The Offseason Transition, Hoerner's Power, Baseball's Death, and Other Bullets

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The Offseason Transition, Hoerner’s Power, Baseball’s Death, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Being that I mention podcasts frequently in this space, I reckon I should say at some point what I consider to be my favorite podcast right now: ‘Heavyweight.’ It’s thoughtful, funny, interesting, and really entertaining.

  • At long last, the World Series begins this week. Even when the Cubs are not involved (which, outside of one year in 2016, is every year in the last seven decades), I can’t help but love the heck out of the World Series. It’s thrilling every year to me, with storylines and performances exaggerated, and – perhaps even more importantly – it’s the final baseball thing before the HOPE of the offseason begins. It’s going to be a big one for the Cubs.
  • The transition from season to early offseason: Doug Glanville writes about what it was like for him, and what it’s like not to know when that transition will be your last. As Michael recently wrote, perhaps having this extra transitional time and rest time for the Cubs will be a unique benefit for them compared to the last three years.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
  • Keith Law took a trip to the Arizona Fall League, and saw a variety of prospects, including Cubs lefty Justin Steele (Law saw good velocity, and regards him as a legitimate starting pitching prospect) and infielder Nico Hoerner. On Hoerner, Law digs the baseball instincts and intelligence, but is concerned that his small size will limit his ability to make hard contact consistently.
  • I think that’s always a fair concern with smaller players, though Hoerner has shown success with wood bats and also dramatically improved his launch angle as a Junior at Stanford, so it’s possible – and the Cubs are betting on – he will be able to outpunch his weight class, so to speak. And, as if on cue, Hoerner wound up homering and tripling in his very next AFL game.
  • If you missed it this weekend, the Marlins reportedly landed the Mesa brothers, something the Cubs realistically were not going to be able to do, and it brings up something about the current environment that I want to make sure to reiterate in advance of free agency: “You are reminded that the current CBA environment, both through the draft and international free agency, works very hard to push these kinds of prospects to the smaller-market, lower-revenue clubs. This is done, in theory, to offset the financial advantage big-market, big-revenue clubs will have in signing free agents and extending their own. The system *presumes* organizations like the Cubs will spend significantly at the big league level, so it is reasonable for us – as fans – to expect it.”
  • It’s wild to see “baseball is dying” stuff at CNN of all places, and while I think that conversation point has been overstated since it started being stated when the sport was 10 years old, I do actually think the points raised in this particular piece are well put. I remain of the mind that the sport has to be proactive about keeping the game optimally enjoyable to watch for not only hardcore fans (like most of us), but also for more casual fans who can help keep the fandom going into the next generation. Sure, you’re going to share the sport with your kids, but casual fans? Unless you help get them just a little more into it, then I’m not so sure that’ll happen. And *that* is how a sport dies – it doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a single generation. Super short version? I think I believe it is in the best interests of the sport to increase the level of action on the field by reducing both walks and strikeouts.
  • Among the Deals of the Day today at Amazon, a huge discount on the Instant Pot, which I’m told is a very good deal.
  • So … close … sigh:

Author: Brett Taylor

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