By Todd Johnson
Between the trading deadline, all-star teams, baseball cards, and watching the big league club everyday, it was a very busy week. Add in the fact that I begin teaching next week finally hit home, I have a lot going on inside my head.
The MiLB season ends exactly four weeks from tomorrow on Labor Day. It will be here quick. WIth that in my mind, I also began to overthink what I need to do to get ready when that happens. There are usually posts on breakouts, all-star teams, a new Top 21 List, Baseball Cards of the Year, affiliate reviews, and other odds and sods. It can be a busy month. But it can wait. Be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the moment.
The Playoff Chase
As the big league club continues to lead the NL Central, the MiLB system is having a bit of a rough time. Cubs 1 in Mesa already has a spot reserved in the postseason. It is not looking good for a few affiliates. Iowa is 20 games back. Myrtle Beach is 9. Neither of the DSL teams is even close. However, four affiliates still have some hope.
The Smokies are just three games back. They were on fire to start the second half. Then the bullpen imploded in July. They have the starting pitching to get it done. Will the pen straighten itself out long enough?
South Bend just ended a seven game losing streak. One would think there is no way they could get back in it. Lo and behold, they are just four games back from tying for the final playoff spot and five from taking the lead. I think they have a pretty good chance. They just need to get the hitting going to help their pitching staff and excellent bullpen.
In the great Northwest League, college hitters from this year’s draft have rejuvenated the Emeralds’ lowly offense. They are just two games back from tying Salem-Keizer for the wild card and three from the division lead. It is going to be a most exciting race.
Out in the Arizona League, Cubs 1 leads their division again. Cubs 2 is currently at 4-5 but they need to make up 3 games in just 17 games while leapfrogging 4 teams. It can be done as last year’s Cubs’ team won 9 in a row to make it to the postseason. The Arizona League will end their season August 27th.
Is Affiliate Roulette is Coming?
Every even year, many MLB organization often switch affiliates. The Cubs are no different. The last big change the Cubs had came at the end of 2014 when the organization went from Kane County to South Bend, Daytona to Myrtle Beach, and Boise to Eugene. This year, that is not happening. In fact, it ought to be very boring. Iowa, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend are all signed up through 2020. Yesterday, Eugene announced they have re-upped with the Cubs through 2022.
Tennessee is next. It should be just a matter of time before both parties announce another four-year extensions.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about who the Cubs might send to the Arizona Fall League. This week, I will explore more postseason happenings as I discuss who the possible prospects are that might get added to the 40 man roster. A Luke Reynolds profile should be coming this week and I also examine which prospects are in the lead for breakout prospects of the second half.
Players of the Week
Card of the Week