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What do the prospects do in the winter?


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#1 JeffR

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 07:27 PM

I follow a lot of the cubs prospects on twitter, so I know a lot of them have been in Arizona working out (it seems a lot went home over the last few weeks), but I'm wondering if anyone can provide a little more insight on what the winter looks like for a lot of the top prospects. Are they forced to spend a certain amount of time in Arizona or is it just suggested? I would guess a lot of it depends on the player development plan. Are there coaches around throwing BP, or is it mainly just strength and conditioning stuff?



#2 Luke

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 08:49 PM

A lot of it is strength and conditioning, and a lot of it is voluntary.

 

That's one of the reasons that the Cubs new facility in Mesa is such a big deal.  A lot of player improvement and development takes place right there in Mesa for both major and minor league players.  Any edge the Cubs can get in that arena by means of facilities is going to pay dividends.

 

A lot of the Caribbean players will head back home for the winter (and some of them will play in winter ball), and there again the Cubs investment in the Dominican Republic pays dividends.  

 

As for what the players are working on - to some extent that depends on the player.  The Cubs will be tailoring a work out routine for each player.  The focus, though, is likely to be on strength, conditioning, timing, and technique for most players.  This is when players get rid of that high leg kick that messes up the timing on their swing, clean up their footwork when fielding a grounder, and so forth.  



#3 JeffR

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 09:44 PM

While it's hard to say that some teams value player development more than others because everyone wants their players to improve, not all organizations put the same resources into it. Are there other things besides the facility upgrades that the cubs have done since Theo came over to help with player development? I know changes we're made to the staff, but was it simply bringing in his guys or have they increased the amount of player development staff?

#4 Luke

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:30 PM

They definitely increased the size of the player development staff, and they opened the wallet to lure some of the best developers out there into the Cubs system.

 

Derek Johnson from Vanderbilt is Exhibit A.  Several teams had tried for years to lure that pitching guru away from Vanderbilt, a program that he helped build into an SEC powerhouse in baseball thanks in no small part to consistently good pitching staffs, but no one managed it.  Many in baseball believed he had no interest in a professional job.  

 

And then the Cubs landed him in what is still quite possibly the single biggest coup scored by this front office.

 

It isn't just the buildings with the Cubs.  The player development operation in all aspects has been improved.



#5 JeffR

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge Luke.

#6 MichiganGoat

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:35 PM

And yet the RICKETTS IS CHEAP CROWD always ignores how much money has been spent on this side of the organization.

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#7 Luke

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:38 PM

And yet the RICKETTS IS CHEAP CROWD always ignores how much money has been spent on this side of the organization.

 

To be fair, in comparison with major league contracts it isn't all that much.  I doubt you could sign three starting outfielders from free agency for what teams spend on player development.  

 

The return on investment for player development dollars is indisputably higher, though.



#8 MichiganGoat

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:47 PM

And yet the RICKETTS IS CHEAP CROWD always ignores how much money has been spent on this side of the organization.

 
To be fair, in comparison with major league contracts it isn't all that much.  I doubt you could sign three starting outfielders from free agency for what teams spend on player development.  
 
The return on investment for player development dollars is indisputably higher, though.
And I fully understand that but an owner that only wants profit wouldn't be wasting money on all this developmental expenses. Or maybe he would just to fuel the PR machine and pocket ALL THE MONEY... at least that's what I've been told.

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#9 Spriggs

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 07:36 AM

This brings to mind one of my favorite baseball quotes ever.  When asked about the winter, this is what Rogers Hornsby said:   

 

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."



#10 miggy80

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

 

 

And yet the RICKETTS IS CHEAP CROWD always ignores how much money has been spent on this side of the organization.

 
To be fair, in comparison with major league contracts it isn't all that much.  I doubt you could sign three starting outfielders from free agency for what teams spend on player development.  
 
The return on investment for player development dollars is indisputably higher, though.
And I fully understand that but an owner that only wants profit wouldn't be wasting money on all this developmental expenses. Or maybe he would just to fuel the PR machine and pocket ALL THE MONEY... at least that's what I've been told.

 

 

I with you Goat. Yeah the salaries of these coaches may not translate to MLB contracts, yet the investment in the facilities is more than just a drop in the bucket. 


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#11 hansman1982

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 11:57 AM

Yes, it's easy to look at individual pieces of the non-MLB-payroll expendatures and say "IT'S SMALL PEANUTS!" but when you add them up you start talking about real money being spent every year. 






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