The Need for (Pitching) Speed, Premium Prospect Velocity, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Need for (Pitching) Speed, Premium Prospect Velocity, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Boy asked me to yank out one of his teeth yesterday, which shocked me, because he has historically been extraordinarily nervous about such things. I’d offered before, but he always avoided it. This time, he said it had been loose for so long and he was tired of having to bite food only with the side of his mouth, so that’s why he came to me. That’s a lot of pressure on a dad, though, you know? If I pulled and failed on the initial try, it was gonna hurt and he was probably gonna freak. So when I gripped that tooth, it was like I was holding the last donut – I was absolutely getting that thing no matter what. Total success. Funny post-script was him saying, “Oh, wow, that didn’t hurt at all, and it didn’t even bleed!” as blood literally came down his chin. I’m like, “Yeah, buddy, totally [*wipes his face quickly*]”

•   The Rays evened up the World Series at one with a 6-4 win last night, getting out to a big lead early, and then hanging on:

•   The velocity in the series remains something to behold, with nearly every pitcher who takes the mound throwing an easy 95 mph, and then so many dudes gassing up to 98-100 mph. It’s hard not to be in awe as a Cubs fan, who is used to raising eyebrows when a guy bumps it up to 94 mph. We know that velocity isn’t the be-all-end-all, but we also know how much it increases the margins for error. The Cubs elected, for years, to target higher-floor, lower-risk types in the draft (in part because they spent early draft capital on positional guys, and in part because they thought they could develop upward from a higher-floor), a philosophy that got them a ton of dudes who didn’t flame out before AA, but also no impact emergences. Thankfully, that philosophy changed about three years ago (and the development infrastructure changed completely last year), but the fruits will take some time to actually show up in the big leagues.

•   But those fruits are coming. Right now, your biggest velo guys to dream on for the Cubs are Brailyn Marquez (you know him), Ryan Jensen (Cubs 2019 first rounder who touches 100 mph), Burl Carraway (Cubs 2020 second rounder with some of the best pitches Cubs have ever seen), Luke Little (Cubs 2020 fourth rounder who was last seen throwing 105 mph in a practice session (LOL)),  Michael McAvene (Cubs 2019 third rounder who sits 98+ mph), Yovanny Cruz (2016 IFA signing who reaches 98-99 mph), and Manny Rodriguez (the reliever who was put on the Cubs’ 40-man last fall straight out of High-A, and who touches 99 mph). There are more guys in the system who can crank it into the upper-90s, of course, and there are guys who sit mid-90s that you hope, developmentally, the Cubs can add even more velocity.

•   Oh, but a note on velocity not being everything – Dustin May throws as hard as anyone, but:

•   Anyway, the World Series now actually gets a day off – the first in-series off-day of the postseason – before resuming on Friday, when Walker Buehler will face Charlie Morton.

•   The ratings on Game One were either really bad or really solid, depending on your framing:

•   The point there is that these kinds of primetime sports events have all been way down this year (NBA and NFL, too), which appears to be the continued fracturing of interest thanks to so many more on-demand entertainment options. It’s just something that all sports will be grappling with over the coming years. That said, Game One was the least-viewed World Series game ever. The trend lines are ugly, even when you account for the Rays market and it being a Tuesday night.

•   Space:

•   Heads up to the biggest sale at Obvious Shirts ever – 40% off, free shipping, just a ridiculous deal:

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.