Sometimes I have bad ideas. I like to do lists and I thought to myself that I would try to pick a preseason Cubs Minor League All-Star Team for the first half of 2016. It turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would. Picking the players was easy. Figuring out who would be playing was not.
Some prospects who had a down year in 2016, and didn’t make last year’s list, could easily rebound to have a great campaign in 2016. Another aspect was the fact that my end of the year team from last year was about the entire year. To build off that list was difficult to do for just a half a season. And the hardest part of making this list is that the Cubs have a lot of really good prospects who do not play until the middle of June.
I began by reviewing how I ended 2015. Click here to see last year’s Cubs Central “2015 Minor League All-Star Team.”
As I began to assemble the parts, I definitely wanted to narrow the list to make it more selective. That meant only 1 DH, 8 starting pitchers, and 6 relievers.
I ran into even more trouble when I realized that Bryan Hudson and Darryl Wilson would be at Eugene and they wouldn’t start play until mid June. Add in the fact that Eddy Martinez, at the time, might be in Arizona all summer to acclimate to the US made it even tougher. It wasn’t clear if he would be heading to South Bend or not. He is now, but he still fell short of making the preseason All-Star team..
Nonetheless, I was able to come up with a pretty good list. I think the position players were easier to pick than the starters and there is not much room to argue. The relief pitching was the hardest – as there are so many good ones to choose from.
I did leave off one pitcher who arguably could be on this team in Duane Underwood. If he was healthy, he’d be a no brainer pick. He has struggled with elbow stiffness twice in the last 9 months. He likely will be in extended spring training for a while. He threw live BP last Tuesday – nothing but fastballs.
So, without further adieu…Here is my First Half Pre-Season All-Star Team for 2016 in video form.
When the second half comes around, all bets are off as two more affiliates begin play. Bryan Hudson, Darryl Wilson, Wladimir Galindo, and Robert Garcia to name a few, begin play. Add in some draft picks and mix in some international free agents and there will be a whole lot to choose from. That should be quite the list. We will see who is hot and who is not by then.