Evaluating David Ross, NL Central Draft Winners, and Other Cubs Bullets
The thing where the Cubs get rained out on Sunday and then don’t come out of the All-Star break until a Friday night game in Arizona is the pits, man. I mean, I know they’ve been playing poorly, but I didn’t want to have to wait nearly a full week between viewings. (Cubs are going to make this a freezing cold take on Friday night, aren’t they?)
• An understandable at-the-break topic for a team that is on the fade: is David Ross still the right manager for the Cubs? That’s what Patrick Mooney looks at, and as you might expect, the real answer here is that everyone knew what was potentially coming for the Cubs when they hired Ross. If this team sinks in 2021, that isn’t going to be laid at Ross’s feet, a guy this front office has long seen as a long-term, highly-successful manager. It’d be like jettisoning a prospect because he didn’t over-produce in his second season (after a really impressive showing in short-season ball the year before). Ross is under contract through next year, with a team option for the next season.
• From Jed Hoyer, in the Mooney piece: “David’s fantastic. He comes to the park every day, he’s the same guy. When he walks in, it’s a new day. I think he expresses frustration at the right times. I think he gives a guy a pat on the back at the right times. He’s one of the best communicators — and one of the best connectors of people — that I’ve been around. David’s a star.”
• From where I sit, I still don’t feel like I have enough sure fire info on whether Ross is great or terrible (though his in-game moves, bullpen management, and COVID handling last year suggest, to me, that he’s more likely to be great than terrible). I just want more time and data, especially after the Cubs sell off. What happens to the clubhouse? What happens to younger player development? I think the second half of this season could wind up being very, very valuable to the organization – and to Ross’s own development – if those involved play it right. I think we’re gonna be in a much better position to offer up comments and perspective in October.
• Keith Law broke down the NL Central drafts here, and he was particularly fond of what the Pirates and Reds did. For the Cubs, he seemed perfectly complimentary of the first four rounds, and sees them much like others do: Jordan Wicks was a safe but good pick in the first (the best college lefty in the draft), lots of risk but lots of upside in Triantos-Gray-Franklin in two through four. You want some other wins to emerge from the draft, without question, but the earliest takeaway does seem to be that the Cubs pinned most of their success or failure on the top four rounds (which, well, is usually true, but maybe even moreso this year for the Cubs, especially in a 20-round draft).
• Interestingly, Baseball America ALSO placed the Pirates and Reds among their top four classes, which is within the context of where they were drafting. Now, it depends a great deal on who actually gets signed, and how a class looks on draft day can vary QUITE wildly from where it winds up a few years down the road. But still, multiple evaluators see a couple NL Central opponents has having had a great week.
• This really is a win for baseball when you consider how things have gone on the ratings side for all sports (all traditional TV content, actually) over the past few years:
Ratings for the game essentially flat. But given ratings challenges in many spots elsewhere, this will still be seen as a win. https://t.co/Hw9Wb5t81O
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBG) July 14, 2021
• Josh Zeid is the Rehab Pitching Coordinator and a Pitching Coach in the Cubs organization, and also a former big league and minor league pitcher. He last appeared in the affiliated minors four years ago, which makes what he’s accomplished here all the more cool:
Thanks for the support! https://t.co/ingDgnn0PV
— Josh Zeid (@Josh_Zeid14) July 15, 2021
• For those of you staunchly opposed to the wave at Wrigley Field:
Looks like some sizes are still available, so jump on it: https://t.co/tfVG74h3XN https://t.co/hylD4SsriE
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 14, 2021
• What a great shot:
Don Zimmer quite lonely out there pic.twitter.com/k73mG3GJvS
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) July 15, 2021
• It’s not just rumor season for the Cubs. Big-time rumor season for the Blackhawks, so make sure you’re following our coverage there, too! Follow on Twitter here, and please like on Facebook here: