My foot surgery is now less than two weeks away (correcting an injury originally suffered 15 years ago while playing stickball (not baseball, stickball)). The reality of what that will mean for my ability to help around the house, exercise, etc., is sinking in, and I finally have some trepidation. It needs to be done, but those first few weeks, especially, could be rough. Thankfully, I can still type, and will have you fine folks to keep me company …
- Yesterday, the Cubs announced their minor league coaches and coordinators, which is always an interesting unveiling. This year’s edition, however, was extra interesting because of this line: “Jonathan Mota begins his first year as a manager, taking over the club’s second rookie league team in Mesa.” *tires screech* Did you say second rookie league team? Yup, the Cubs are adding a second rookie league team this year, something Luke and I have been wanting the Cubs to do for a long time. The biggest and best organizations (from a developmental perspective) have multiple rookie league teams, allowing them to maximize the development of draftees and IFA signings. And for the first time, here in 2018, the Cubs will have two rookie league teams. I love it.
- Speaking of Cubs prospects and loving things, I get this reference:
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) January 19, 2018
- That’s a great read on one of the Cubs’ top prospects, who is now on the 40-man roster, and could contribute at some point this season in the big leagues if a need develops in the rotation (or if the Cubs decide to give him a big league taste late in the year in the bullpen). Among the comments from Cubs SVP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod: “But he took that step. The velocity ticked up — he was pitching at 94 (mph), touching 97. But it was more just the aggressiveness with it. It was almost like he had a presence to him. ‘I’m just going to come out and attack hitters.’ He was throwing all of his pitches with intent, confident with all of them, showing a plus curveball, showing a plus changeup and he’s always had that work ethic. I think the mound presence caught up to the work ethic [and] his belief in his abilities.” Plus fastball, plus curveball, and plus changeup? GIMME GIMME GIMME.
- We’ll have much more on the strife going on in baseball right now, but one thought to get out there this morning:
I am pro pitch clock (I believe keeping up the pace of action improves the experience for non-hardcore fans, without harming the experience for hardcore fans). That said, I always hoped it would be implemented by way of an agreement with the players.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 19, 2018
- After a couple offseasons with a specific focus for swing changes (leveling off the swing, and then working to right field more often), Kris Bryant isn’t making dramatic changes this time around – just focusing on punishing mistakes, and hitting the ball where it’s pitched (CBS). When you can hit like Bryant, incremental improvement is pretty much all you can hope for, and he’s pulled it off every year in the big leagues so far.
- Always interest – to me – to see the results of polls like this, since there isn’t too much concern about selection bias (seems like people who are for it and against it would be equally excited about voting that opinion):
Do you believe the Chicago Cubs should invite Sammy Sosa back into the good graces of the organization without an apology?
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) January 18, 2018
- Joe Maddon has simple but effective advice for the new top coach in town, Matt Nagy, who is taking over the Bears: Just be yourself. Maddon has lived that mantra for decades, clearly, and there’s no question he has pulled it off with the Cubs to great effect.
- Tom Clark, Cubs Scout of the Year:
Tom Clark was named recipient of the annual #Cubs Stan Zielinski Scout of the Year Award. He covers South Carolina, southern Georgia and northern Florida.
Congrats, Tom! pic.twitter.com/sCS0GvzulE
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 19, 2018
- The Farrell family is doing very well in the Cubs organization.
- Vlad’s arm was a beaut:
I mean, it's just a freakin' cannon. https://t.co/N8QTIlf42T
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) January 19, 2018
- Over at The Ten-Yard Line, we looked at Mel Kiper’s first mock draft, and the “best” wide receiver the Bears would be getting.