I’m going to re-commit myself to more closely following the Cubs minor league system this season. Obviously, I haven’t ignored it completely, but after being mind-bogglingly obsessed with the prospects and teams from 2012-2016, I can tell my interest has waned.
I let the pendulum swing too far towards the big league roster, when there’s still plenty of baseball fun to be had in the Minors. I wouldn’t mind if the Cubs made a little easier on me with some breakout prospect performances this season, but either way, I’m back in. Also, I feel like this is going to be a big year for #thesystem. Let’s hope.
- Speaking of prospects, MLB Pipeline shared a really fun post on each individual organization’s highest-rated prospect over the last 15 years and the results are very interesting. For the Cubs, Kris Bryant’s #2 overall ranking in 2015 comes in as the top spot for the organization, but they’ve obviously had a number of top 5-10 types over the years. Just off-hand, I know Javy Baez and Addison Russell were ranked among the best of the best – and that’s excluding Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez, both of whom made it there eventually (though not while they were still with the Cubs).
- But the most interesting part is not how well any one team, like the Cubs, has done, but rather how poorly. For example, the A’s have not had a top-10 prospect in the last 15 years and their highest rated prospect was actually when Addison Russell was ranked 12th overall in 2014 before being traded to the Cubs. In addition to the A’s, only the Brewers, Pirates, and Padres are among the teams who have not had a top-5 ranked prospect in the last 15 years. That’s just a really fun way to look at that.
- Similarly interesting, but slightly less fun for the Cubs:
Total Baseball America top 100 prospects by team, since 2007.
Some teams are consistently good at this (Rays, Braves, Red Sox, Rockies), some teams have peaks (Royals, Oakland, Cubs), and some just can't do it at all (Giants, Tigers – heavy trades, and Angels). pic.twitter.com/YnWyd63bLA
— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) January 25, 2019
- Back in 2017, the Chicago Cubs had collected 45 top 100 prospects since 2007, according to Baseball America, which was the sixth best mark in all of baseball (behind only the Rays, Braves, Red Sox, Rockies, and Rangers). But fast-forward two years and they … still have 45, dropping them down to 13th best overall. That’s rough. The once-promising growth has become so very stagnant. Hopefully, that changes when these lists are re-configured mid-season. Fortunately, we know at least one guy, Miguel Amaya, is on pace to take a leap. Hopefully, he’s not alone.
- Nike, Fanatics, and Major League Baseball have announcement to make:
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) January 25, 2019
- And so does EPSN writer Jerry Crasnick, who’s leaving his writing gig behind, to join the MLB Players Association in a new role of Senior Advisor for Player, Agent, and Media Relations: “I’m grateful to Tony Clark and the PA leadership for giving me this opportunity to make a difference at such an important time for the game. Looking forward to working with Chris Dahl as part of a revamped communications department. Can’t wait for spring training!” We may be hearing much more from Crasnick as the next CBA approaches.
- According to Marc Topkin, Tropicana Field (home of the Rays) will turn into a cashless ballpark this season. Yep – you read that correctly: cash will not be accepted at the stadium. An announcement is coming later today, but that’s the headline. In addition to credit cards and debit cards (and I’m assuming some sort of mobile capabilities, like Apple/Google pay), the Rays will offer “Rays cards” which can be bought with cash if that’s all you brought to the stadium – admittedly, that part is hilarious and is sure to rub fans the wrong way. Everything else, though, doesn’t really bother me.
- I’m sure a LOT of people will think this is very silly – and maybe it is – but I think I can speak for most millennials when I say this wouldn’t affect me in the slightest – I literally never carry cash. If you’re anything like my dad, however, you might be rolling the hell out of your eyes right now – this is a longtime debate between the two of us. I’m usually cashless and I get by just fine. I also understand that I’m taking an unpopular position on this, and fan preference matters, so it could wind up being a huge mistake for the Rays. Who knows, though, maybe it’ll save time at the concession stands or something. I’m sure vendors who enjoy cash tips will not be thrilled.
- More dunking on the Rays: Earlier this offseason, Mallex Smith was traded from the Rays to the Mariners and from the sound of it, he’s happy with the deal. When recently asked what he was most excited about in coming to the Mariners, Smith replied: “I don’t know about these guys and where they played before this,” Smith said, “but I’m going to enjoy fans in the stands, That’s a big one for me. I’m going to be excited about that. I’m looking forward to those seats filled.” #Rays
- The Miami Marlins 2019 ZiPS projects are out, and … it doesn’t look great:
2019 ZiPS Projections – Miami Marlins https://t.co/wZtY6GwrG2
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 25, 2019
- As Eno Sarris later pointed out on Twitter, there are only TWO above average players on the entire roster in Miami … and one of them, J.T. Realmuto, is almost certainly on his way out before the start of the season. Florida baseball, man. They just can’t get it right.
It's the playoffs, it's in Australia, but nevertheless we have a…
( (> PLAYER
— Brut® Australian Baseball League (@ABL) January 25, 2019