Cubs Prospects in the Futures Game, Awkward Anniversary, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cubs Prospects in the Futures Game, Awkward Anniversary, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs head to Cincinnati tonight, where they just haven’t seemed to fare well lately. Actually. Wait. Gonna check myself on the fly as I type – let’s see, the Cubs dropped the series 1-2 in Cincy earlier this year, went 4-3 there last year, and went 4-6 there in 2019. Eh, that’s actually really not all that remarkable. Well, 3-6 there in 2018, so maybe there’s a little bit of bad taste? 12-17 in the last 29 games there. It’s not good. It’s just not as bad as I thought it was gonna be.

•   Although the Cubs did not land a starter in the position player voting for the All-Star Game, they DID land two prospects on the NL Futures Game roster: outfielder Brennen Davis, and reliever Manny Rodriguez.

•   From David Ross on the selections (Marquee):

“The athleticism, the ability to go get the ball, run the bases, the physique in what he looks like and continue to develop at such a young age,” Ross said [of Davis]. “I think that’s just super positive to be around that environment of the Futures Game, other future stars, guys you end up competing against and playing with. Those are really cool things.

“Things I was never able to be a part of but always from an outside perspective, it’s like the ultimate All-Star Game as a minor leaguer to say, wow, you’re really on the radar to be an everyday big-leaguer. That’s such a huge accomplishment for those guys and happy for them.”

“Manny’s been through a lot — some ups and downs with the injuries and getting back,” Ross said. “He’s starting to throw the ball well, just got promoted. Really good for him.”

•   You know the story with Davis, the top prospect in the Cubs’ system, who is going through his adjustments at Double-A (at age 21, and having played just 50 games of Low-A ball in his career before this season – always keep that perspective). He’s currently hitting .232/.351/.354 (104 wRC+) with funky peripherals – taking TONS of walks, striking out A TON, and not yet hitting for much power. The last two weeks, though, he’s at .286/.375/.452 (133) with the strikeouts ticking down and the power ticking up. That’s really all you want to see: progress through the season, and adjustments on adjustments. It’s one of the things we love most about Davis – he faces the struggles, and then he adjusts.

•   As for Rodriguez, he popped up in 2019 at High-A, was Rule 5 eligible, so the Cubs had to protect him. He got injured early in Spring Training 2020, and missed the year (which wouldn’t have included much anyway because of the pandemic). So he only just got his first taste of Double-A this season, made 13 appearances, and it was pretty clear he was ready for Triple-A. It’s possible he’ll see big league time before the year is up – since he’s already on the 40-man, he can be shuttled up and down as needed – but I suspect the Cubs would do it only if (1) they felt it was good for his development to see some big league action, and/or (2) the Cubs were back tight in the race and felt his explosive arm could really help them.

•   Nico Hoerner got four at bats last night with Iowa, and you wonder if that’ll be that for his rehab stint. If he were ready to be activated today, the Cubs could then put someone like Anthony Rizzo on the IL (backdated) so they aren’t playing AS shorthanded. Or maybe it’s Kris Bryant who goes on the IL. Or maybe neither. We know that SOME kind of move is coming today, one way or another, because Tommy Nance has already been optioned back to Iowa with no corresponding move.

•   The circumstances today are obviously rather changed, but it was still a historic trade:


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•   I don’t think the Cubs will actually pull the trigger today, but it would certainly be an odd fit if Jake Arrieta were DFA’d on the anniversary of the trade. That, uh, would be awkward.

•   Something very nice and positive:

•   The Dodgers are facing an absolute shitstorm if they allow Trevor Bauer, alleged to have engaged in a very serious assault, to make his next start this weekend. There are legal and league investigations ongoing, which gives MLB the authority to put Bauer on administrative leave for the time being (a seemingly very easy decision), but they haven’t yet. Which leaves the Dodgers able to cop out and do the wrong thing:

•   Eno Sarris takes his first look at the post-enforcement era to confirm, yes, spin rates across baseball are down for most pitchers (54% of pitchers are down a standard deviation (115 RPM) or two). But the catch is that we’re not necessarily seeing results – fewer whiffs, for example – across baseball. It’s still very early, though.

•   Justin Steele, who could return soon, is hamming it up:

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.