Crosstown Malaise, Incredible Prospect Month, Oppo Homer Issues, Heuer, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Crosstown Malaise, Incredible Prospect Month, Oppo Homer Issues, Heuer, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Tough week. I hope you’re able to do something nice this weekend for yourself and those around you and maybe even someone you don’t know.

•   The Cubs and White Sox play this weekend at Guaranteed Rate, and I can’t remember feeling this little investment in the outcome of the Crosstown Whatever since the teams started playing in the regular season 25 years ago. There are interesting storylines, yes, but what I mean is, I can’t imagine taking away any kind of special pride from seeing the Cubs win a game or two this year over a much better, and more competitive White Sox club. Wins would be swell, but I guess I’m just hoping there are some interesting things to see. Because the wins – or losses – themselves aren’t really going to do much for me, relative to any other May series.

•   The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won TWICE yesterday, extending their franchise record winning streak to 12 games. I know I keep saying it, but the more they keep dominating that league, the more it starts to skew the calculus a bit: winning in the minor leagues is not “proof” of prospect talent, but when you have a team that is, on average, MUCH younger than the rest of the league, and it is winning every single night … yeah, you probably have a crapload of prospect talent on that team.

•   For example, top 100 prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong, who now also has oppo power:

•   I hope fans in the general area can make it out to Myrtle Beach sooner rather than later if they want to see PCA. I know we talked about the outfield glut ahead of him in the minors, but at some point soon-ish, they’re just gonna HAVE to give him the challenge of High-A so that he can continue developing.

•   And speaking of youngsters at Myrtle Beach who have had a tremendous May and are now showing oppo power:

•   Preciado, who JUST TURNED 19 THIS MONTH, was brutal in April. Maybe even worse than you would expect, despite the very challenging assignment. And then in May? All the guy has done is hit .322/.369/.508/142 wRC+. It’s just a month, so I don’t want to go too far with it, but still. It’s just absurd. ALL OF THESE GUYS ARE DOING ABSURD THINGS.

•   Which reminds me:

•   David Ross is working on a two-game ejection streak. CAN HE MAKE IT THREE TODAY?!!?

•   We’ve got a sponsored relationship with Homage now, makers of some of the ‘classic’ looking gear you may have seen – Cubs stuff here, Bears here, Bulls here, random old TV/movies here, etc. They’ve got a buy one, get one 40% going right now, so check it out. Tons of cool stuff. (It’s originally an Ohio company, so I’ve had their stuff going waaaaay back.)

•   Feel like you’ve seen fewer big league opposite field homers than usual? It’s not just you. They’re waaaaay down this year (like, half what you’d expect in a normal season). It turns out the thinking is that it’s the universal humidor, and its impact on ball spin (via The Athletic): “We’ve done a ton of work on the humidor effect,” one AL exec said. “And one of the things we’ve looked at is the spin of batted balls, because the spin on the baseball has a big impact on how far it goes. … When you’re hitting a home run to the opposite field, it’s impossible to topspin it. You have to backspin it. And when you hit the ball with backspin, it has more humidor effect.” Kinda sounds like the extent to which universal humidors would impact the baseball DEPENDING on the weather was not considered enough before this season.

•   … Then again, it’s complicated stuff, and at least the balls and the storage now are increasingly uniform – do we actually want MLB tinkering with the balls and the humidors trying to anticipate in advance what weather specifically might happen in, say, Miami in September?

•   Much more on Codi Heuer’s injury – why he was pitching through it without realizing his UCL had come off the bone – and more on why there’s optimism that when he does return mid-2023, he could get really good again really quickly:

•   I’ll point out again, though, that when he does come back, the Cubs have him under team control only for that 2023 season, and then two more in arbitration. It’s kinda wild for a guy who has so little big league experience, but that was just the timing of things.

•   If you missed the explanation on the Tommy Pham-Joc Pederson flap, I highly encourage you to check it out. You will not disappointed.

•   Dude’s delivery and pitch movements are just so weird:

•   Herget, 28, is getting great results on great peripherals for the first time in his career, but what’s really weird – especially with that delivery and pitch movement – is that a lot of it is that he walks NO ONE. His walk rate is a comical 2.1%. That, after being a guy just a couple years ago who was walking over 10%. There’s gotta be a fascinating story there.

•   More random Angels fun:

•   In addition to the Javy Báez El Mago’est of El Mago baserunning plays, yesterday and today account for three of my favorite crazy baseball moments:


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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.