The snow has come. I’m happy that the kids are happy, but outside of playing with them, I just have no interest in snow. It looks nice for 5 seconds, and is otherwise deeply annoying. Get outta here, frozen water. Nobody likes you.
• MLB has started rolling out its announcements on how some of the contracted (from affiliation) minor league teams will stay attached to pro baseball. First, there’s a new Draft League, which will provide draft-eligible players the opportunity to play some more in front of MLB scouts in advance of the draft:
— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) November 30, 2020
• Note that the Draft has been moved to mid-July*, so you could be looking at a solid eight weeks of playing time for draft-eligible prospects who aren’t involved in tournaments after the regular season. And then the league will apparently run through the draft into August, so you could conceivably draft a guy, and then follow his performance to make sure you want to sign at X price:
Idea is for this is to serve MLB scouting interests, Chuck Greenberg said. Players can be added as their college teams seasons end.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) November 30, 2020
*(If you missed that stuff about the Draft timing, I don’t blame you, because it came out right in the final week of the season when attentions were elsewhere. The Draft has been moved back a month, and will now take place starting on Sunday, July 11, right after the Futures Game, and then the following Monday and Tuesday, before the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. I have mixed feelings about whether it’s better for baseball to max out on attention during those three days, or to have two marquee events at different times. The league has struggled, badly, with spotlighting the draft, though, so I can’t blame them for trying something new.)
• Elsewhere, the former rookie ball Pioneer League is becoming an Independent League, partnered with MLB:
Pro ball stays in the Pioneer League as the eight clubs are set to become an independent MLB Partner League.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) November 30, 2020
• As we’ve seen with the Atlantic League, MLB’s first partnered indy league, the relationship not only affords teams information access, but also allows MLB to test out various rules changes to see how they play.
• With these two announcements, you have to figure we’re getting close to the official announcement on which affiliates are going to be with which organizations, and which leagues they will be in. The “Winter Meetings,” such as they are this year, are scheduled for next week. Wonder if that’s when the announcement comes. In a typical year, that’s when you’d expect a big minor league news drop like that.
• A fun read from Jordan Bastian at Cubs.com, with the five best position player seasons in Cubs history. Without scrolling, I came up with three of them off the top of my head, and I’m pretty pleased with that. I don’t want to spoil the fun of you checking them out, but I want to share the top spot, which I suspect most of you would guess was in the top five, at least:
The Cubs acquired [Rogers] Hornsby from the Boston Braves in the midst of his prime for five players and $200,000. Then the Hall of Famer turned in a performance in 1929 that remains the single-season club record for WAR by a position player both via FanGraphs (11.1) and Baseball Reference (10.4).
In 156 games, Hornsby racked up 229 hits and scored 156 runs — both single-season franchise records to this day. The second baseman logged a .380/.459/.679 slash line to go along with 39 home runs, 47 doubles, eight triples and 149 RBIs. Hornsby drew 87 walks and struck out just 65 times.
Hornsby took home the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award (called the League Award at the time) after helping power the 1929 Cubs to the World Series. Alas, the Philadelphia Athletics held him to a 5-for-21 (.238) showing and defeated Chicago in five games.
• I share that in part because I think it’s fun to think about how people would react today. “Yeah, Hornsby had a great season, but we gave up five dang players and a load of money to get him, and then he STUNK in the World Series! We haven’t won the dang thing in over 20 years!”
• Both, simultaneously:
Choose your swagger: pic.twitter.com/3DdAAzsUBt
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 30, 2020
• Toy boxes, speakers, massagers, clothes, books, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• You better know the answer to this trivia question:
Charlie Morton is one of 5 *active* pitchers with World Series starts for 2+ teams. Only one of the other 4 has won World Series starts for more than one team. Name him! pic.twitter.com/NZAbOCFuZP
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 1, 2020
• Fun bit of history:
• Random ranking:
2. Peanut Butter
6. Dark Chocolate
10. Caramel pic.twitter.com/bxDLJemILB
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) December 1, 2020