MiLB Fighting Back, Nico's Work, Pitching Prospects in the AFL, and Other Cubs Bullets

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MiLB Fighting Back, Nico’s Work, Pitching Prospects in the AFL, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It took me longer than I wanted, but I finally got to watch ‘El Camino,’ the ‘Breaking Bad’ movie that was put together in near secret for most of its production, and then released earlier this month on Netflix. What a nice coda that was to the series, especially for the bit-time fans who just desperately want as much as they can get from that universe. As a standalone movie, I don’t think you could say it was great, and I also think it would have rated as kinda down the list on ‘Breaking Bad’ episodes if you considered it that way. But absolutely still good and enjoyable for BB fans.

  • With the Astros winning last night, there are two off-days before the start of the World Series, so it’s possible we’ll see some managerial announcements around the game. For the Cubs, if they go with an internal candidate or Joe Girardi, they could make an announcement today or tomorrow. But if they’re not quite ready yet, or if they want to go with Joe Espada (or interview someone like Yankees bench coach Josh Bard), it might still be a while yet. It’s not impossible that we’d learn about Espada before the World Series is over, but it’s not necessarily likely. I will say the chances he’s the guy go up dramatically if Tuesday arrives and there has been no word.
  • It didn’t take long for MiLB to respond publicly to the leaked proposal by MLB to take a hacksaw to 25% of minor league teams. In short, MiLB ain’t lovin’ it:

  • When you read the piece, I gotta tell you, neither MLB *nor* MiLB come off especially good. It reads like a giant pissing contest where very few involved are actually thinking or caring a lick about the players. At least MiLB is trying to protect certain communities from losing affiliated baseball, but even they agree that the facilities for the identified 42 clubs are substandard, and apparently they aren’t interested in paying to upgrade them. According to MLB, it was actually MiLB who signaled they’d be open to reducing affiliated clubs rather than paying to get them to where they need to be. And if that’s true, a lot of my sympathy for MiLB goes out the window, and instead I just become frustrated by both sides failing to recognize the critical importance of having ACCESSIBLE professional baseball in as many cities/areas as possible for the long-term health of the sport.
  • We know that Nico Hoerner still has some things to work on before he’ll really be the best version of himself in the big leagues, but, overall, he feels like he belongs ( “It’s both getting results, but also just the feeling in your gut that the same things you’ve done your whole life well, you still do well. And the same things you need to work on continue to be true. It’s a place where, when you do have things you need to work on, they get exposed quickly. But we also have great resources here to work on your game. So, there’s both sides of it. I think it’s been awesome. It’s staying present and winning each game and at-bat and pitch, but also developing at the same time. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that, just because I’m here, the development stops or anything like that. I’ve learned more than ever here.” Odds are good that Hoerner opens the 2020 season at AAA Iowa, working to continue improving his selectivity at the plate so that he can really punish the ball, as opposed to only making a whole lot of contact. I love his odds to do it, because he is extremely coachable, and barely has a single full professional year under his belt.
  • Books, juicers, and weighted blankets are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon. I know weighted blankets might not be for everyone, but I love mine. I always liked the part of the dentist visit where they did the X-rays and had to put the lead blanket thing on you. So much pressure. It’s nice. It’s comforting. Gonna add another one today with this deal. (Note that BN is a part of the Amazon Associate program, so we earn revenue from qualifying purchases at Amazon through our links. Thanks for reading.)
  • Anyone else noticing how all the Cubs pitching prospects in the AFL this year are dominating:

  • To be sure, guys like Thompson, Jordan Minch, Erich Uelmen, and Scott Effross are not necessarily future IMPACT guys in the big leagues, but all absolutely have the ability to be big league contributors. So to get good performances out of them in the AFL, which is also so hitter-friendly, is really pleasing. Thompson and Uelmen are there to make up innings they lost to injury, Effross is there to continue working on his new sidearm delivery, and Minch is there – I’m guessing – to see if his evolution this year as a higher-strikeout reliever justifies considering him for the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, for which he’s eligible. I don’t see it happening, but it’s fun that he’s up to 12 K in just 8.0 innings of AFL work (1 BB).
  • More prospecting fun over here at Cubs Insider, with seven prospects who could be breakout types next year. What’s fun is that the entire list is comprised of guys we really like (Cole Roederer, Chase Strumpf, Nelson Maldonado, Riley Thompson, Cam Sanders, Michael McAvene, and Richard Gallardo), and none are in that very top tier of Cubs prospects. Heck, you could make an argument that only Roederer is a lock to be a consensus top ten Cubs prospect in the offseason ranking period, and yet all of these guys really could be breakout types next year – mostly because it reflects how the Cubs have taken much bigger swings lately on the amateur side.
  • I know that Joe Buck gets grief for a lot of reasons, but he does seem to do very, very well in these moments:

  • Such a cool moment, too. Baseball is fun.

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.