The Rundown: Brutal Homestand Awaits Cubs, Ortega Continues Hot Streak, Prospect Comps, Red Sox Love Schwarber Addition
“I hope you’re with me… I hope you’re with me when it’s over.” – Loverboy, When It’s Over
Quite a daunting homestand awaits our heroes, these replacement Cubs. After a three-game set with the White Sox, they get the Brewers for four, and once the smoke clears, the Cubs should be in prime position to grab a top-ten pick in next year’s MLB draft. How’s that for quantifying hope? This is the path Jed Hoyer chose for the North Siders, and whether we like it or not, it is what it is. That’s GM-speak for “we’re probably not worth watching, but hey, it’s the White Sox!”
Main Street agrees. Bleacher seats for Sunday’s game, which were selling for $200 and up on the secondary market before Hoyer kicked off The Great Reset, can now be had for as low as $49.50. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that is below face value. I don’t know, because it’s been about 10 years since I was actually able to buy a ticket at its stated retail price.
At any rate, if you’re already trying to decipher what the Cubs’ president of baseball operations is going to do with his premium draft pick, several mocks are already available, including this one from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, though he has yet to make the bold prediction of placing Chicago in his top ten. Mayo has the Cubs selecting 11th overall. Hopefully, Hoyer will steer the ship with the idea of jumping up high enough to select third baseman Jacob Berry of LSU, who could be the successor to Kris Bryant.
In the meantime, I thought I’d provide my personal and quick analysis of Chicago’s revamped farm system while I shop online for my new Rafael Ortega jersey. For each of the premium prospects listed below, I will give you each player’s ceiling/floor/likely outcome in that order. If anything, Baseball-Reference will thank me for the gratuitous links.
It's been awhile since Nico Hoerner was teammates with Nick Madrigal, but the #Cubs are hoping the two infielders being back together means good things for their future.
"Our careers have been kind of parallel. He's someone I have a ton of respect for."https://t.co/huU4gjB9w7
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) August 5, 2021
Please be advised my expertise pales in comparison to CI’s prospect writers Todd Johnson and Greg Huss.
- Nick Madrigal – Craig Counsell | Harry Chappas | Nico Hoerner
- Pete Crow-Armstrong – Dexter Fowler | Albert Almora Jr. | Scott Podsednik
- Alexander Canario – Jermaine Dye | Dayán Viciedo | Adolis García
- Kevin Alcantara – Aaron Judge | Junior Lake | Yasmany Tomás
- Alexander Vizcaino – Raisel Iglesias | Junior Guerra | Neftalí Feliz
- Caleb Kilian – Colby Lewis | Tommy Milone | Matt Cain
Cubs News & Notes
- With the White Sox in town, the Cubs may get to face former closer Craig Kimbrel for the first time since he was traded. They’re likely to see Ryan Tepera at some point this weekend, too.
- The two trades give the White Sox arguably the best bullpen heading into the postseason.
- The financially-strapped Cubs have decided to build a two-story, 23,500 sq. foot sportsbook as an addition to Wrigley Field. How long do you think it will be before Tom Ricketts sells the naming rights to his ballpark to Draft Kings?
- The optics and timing of the announcement are horrible but we shouldn’t expect anything less.
- Outfielder Greg Deichmann is the first of the Cubs’ new prospects to be promoted to the bigs.
- Ortega is a run-scoring machine, and he doesn’t care if you don’t know who he is.
- Jason Heyward was placed on the 10-day IL due to finger inflammation.
- Bernie Pleskoff at Forbes breaks down the newest Cubs prospects in case you’re thirsty for more analysis.
- Personally speaking, and biased of course, I think Cubs Insider provided the best analysis of all the new farmhands.
Odds & Sods
I’ve got nothing. But how about some Jan & Dean to play in the background while you loop this video.
Tony LaRussa has @TomBrady speed
— Bovada (@BovadaOfficial) July 31, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Knee-deep in the hoopla, sinking in your fight. Too many runaways eating up the night.” – Jefferson Starship, We Built This City
- Games Played: 110
- Total Plate Appearances: 4,037
- Total Strikeouts: 1,049
- Strikeout Rate: 26%
- Team Batting Average: .228
Kevin Goldstein of FanGraphs mentioned in his post-deadline podcast that he loved the Anthony Rizzo trade. “I was fascinated by this one. I thought the Cubs killed [it].”
How About That!
Boston’s Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom believes the Red Sox got the best hitter available when he traded for Kyle Schwarber. “A lot of good players change hands. … I don’t know that there’s a bat that changed hands the last couple weeks that I would take ahead of Schwarber,” Bloom said.
According to Washington GM Mike Rizzo, a trade that would have sent Max Scherzer from the Nationals to the Red Sox was “never really in the cards.”
Former Astros’ flamethrower J.R. Richard, whose career was cut short after he suffered a stroke in 1980, passed away yesterday at the age of 71.
With Ronald Acuña Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Jacob deGrom all possibly out for the season, the National League MVP race is wide open.
Speaking of injures, Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw is not expected to return until September.
The Mets and Phillies will battle for first place this weekend.
The Rays have placed 2020 World Series hero Randy Arozarena on the COVID-19 injury list.
The White Sox and Yankees will play in next week’s Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, IA, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the league suspending eight ChiSox players for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Rafael Ortega – The outfielder was 2-for-4 with an RBI last night, but he gets the top spot because he has been the league’s best hitter since the All-Star break and I thoroughly enjoy watching him at the plate.
- Trevor Story – The Colorado shortstop had two taters and three RBI last night, and the Cubs would have won the game had the Rockies traded Story like they were supposed to.
- Victor Reyes – The Tigers’ right fielder had two triples and three RBI, leading the hottest team in the AL past the Red Sox 8-1.
“For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” – Ted Lasso
Also Ted Lasso – “Smells like potential.”
I do believe as Justin Steele matures he will become one of the league’s best pitchers at keeping runners off the bases. Grab him in your fantasy league to help your WHIP category if he’s available.
Cubs will be ‘creative’ with rotation as Justin Steele nears return to Chicagohttps://t.co/Pck8RR3WW2
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) August 5, 2021
They Said It
- “People have been reaching out and telling me they appreciate what I did when I was here, and they had a good time watching me. I haven’t got a chance to talk to (Cubs manager) David Ross yet. I went out and saw all the bullpen guys and caught up with them during [pre-game stretching].” – Craig Kimbrel
- “I’ve watched how good [Kimbrel] is, I’ve caught how good it is, I’ve watched how good it can be. I don’t like seeing it on the other side, but I’m happy he’s in a spot to continue to compete. It definitely will be different to see him in another uniform. Hopefully, he’s not running out [of the bullpen]. It’d be nice to keep him on the shelf for three days.” – David Ross
Friday Walk-Up Song
Jump by Van Halen – I feel like we are back to post-1984 Cubs baseball, but I’m starting to feel just a little bit more hopeful Hoyer has a plan.