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Prepping for the Rule 5 Draft, Barreling the Ball with Ian Happ, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

I’m not a Marvel nut or anything, but I have enjoyed many of the movies, as I’m sure a lot of you have.


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Mostly, I’m just a really big fan of how well they’ve executed the movie plan for these comic book stories. The way they’ve supported each individually, interconnected the arcs, introduced characters thoughtfully, and built toward the next story. I dig it, because I think it’s really hard to pull off in movie form.

So, even if I’m not super into the movies, I was pretty excited to see the ‘Infinity War’ trailer drop today:

  • Jonathan Mayo takes an early look at some interesting prospects available in next month’s Rule 5 Draft, and, although there are names you’ll recognize, I don’t see an obvious fit for the Cubs in that group. The thing about the Rule 5, though, is you have to go very, very deep if you’re going to identify picks. Usually, the top one or two guys is a consensus, but after that, it depends so much on what teams are looking for (if anything), and often, how a guy coming back from injury is looking in winter ball. That can be hard for us to know on the outside, since we don’t have scouts deployed to the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. If the Cubs have an open spot on the 40-man roster, they may well grab a pitcher in the draft, because why not? From there, like they have in the past, they can let the guy pitch in Spring Training, the Cubs can see what they have, and then they can make a decision on whether to actually break camp with the player.

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  • As far as the Cubs prospects available to be selected, Mayo notes that there are five members of the Cubs’ top 30 (according to MLB Pipeline) available: Trevor Clifton (9), Chesny Young (16), Charcer Burks (22), Erling Moreno (26), and Jose Paulino (29). You could squint and see a rebuilding team take a chance on Clifton’s talent after a rough 2017 season at AA, but players like that *tend* not to be selected.
  • Ian Happ gets some love from Statcast as one of the notable rookies in 2017: “On one hand, the versatile switch-hitter missed on 34.4 percent of his swings, a rate that was 11th highest in MLB (minimum 750 swings) and contributed to his 129 strikeouts (31.2 K percentage). On the other hand, consider what Happ did when he connected. Among 284 hitters who put at least 200 balls in play, Happ tied for 16th by turning 13.3 percent of those batted balls into barrels – a Statcast™ term indicating an ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle. Happ’s barrel rate matched those of Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout.” In the new era of baseball, there’s a lot to be said for selling out for barrels if you can pull it off. Happ might be one of those guys who whiffs a ton in service of serious power.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  • Miscellaneous fun prompted by the selection of that picture for this post: remember when Ian Happ hit a grand slam in New York as part of a seven-run inning by the Cubs? That picture is the end of the swing.

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  • We still don’t know exactly what he did personally, but it sounds like former Braves GM John Coppolella’s lifetime ban was partly because he wouldn’t cooperate with MLB in its investigation.
  • If you missed it last night, the Marlins are basically threatening Giancarlo Stanton to get him to accept a trade.
  • The Park at Wrigley had its tree lighting last night, and it looks like it was a lot of fun:

  • Also, remembering Javy bein’ Javy:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.