Happ Joins the Cubs Speaking Out, Player Development Strides, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Happ Joins the Cubs Speaking Out, Player Development Strides, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

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•   Another Chicago Cubs player has spoken out about the lockout and the CBA negotiations, joining Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras, and Patrick Wisdom. This time it’s the team’s union rep, Ian Happ, who has been closely involved in what’s been happening:

•   As you can see in the article – just as it has been in the behind-the-scenes reporting on the owner side – the luxury tax (CBT) once again takes center stage:

“It’s frustrating when you watch the way the revenues have been increased and the fact the CBT hasn’t kept up with revenues,” Happ said. “For maybe one-third of teams to not even come close to it and to leave themselves some room for whether it’s midseason acquisitions or to not lose draft picks, the penalties have become so severe that it is functioning as a (salary) cap. That’s not what our marketplace is about. We’re supposed to have a free market where players can go out and really get paid their value, and right now, it’s not functioning that way.”

•   Oof. Seems like this would be a useful data point for MLB when they are out there cancelling games:

•   I liked hearing from new Cubs farm director Jared Banner directly on the way pitching development has changed in the organization over the last couple years (something we’ve discussed before). Over at The Tribune, Banner explained that they have overall processes and philosophies that’ll drive things, yes, but you still have to individualize for each pitcher. One broad way they’re doing that is by limiting pitchers to one of three primary developmental focuses at a time: velocity gains, command improvement, or pitch shape improvement (you might think of that one as “stuff”). That’ll be the contextual lens through which I’ll be trying to think about various Cubs pitching prospects this year.

•   And against that backdrop, a great read at The Athletic on the future of player development in baseball and the increasing use of biomechanical data. Interesting the three teams DriveLine’s Kyle Boddy called out for specific mention in their use of technology: the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox, and … the Chicago Cubs. Hmm.

•   To be very clear, there are a LOT of teams that use as much tech as they possibly can to assess players and help with development. There aren’t that many edges to be gained on that front at this point. However, I have heard it multiple times now that the Cubs did go to another level when they overhauled player development starting about three years ago at this point. Since we know player development takes a whole lot of lead time (and since the early data do suggest the Cubs have gotten better at player development the last two years), you would hope and expect to see some serious fruits this year. Like, way more than even last year, when it was clear there was some progress.

•   More on the local impact of the lockout and the lost games, terribly affecting the businesses around Wrigley that managed to survive a gd pandemic:

•   This is definitely the kind of tier I could see the Bears realistically playing in on the wide receiver front:

•   The boos for Grayson Allen are going to be absolutely voracious:

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.