Cubs Prospect Notes: Davis Again, Reed Shines, Mule As a Two-Way Prospect, Developing Hitters, Special Uniforms, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Davis Again, Reed Shines, Mule As a Two-Way Prospect, Developing Hitters, Special Uniforms, More

Chicago Cubs

I am a sucker for all things Marvel and Minor League Baseball Fun, so mashing the two together is very much in my wheelhouse:

The Iowa Cubs and South Bend Cubs are both participating, so we’ll see what those logos look like when they drop.

Elsewhere from the Cubs prospecting world …

  • Brennen Davis doubled and walked twice in yesterday’s Mesa Solar Sox game (where they scored 19 runs):
  • Davis was the only Cubs position player in the game, but pitching prospect Sheldon Reed got the final 1.1 innings, and was the only pitcher on the Solar Sox (and one of only two in the entire game) to record a scoreless appearance. Offense was clearly popping. Reed came into a bases loaded situation, got a strikeout to end it, and then finished up the game with a 1-2-3 8th inning (yes, they ended it at 8 innings).
  • These really are nasty-looking breaking balls from a high school pitching prospect who also touches 100 mph, oh and also plays shortstop and hits:
  • Nazier Mule was drafted in the 4th round by the Cubs, who paid him an over-slot bonus to sign. The talk at the time was that the Cubs would focus on his development as a pitcher (you can see why), but the Cubs never said they would close the door on him being a two-way guy, and he’s been participating with position players at instructs, too. I think you probably go ahead and let him do it for as long as you can without it negatively impacting his development at whichever spot you see his best ceiling/floor combo.
  • It’s incredibly difficult to actually reach the big leagues as a two-way prospect. The Rays, for example, have been trying to develop Brendan McKay that way for five years, after making him the 4th overall pick in the 2017 draft. After a number of injuries, the Rays decided to have him just focus on pitching this year, but unfortunately McKay’s elbow popped in August, and he underwent Tommy John surgery last month. There’s no reason to connect his many injury issues to the attempts to be a two-way player, mind you, but it’s only to say that it hasn’t worked out, and McKay was seen as the best possibility (non-Ohtani division) in years and years.
  • This is a magnificent deep dive on how the Cubs develop position prospects at the lowest levels of the farm system, with a whole lot from Assistant Hitting Coordinator Steven Pollakov, who helped some of the best bats in the system at Myrtle Beach:
  • Among the key bits in there is the consideration given to HOW you communicate with players about their development:

It’s Pollakov and the rest of the hitting development team’s job to translate the cutting-edge data points into a language that players respond well to. That means being very careful about their communication methods. He hit on four major elements to the way messages are communicated to players:

• How messages are being sent. Not all human beings process information in the same way. It’s important for the coaches to understand who they are talking to and understand the individual’s tendencies.

• Who sends those messages. Is a small tweak coming from the manager an efficient way of communicating? What about a major overhaul to a batting stance; who does that come from?

• When the messages are communicated. There might be a laundry list of things a player needs to work on but he doesn’t hear about the second and third fix until weeks later because item number one is the most important and takes the most amount of time.

• When the messages are not communicated. An 0-for-4 night with four punchies is probably not the best time to relay advanced information to a player.

  • Great, great read over at Northside Bound, which is all about Cubs prospects. I have a feeling they’ll have some great stuff to dig into this offseason. Just to put them on your radar if they weren’t already.
  • A couple pitching thoughts from Eric Longenhagen, snagged by Brad:
  • So you can count Longenhagen as among those who are likely going to be paying very close attention to Daniel Palencia next year, and among those who see impact reliever upside for Ben Brown, rather than starting.

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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.