If you’re traveling today for the holiday ahead, I hope all goes smoothly and safely. Today will mostly be a normal day around here, and tomorrow will also feature at least the usual round of Bullets. But after Bullets tomorrow, you’ll probably see a lull, both because there won’t be much going on, and also because I will be getting my fill of family and food.
- MLB Pipeline recently did an overview of the Cubs’ farm system, and although I think anything like that is worth a read if you’re a prospect hound, I’d caution that a lot of “sentiment” on individual prospects and farm systems will shift over the next month or two, as more reports, conversations, etc., take place between teams, scouts, third party services, and more. Will the Cubs still be ranked in the bottom third of farm systems entering 2020? Almost certainly. But will they likely be more in the 21-24 range than the 27-30 range they were in last year? I suspect yes. Progress from there as the structural overhaul takes root? I also bet yes.
- OK, but anyway, one other very interesting thing I wanted to share from that Pipeline piece: of the org’s current top 30 prospects on Pipeline’s list, every single one except Robel Garcia was originally drafted or IFA-signed by the Cubs. And since Garcia was off to play in Italy for years after flaming out of the Indians’ system, he’s really more like an IFA signing at this point. That means the Cubs and the Rockies are the only lists where every single prospect came internally.
- What does that tell us? Well, a couple things: (1) the Cubs haven’t acquired any meaningful prospects in trade in a very long time; and (2) the Cubs have enough decent prospects already that the waiver-wire-type additions don’t show up in the very back end of the list like they do for some other orgs. In other words, having your entire top 30 being homegrown is kind of a mixed bag. In the Cubs’ case, it’s a credit to their internally-created depth (though lack of high-end impact is still the main issue), but it’s also a reminder that they haven’t been able to pull off any really creative prospect-acquiring trades during the competitive window.
- One of those prospects is 2019 second rounder Chase Strumpf, who’ll need his bat to carry him, and so far so good:
You think Chase Strumpf has some pull-side power?
• #Cubs 2nd round draft pick this year out of @UCLABaseball
• 146 wRC+ for @EugeneEmeralds in 2019
• .405 OBP for the Ems in 111 plate appearances
• Bat-first second baseman could advance through the system quickly pic.twitter.com/byaE7RDVDJ
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) November 25, 2019
- And speaking of Robel … it’s just so hard not to dream on the very, very unlikely possibility his contact rate transforms fundamentally, and is a really nice bench player for the Cubs as soon as this year:
Robel Garcia playing pretty well lately in the Dominican Winter League, with batting line up to 245/387/391.
Strikeout rate is down to 21.2% while walk rate is holding at 17.5%.
The league average hitter is 242/317/333, so he’s been a healthy amount above average.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 26, 2019
- Make sure you check in on the Black Friday deals countdown at Amazon. There’s a constant stream of big lightning deals that don’t last long, so it’s worth taking a look when you have a chance.
- The Cubs/Marquee made official their hire of WGN legend Bob Vorwald as a special advisor, and he’ll contribute in a variety of ways to the new network: “With his long history producing Cubs baseball broadcasts, Vorwald will bring his expansive knowledge of the storied franchise to the network’s production team, helping create engaging and unique broadcast segments that highlight the deep history of the club and pay homage to the beauty and charm of Wrigley Field. A lifelong Cubs fan and Chicago sports broadcast veteran, Vorwald joins Marquee Sports Network from WGN Television where he served as executive producer of WGN Sports since 1998, covering all local Chicago sports teams including the Cubs and Chicago White Sox. With his role at Marquee Sports Network, Vorwald also will continue to serve as director of production at WGN-TV.”
- Nutmeg isn’t just for holiday drinks:
2019 PitchingNinja Award for Curveball of the Year. 🏆
Charlie Morton. Nutmeg. pic.twitter.com/Yvfvl5ptmC
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 27, 2019
- A reminder of just how huge going deep in the postseason can be for players who don’t make the big bucks:
MLB's 2019 postseason shares have been announced. Here's the breakdown: pic.twitter.com/9Zlhj6geig
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 26, 2019
- Something good:
To you: #MerryChristmasJustin!
To all: The world is wide and full of so many people. We are lucky to have people like Justin in it – people who simply want to experience their best life in a joyful, connected way. I hope he really feels it from this idea. I hope we all do. https://t.co/9D4T6FqmSJ
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) November 27, 2019