Fun with Fastballs and Old Friends, Partnering with JD, Prospect Development, and Other Cubs Bullets

I’ve been watching ‘The Mandalorian’ each week with The Little Boy, but he doesn’t always want to watch it RIGHT AWAY, which is fine for him because he doesn’t have to navigate spoilers on the interwebs for several days while he gets himself into the perfect mood to watch. Come on, bro. Help a blogger out.

•   Landing on this chart requires sufficient health and longevity to throw a lot of pitches, a good fastball, and then a penchant for locating in a particular zone – thus, fun to see a few Cubs showing up:

•   Gotta love how Jon Lester works north-south, east-west. He’s staying up and away from righties (and busting lefties up and in), and then coming down and in to righties so that he can pair the fastball with his cutter and his curveball. It’s how a lefty like him has been so successful against righties for so long (well, together with all the other stuff he does well).

•   That all hits me as a random reminder that the Cubs’ rotation, as of this moment, remains Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and so many question marks. We obviously believe Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills will get two of the spots, and we also believe the Cubs do have lots of interesting MLB-adjacent starting pitching depth, but in the last six years, the Cubs have *never* gone into a season with that kind of setup. There have *always* been at least four clear, obvious, sure-fire, no-doubt, established starting pitchers, and then maybe a competition at the five spot. But with spending where it is, and with a desire in 2021 to give young guys innings to see what’s what, I’m still expecting that the Cubs will not necessarily add a sure-fire guy from here. They’ll add *someone* (or someones), but I suspect they’ll be in the buy-low, high-risk, upside mold.

•   Also, I see you Dan Haren and John Lackey.

•   Friends moving on:

•   At present, the presumption is that Jim Deshaies will remain the color man in the booth for Marquee next year, so in searching for Len Kasper’s replacement, the fit with Deshaies and the rapport between them will be a consideration. JD is at his best when he has some free rein to move around from game-play feedback to stupid humor (which I mean in a complimentary way), and then gets bounced back at for a bit. He and Kasper had become effortless at it, and without that rhythm, a lot of what JD does will not land or will feel stilted/forced.

•   Jon Greenberg jokes here, but he also has a great name for the Cubs to explore in Mets radio play-by-play man Wayne Randazzo, who is from the Chicago area and previously called Kane County Cougars games when they were in the Cubs farm system:

•   Something that’s going to be really weird after the baseball shutdown, especially at the minor league level? Seeing some prospects that we haven’t seen in a year and a half or more, particularly the younger guys. For example, look at what Bryan just caught – it’s Cubs middle infield prospect Luis Verdugo, now 20, looking like he has the frame for some serious power projection:

•   We last saw Verdugo when he was an 18-year-old in Rookie Ball, putting up really strong numbers. That’s a performance and age, especially from a middle infielder, that puts you on the prospect radar (which it did). But in a normal world, we would’ve learned a shitload about him in the intervening year and a half, during which time he could have fallen completely off the map, or continued developing to the point where he was a tip-top prospect heading into 2021. As it stands, we just flat out don’t know. And it’s going to be like that all across baseball, not just the Cubs farm system. If there’s a minor league season in 2021, we’re going to be shocked by so many performances and physical traits (for good and bad). But if we can start with Verdugo, dude is looking really good from a physical development standpoint.

•   I mean, heck, I feel like I can see significant filling out even from just this March:

•   Cookware, mattress toppers, books, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Memories, indeed:

https://twitter.com/IowaCubs/status/1335368882568241152

•   This is fun:

•   This is also fun:

•   The Cubs and Lakeview Pantry are still taking donations at Wrigley Field (by the Cubs Shop at Gallagher Way):

•   Wildness this morning for Bears fans:

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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