A total of four minor league teams in the Cubs’ system made the playoffs. That’s a pretty impressive feat to have one-half of your affiliates make it to the postseason.
The Arizona Cubs will begin their postseason run tomorrow in the Arizona Rookie League. That league’s a little different as they have eight teams make the playoffs and then it’s a one and you’re done system. Arizona won their division in the first half and sputtered to the finish line in the second half. Their strength has been a lineup led by Gustavo Polanco and shortstop Isaac Paredes. They don’t really have an ace for a starting pitcher. Javier Assad will likely get the start in game 1. If they win, then Eugenio Palma will go in game two. If somehow make it to the final, I don’t know who they will start on the mound.
Prediction: I think they’re one and done because I just don’t think they have the starting pitching to succeed in the playoffs. Here’s to hoping I am wrong.
For the Eugene Emeralds, they have the best winning percentage in all of Minor League Baseball. Their strength is their starting pitching and amazing bullpen. They’ve used great defense and timely heading to destroy their opponents including 15 wins in a row in the middle of August. I think they have the pitching to win but they’re going to need some more hitting just in case. Then again, they have been the most dominant team in the league all season long. They start their series against Hillsboro on September 7th.
Prediction: I think the Emeralds get it done this year and bring home a Northwest League Championship just based on their pitching. I think they will go with Rondon, Moreno, Cease, and Bailey to shut down their opponents. If Chris Pieters begins to hit again, the playoffs will become a romp.
For the South Bend Cubs, they currently have the best record in the Midwest League for the entire season. For the last 10 days, they have seemed listless and their bullpen has had a lot of troubles. It’s almost as if they’re just waiting to turn it on in the postseason, or at least that’s what I hope. In a preview last weekend of their first round series with West Michigan, the Whitecaps shut down the vaunted South Bend offense in the four-game series with a split. For the first time all year, South Bend looked beatable. They have a week to straighten things out before the playoffs begin.
Prediction: Unless they’re hitting shows up in the next 7 days, I don’t think this team makes it out of the first round against West Michigan. There’s just too many things going wrong at the wrong time of the year. However, if one player named Eloy, Eddy, or Matt catches on fire, the Cubs can hop on one of their backs and run away with some victories and possibly a championship. They have the starting pitching to get it done.
Right now, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are playing the best in all three facets of the game in the Cubs’ system. They have quality shut down starters in Clifton, Morrison, and Erick Leal, they have a quality bullpen, and their bats are getting hot at just the right time. They begin their defense of the Mills Cup next week in a best of 3 series against Salem.
Prediction: I think the Pelicans will repeat as Mills Cup champs and Carolina League winners. The reason I say this is I don’t think they are afraid of anybody. They showed up against the top team in the league in Salem two weeks, didn’t back down, and gave them a surge into first place. They are playing like they have something to prove and I like that about them.
It’s going to be a fun first two weeks of September to watch the series play out. It would be great if they could all come home with a championship. I think with the Cubs have done here at the lower levels of the system is great as they have basically created a winning culture in just five years. With the big league club winning, too, “It’s all good, man” from the top of the organization to the bottom.