Shoveling is bad enough, but when it’s frigid out and you’ve already had to drive on the snow a bit, so it’s all compacted down and virtually impossible to get under, and then you keep hitting the concrete edges in the driveway so the shovel bangs back into you, and then you catch one of your headphones and yank it out of your ear, and I can’t get it back into my ear with my gloves on and then my back starts hurting and damn it the podcast paused do I have to take my glove off again when will this be over WHAT AM I EVEN DOING OUT HERE!?!?!?
- Arizona Phil takes the early look at the 2017 Rule 5 Draft over at The Cub Reporter, which may sound like a crazily early exercise, but there’s a reason to think about this stuff now: knowing which Cubs prospects will be Rule 5-eligible after this season gives some important context to their performances this year. Among the notable Cubs prospects who will have to be added to 40-man roster after the season, lest they be available in the Rule 5: Eloy Jimenez, Oscar de la Cruz, Trevor Clifton, Mark Zagunis, Chesny Young, Jen-Ho Tseng, and Ryan Williams.
- Many others are available, and it’s possible some prospects will break out this year, suddenly making us question whether they need protection from the draft. But, as things stand, that’s a small chunk of the eligible group that you’d want to watch closely. Given their proximity to the big leagues, protecting Zagunis, Young, Tseng, and Williams would not be an issue for the Cubs – if they’re worth protecting come November, then they also may very well have been ready for some big league action anyway. Jimenez, de la Cruz, and Clifton are the more notable prospects, but each has yet to play at AA or AAA – which is not to say they won’t be protected when the time comes. Instead, I’m saying only that it’s more likely that, when they’re added to the 40-man roster, it will truly be more about “protecting” them than signaling a readiness for big league action.
- Speaking of the Cubs’ many splendid prospects, make sure you read Michael’s writeup on BA’s grand Cubs prospect unveiling from last evening, and then peruse the BA materials at your leisure. There’s SO much Cubs prospect goodness. I liked reading in the chat, for example, that the Cubs’ farm system may actually be ranked higher this year than last year, despite the loss of Gleyber Torres, because of the development of so many youngsters. (To be sure, it’s still a middle-of-the-pack farm system at best right now (years of promotions, acquisition trades, low drafting, and limited international spending will do that), but there’s upside all over.)
- I’ve seen some buzzing in the comments about Jeimer Candelario being ranked 7th, which does feel a tick or two low, but I’d give it a pass. Once you get past the top four of Jimenez-Happ-Almora-Cease (or just the top three, if you’re not including Almora as a prospect at this point), I think there’s about five or six guys who are mostly interchangeable in the rankings, in terms of the order. Candelario should absolutely be in that group, given his progress and domination at AAA last year. But there are questions about how limited the glove is (some say third base and first base only, and maybe no better than average overall), and the offensive production has admittedly been inconsistent over the course of his progress through the minors.
- Good for Alex Reyes, as I’m sure he’s excited:
#STLCards top prospect Alex Reyes will pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC. Said Reyes: "The decision was pretty easy."
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) January 5, 2017
- The minor rub there is that the competitiveness level in the World Baseball Classic will be slightly greater than a random few Spring Training games, which could mean that a young arm like Reyes’ will use up some bullets in March that could cost him a start or two late in the year if the Cardinals decide to be very conservative with his development. Reyes, 22, barely topped 100 innings pitched between the minors and MLB last year.
- As for the US Team so far:
Team USA position players: Carpenter, Posey, Lucroy, Hosmer, Goldschmidt, Kinsler, Arenado, Crawford, Murphy, Yelich, Jones, McCutchen. @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 6, 2017
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 6, 2017
- I like charts that show me good things:
Jason Heyward didn't misplay one ball hit to him last year. He made every easy/routine plays (and almost all the tough ones) pic.twitter.com/ClhEdHvE1t
— Daren Willman (@darenw) January 6, 2017
- As noted last night, the Cubs lost a member of their family, and you can feel the loss even more acutely when you read this:
RIP my friend Stan Zielinski. pic.twitter.com/cvp2sqBPvT
— Ty Nichols (@yellowhammer04) January 6, 2017
- If you missed it earlier, I looked at Kris Bryant’s MVP-cinching performance in Los Angeles, and Luis noted the Cubs’ desire to get a college football bowl game at Wrigley Field.
- Ever wonder why pitchers throw from 60 feet, 6 inches? Or how – physically – pitchers in the early days of the game could throw 400+ innings in a season? Check out some old time baseball rules at Baseball is Fun.
- Flashing back on a couple Cubs pitchers – the funny thing is, neither was in the Cubs’ organization (because the Pelicans weren’t either!) when these pictures were taken:
— MyrtleBeachPelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) January 6, 2017