Cubs Prospect Notes: Horton's Big Slider, Minor League Rules, Marquee All Over the Minors, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Horton’s Big Slider, Minor League Rules, Marquee All Over the Minors, More

Chicago Cubs

Some Cubs prospect stuff for you, and also some minor league rules stuff …

  • Chicago Cubs 2022 first round pick Cade Horton is getting SO CLOSE to making his pro debut, and I think he’s gotta be one most anticipated debuts this year for Cubs fans simply because we haven’t seen him yet. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis was at Cubs camp this week, and it sounds like he was very impressed by what he saw from Horton:
  • There are a small handful of minor league rules changes this year, which are always worth paying attention to since they are often a precursor to big league changes. As BA reports, the “pie slice” shift rule will be in the Florida State League, second base MAY move slightly at some point during the season to further reduce the distances, the automatic balls and strikes system will be employed in a variety of ways, and there are slight tweaks to the pitch clock. Levels below Triple-A will also be shaving one second off of their pitch clock with runners on base – last year, it was 19 seconds (MLB is 20), and this year it’ll be 18. At Triple-A, it’ll remain 19 seconds. With the bases empty, the minor league timer will remain 14 seconds (MLB is 15).
  • Also, the Southern League will be testing out “enhanced grip” baseballs for the first half of the season, which is notable because that’s where the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate plays. It’ll be interesting to see if we notice anything funky in the performance of the Tennessee Smokies.
  • For any prospect fans among you, Marquee Sports Network today announced that they will once again be covering the Cubs minor league teams in 2023 by way of whiparound coverage and live games:
  • From the Marquee release:


Airing on 12 dates throughout 2023, Road to Wrigley Live presented by Prevagen showcases all the night’s action from across from the Cubs minor league system in a whiparound, Red Zone-style format, including live look-ins at the biggest at-bats and moments from the Cubs top prospects, as well as game highlights and analysis from Marquee analysts, including Lance Brozdowski, Elise Menaker, Ryan Sweeney, Jim Callis and more.

Debuting in 2022, Road to Wrigley Live was recently named a finalist for Best New Sports Show by Cynopsis Media in the 2023 Sports Media Awards. The first 2023 edition of Road to Wrigley Live presented by Prevagen is slated for Friday, April 7. The full schedule is attached and also available at


Marquee is airing a network-high 40 live Cubs-affiliated minor league games this season, including at least eight games from all four Cubs full-season affiliates: Iowa (Triple-A), Tennessee (Double-A), South Bend (High-A) and Myrtle Beach (Low-A). The first minor league game on Marquee Sports Network is scheduled for Thursday, April 6 as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans host the Charleston RiverDogs. The full schedule [is] available at

  • Are we counting Nick Burdi as a Cubs prospect? On the one hand, the 30-year-old righty has three seasons’ worth of big league experience already. On the other hand, the Cubs got him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft because injuries derailed his trajectory and have left him feeling more like a prospect on the rebound than a multi-year big league reliever.
  • Anyway, Burdi has been impressive in Cubs camp on the basis of raw ability (a triple-digit fastball and a nasty slider), and it’s not impossible to imagine him getting another big league shot this year after spending some time at Triple-A Iowa. It’s been a terrible grind for him the last few years because of a second Tommy John surgery and then another surgery to deal with scar tissue from that second TJS, but Burdi wants to push for as long as he can:
  • Speaking of hard-throwing righties, Max Bain is already up to 98 mph, and I wonder if we’ll see a further bump now that he’s full-time in relief (or at least I assume he is, after moving to the bullpen late last year at Tennessee):
  • If Riley Thompson can stay healthy, there’s big league potential there still:

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.