Coaching, Coordinating, Prospecting, and Missing Baseball and Other Bullets

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Coaching, Coordinating, Prospecting, and Missing Baseball and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Bears game and attendant energy surge kept me up far too late last night on the heels of an exhausting weekend, so I’m quite wiped right now. But it sure is nice to have a game to get me all riled up like that in the baseball offseason. I was very into college football for a number of years, but that waned with the arrival of kids and the lack of an ability to lose my Saturday in front of the TV. So it’s basically just been baseball and a whole lot of nothing for me, as a fan. I’m loving having football hitting me in the passion zone once again.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t still frequently find myself wishing it was April. Heck, I’d settle for pitchers and catchers reporting in February. It won’t be until about the first week of December that we’re finally closer to the reporting date than the end of the Cubs’ season.

  • Tons of coaching news around baseball over the weekend, but still nothing official on the Cubs front. They still need an assistant hitting coach, and we still don’t know what is happening with pitching coach Jim Hickey. The silence and slow nature of the process is very odd, but again, with a manager under contract for only one more year, I expect it’s been a bit trickier sledding than you would otherwise expect for an organization like the Cubs.
  • The latest in the Cubs’ Between Starts series, with a look at how the Cubs study video and game plan and make physical adjustments with Advance Scouting and Run Prevention Coordinator Tommy Hottovy, who is clearly awesome at his job, based on the success the Cubs have had (in the aggregate) extracting positive performances from new pitching additions:

  • Great to see some scouting love for Nico Hoerner after the Arizona Fall League:

  • Among the notes in there: Hoerner looks like he can handle shortstop long-term (which is huge for his future value), but projects best as an above-average defensive second baseman. A guy who can play both positions up the middle – and above-average at second – with even a slightly above-average bat? That’a a very valuable player.
  • Speaking of Cubs prospects, MLB Pipeline took a stab at identifying a Rookie of the Year candidate for every club, not an easy task, so you won’t see any criticism from me on their pick of Duane Underwood, Jr. There’s no doubt that Underwood has always had the talent to be a big league rotation contributor – the fastball is legit – but if you were going to pick a starting pitcher to slide into the Cubs rotation (surprisingly, given the big league depth) and break out next year, I think you’d have to go with Adbert Alzolay, who was on that doorstop last year before a lat injury ended his season at AAA.
  • And speaking of AFL prospects, Brewers second base prospect Keston Hiura took home MVP honors after raking. The guy was only drafted in 2017, but he’s reached AA, just hits, and is probably going to be an impact bat for the Brewers as soon as 2019. Be advised.
  • Still dreaming on Maples:

  • Kenley Jansen is having a procedure to correct the irregular heart rhythm that caused him issues this past season. Scary stuff for the Dodgers closer, and best wishes to him on the procedure later this month.
  • Only about five more months …

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  • Toys, tools, clothes, electronics, and free shipping on everything – it’s Black Friday Deals Week at Amazon.
  • DA BEARS beat the Vikings last night in a game that marks a huge swing in the NFC North, and sets the team up for a very, very good chance at their first playoff run in almost a decade:

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.