The Weekly: Affiliates Inked, Upcoming Lists, Travel Plans, the 40 Man, and MiLB Free Agency

By Todd Johnson

Affiliates Get All Inked
It was a bit strange to see, but the Cubs put to rest any chances of affiliate roulette by extending their five major affiliate PDCs through 2022. The Cubs extended Iowa, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend by two more years as Tennessee and Eugene just had their PDCs extended in recent months. I like the fact that the Cubs synced them up to expire all at the same time. That ends the bi-yearly carousel that has been taking place the past 6 years.

Here Come the Lists
It is getting to be that time of year as publications begin to put out their winter top prospect lists. Baseball America started with the American League East. It’ll be fun to see who has which prospect where on a list. The differentiation between the lists and who some outliers might be are also of interest.

In addition, Baseball America will also be publishing their draft grade for the Cubs for 2018. The Cubs should do alright. I look forward to seeing how they evaluate the pitching the Cubs took this year.

I was thinking of changing my Top 21 list when the AFL ends but I think I will just let it be for awhile until the trades are all done this winter.

AFL All-Star Game
Last night, Nico Hoerner played in the Arizona Fall League All-Star game. The shortstop earned his way onto the squad through fan voting. On the night, he went 1 for 2. In addition reliever Bailey Clark also saw some action out of the bullpen as he was charged with 2 runs in 2/3 of an inning. There are now just 10 games left in the AFL season

Travel Dates…
I started planning out my travel calendar to go see some ball games next spring and summer. I’ve set a tentative schedule and it looks like I will be seeing much more baseball in 2019 than I did in 2018. My trips begin in early May as I go over to Clinton, Iowa for two days. It is a little over an hour for me and I will be getting back from Illinois History Day in Springfield just in time.

Then it looks like I’ll be out in Des Moines the first week in June for a couple of days. Later that month, I will be heading over to South Bend. In July, I’ll be up in Appleton, Wisconsin for three days. After that, I will see South Bend in Beloit for three games, which is only 35-40 minutes from my house.

I am pretty excited about seeing some of the more elite players in South Bend in early May before they get promoted to Myrtle Beach. Over the past couple of summers I haven’t been to games until June or July. This next year will be fun as I get to see players before and after the draft.

Upcoming Dates – 40 Man Deadline Coming Fast
I’m going to keep an eye on November 20 which is when the Cubs have to set their 40 man roster or expose some prospects to the Rule V Draft. The two names I am keeping a lookout for are catchers PJ Higgins and Ian Rice. If either one is left off the 40 man, I feel pretty confident in saying some other team is going to snag them up on December 13th, the day of the draft.

Several things could change who the Cubs select to add to the 40 man roster and most of them will be because of who they add to be on the 25 man roster by then.

Back in August, I thought Trevor Clifton, Justin Steele, and Justin Vosler looked to be locks. I am not straying from those selections. I just wonder if the Cubs will add anyone else besides the aforementioned catchers. Lefty reliever Jordan Minch could be taken if unprotected as could fellow lefty Manny Rondon.

MiLB Free Agency Begins
The Cubs resigned a few of their own players to MiLB contracts for 2019. They inked (per Arizona Phil) Erick Castillo, Gioskar Amaya, Yasiel Balaguert, Roberto Caro, Erick Leal, Chris Pieters, and Danny Hultzen. However, the Cubs let go of Jeffrey Baez, Alberto Baldonado, Wynton Bernard, Corey Black, Stephen Bruno, Chris Coghlan, Casey Coleman, Ryan Court, Mike Freeman, Terrance Gore, Trey Martin, Cory Mazzoni, Jose Paulino, Bijan Rademacher, Jose Rosario, Kyle Ryan, and Daury Torrez. Considering the depth of the system now, letting this many players go is not surprising. Many were hanging on for a chance to get to Chicago or the big leagues. These guys still can re-sign with the Cubs.

Coming Up
There are no big plans this week. I was just going let trades and free agency drive the website for a couple of weeks until Thanksgiving. I do have a couple ideas floating around my head that I may give words to today or tomorrow to put out on Tuesday or Thursday. We shall see.

Card of the Week

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