, and the 23-year-old is hitting .281/.349/.448 in his second go-around at AAA with a greatly diminished strikeout rate. Given his spot on the 40-man roster and the players ahead of him, it’s still reasonable to think about Villanueva as a trade piece, but it’s great to see him having success.

  • If you didn’t check Luke’s Minor League Daily today, you’re going to want to see the catch Jacob Hannemann made last night.
  • Michael wrote about the injury yesterday, but here’s the update to Matt Adams’ quad strain: it’s serious, and he might miss the rest of the season. So far, the Cardinals have continued to succeed despite a number of injuries – it’s a credit to the quality of their roster and the depth of their upper minors. I feel dirty.

  • If you missed the latest episode of Limited Range, here you go.
  • A really nice story out of Tennessee:

  • Party time in the bleachers:

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