Miller and the AAA Rotation Challenge, Love for Strumpf, Jeffress, and Other Cubs Bullets | Bleacher Nation

Social Navigation

Miller and the AAA Rotation Challenge, Love for Strumpf, Jeffress, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I learned later that, unfortunately, the traffic accidents that shut down our city yesterday morning started in an initial overnight accident, where a 38-year-old man from my city – a father – passed away. That one hit home. Thoughts going out to his family, because I cannot imagine. Or maybe I don’t want to.

  • What a great read on Tyson Miller, one of the Cubs’ best pitching prospects, who was owning fools at AA, got the bump to AAA, and was absolutely destroyed:

  • What I like best in there is that we all know how easy it would be to point to the juiced ball at AAA as the issue – just look at the insane numbers! – but Miller focuses on the hitters being better, more selective, more plan-oriented. He sees what happened, clearly, as an opportunity to better understand how to approach more sophisticated hitters, which is something you do start to see for the first time en masse at AAA.
  • To be sure, though, pitchers *do* have to adjust to the ball, itself now. Not only is it going to travel further, but the seams being different means adjusting the grip and tweaking mechanics to adjust for the way the ball moves differently. It absolutely sucks that this might be the reality at AAA for a while, but it’ll suddenly be a weird kind of additional proving ground for pitching prospects: can you adjust to better hitters AND a totally different baseball.
  • For Miller’s part, he thinks he started to figure some things out at the end of the year, and he did, indeed, have some nice starts (especially relative to league average) at the end of the season. He was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and he’ll be in the AAA Iowa rotation on day one, together with Colin Rea, as one of the sure things. Cory Abbott might get the deserved bump from AA, and there are other guys like Matt Swarmer, Brock Stewart, Duncan Robinson (returning from surgery), who could fill things out. Then there are guys like Adbert Alzolay and Jharel Cotton who could be in the AAA rotation if they aren’t in the big league bullpen or rotation.
  • While we’re on Cubs prospects, love in here for Chase Strumpf, the Cubs’ second rounder last year, who ranks 8th:

  • Bryan just wrote up Strumpf yesterday, and he’s a prospect you need to know. The thing about him is that pretty much everyone agrees that the bat is that of a top 100-type prospect. He’s young and low-level still, but it’s a legit and projectable bat. The rub is that he had a down junior season at UCLA, missed some time last year, and there are questions about whether he can handle second base at the higher levels. If Strumpf were a capable shortstop, he’s probably a top 50 prospect in baseball to many. That’s how big of a value difference that can make. But let’s just take it as a compliment to the bat, for now, which was a great get for the Cubs in the second round.
  • BA, by the way, ranks Strumpf 5th in the Cubs’ system, just behind the big four at the top, putting a 60 hit grade on him (that’s huge) and a 55 power. That combination … if he actually develops into that bat? That’s an All-Star-caliber bat. Let’s just hope it develops, and the defense comes with it.
  • More background on the Cubs’ newest signing (not official yet, still need to open a 40-man spot):

  • Ooh, bring it with you to Wrigleyville, Jeremy:

  • Former Cubs reliever Tony Barnette, who had a challenging final season with the Cubs (which ended on the restricted list for reasons that were not explained), is hanging ’em up. That was one of those late-offseason, low-cost signings that just didn’t work out at all. Same with Xavier Cedeño. Same with Brad Brach. Actually, none of those worked out last year, including the latest one of all, Craig Kimbrel. Here’s hoping he salvages that one starting in March.
  • Puzzles, PC gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad
  • The Bears made a very solid signing last night, and I got pulled into Bears duty. We’re versatile around here:

  • Hector Villanueva seemed cool:

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.