10 Things I Think: The March MiLB Preview Edition

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By Todd Johnson

I can tell I’m on spring break because my mind needs to be busy after only three days off of teaching. I don’t feel like reading that much, although I do have about 15 to 20 books just waiting to be read. Still, my mind continues to focus in on baseball. I have a bunch of posts ready to roll out over the next two weeks. But today, this will just be a bonus post I didn’t plan on doing.

I walk three times a day to help keep my diabetes under control. That gives me a lot of time to dictate to Siri and to go back and edit later. Such was the case late Monday night when I thought to myself, “You know, you haven’t done a 10 things I think post for a while.”

Here are 10 things I think about the upcoming minor league season

1. Jake Stinnett will be the 2018 Dillon Maples. Watching him pitch on Sunday was a pretty joyful experience. His fastball looked lively, he looked like he could control it, and I could see a future with him coming out of the bullpen in Chicago.

2. The Pelicans – I might’ve been a little rash when I wrote at BP Wrigleyville that South Bend might be the team to watch this spring. On Monday afternoon, when I was putting together my preseason all star team, I started counting up how many players were from each affiliate. Myrtle Beach had 10. Half of them were pitchers, but still, that’s some pretty good depth out of 27 players.

3. I still think Alec Brohm of Wichita State is the pick to take a number 24. I know some people like Seth Beer (read as Dustin), but I just can’t get a good read on Beer as I think most people are pitching around him. Whereas Brohm just beats the crap out of the ball at all times as he has Greyson Jenista hitting in front of him.

4. Promotion Commotion – As the minor league season wears on, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of movement up-and-down for position players. Pitchers, on the other hand, are going to see a lot of guys go up and a lot of guys come down. The elite prospects will especially see a lot of movement. I find my own beliefs odd considering that there is no need for pitchers at the major league level right now. However, I am not too hip on the Cubs bullpen at this moment. I’ll have more on that Thursday.

5. I started to write my annual preview of a preview about the Eugene Emeralds/Monarcas. That team is going to be stacked beyond belief. In addition to outstanding hitting, the Emerald/Monarcas are going to have some amazing 18 to 19 year old pitchers throwing in the mid to upper 90s.

6. I got a new camera. It is not the one you can fit in your pocket, but it has lenses and everything. I can’t wait to take it out to shoot some baseball pictures (and pitchers) and make some cards.

7. 2018 Draft – This year’s draft is pretty deep. The Cubs are going to have a lot of good young players to absorb into their organization. I’m still unclear as to whether the Cubs are going to be high school prospects, go college oriented, or a mixture of both. I am leaning, however, that the Cubs are going to select a ton of position players this year.

8. Mesa – I am not quite sure how this two teams in Mesa thing is going to work. While Eugene can carry 35 players on their roster, so can the Mesa teams. Those prospects are going to be extremely competitive to make it to the next level at Eugene. And that might be part of the plan.

9. The 2016 draft class is looking better and better. In May, I will do my annual draft grades. Even though the Cubs did not have a first or second round pick that year, Jason McLeod looks to have hit on a bunch of promising young pitching arms.

10. Field Trips – I am pretty sure I’m gonna be making several small trips this summer. I just don’t know where and when. I will have day trips to Peoria in May and then Davenport  and Kane County in July to see South Bend play. I want to make it over to northern Indiana for a couple days. And, I also want to make it out west to Iowa depending upon who is on the roster and the temperature.

I am very excited to see some games on TV, the Internet, and in person.

I will be back tomorrow for my preview of opening week.

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