By Todd Johnson
Joe Maddon’s Lame Duck Effect
Amidst all the hoopla of Chili Davis being let go as hitting coach, it got me thinking of what effect Joe Maddon’s contract is going to have on the future of the Cubs. Right now, he is only signed through 2019. And with that in mind, it’s gonna be hard to get personnel on the coaching side for just one year.
However, when it comes to free agency, I don’t think Joe’s contract is going to have much impact. Players are going to come here for the money and the culture, but mainly for the money. Their teammates will be a bigger draw than Joe would be.
Arizona Fall League Stats
The Arizona Fall League kicked off this week and several Cub players got in some action. Even though there will be a total of about 36 games, most of the position players the Cubs sent will be lucky if they see action in 20 of them. Trent Giambrone was impressive in his first turn at third base. Former Scout Bernie Pleskoff was impressed by Trent’s short, quick stroke to the ball as Trent wrapped out four singles in his debut.
4 hits today for the #Cubs Trent Giambrone. He really does barrel the ball well without trying to hunt home runs. It was an impressive game for Giambrone.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) October 11, 2018
Shortstop Nico Horner took a few games to shake the rust off before going three for five on Friday. Catcher Johnny Pereda went one for four and PJ Higgins was one for two with two walks. Outfielder DJ Wilson has gotten one hit in three games opening week.
As for pitching, Bailey Clark was scoreless in two innings along with fellow reliever Manny Rondon. Justin Steele got bumped around in his 1.2 innings of work as he gave up four runs. On the other hand, Erick Leal struck out three in 2.1 innings of scoreless work, although he did have to be rescued in the third.
It’s just the first week and I don’t think you want to take too much away from just a couple of games. There is a lot of baseball left to be played against quality competition. It’ll be interesting to see how they do adjust over the next few weeks. Every Sunday I will have an update, but I will be positing highlights Mondays-Saturdays on Twitter. (@CubsCentral08)
Baseball America and Pipeline Awards
Baseball America released its top 20 prospects in the Northwest League and the Cubs placed two in the top 10. Pitcher Brailyn Marquez came in at number three and outfielder Nelson Velasquez came in at number eight. I like seeing that the two 19-year-olds, who were key parts of the team, get some love. I am looking forward to seeing both at South Bend, hopefully, in 2019.
In the Arizona League, OF Cole Roederer came in at #7 while SS Luis Verdugo got a lot of love for his defense at 17 years of age. Verdugo was assigned #17. Pitcher Yovanny Cruz just missed according to BA’s Bill Mitchell.
Over at MiLB Pipeline, They released their Players of the Year for each organization. Here’s what they said about Cubs Jason Vosler and Cory Abbott.
Jason Vosler, 3B: For the second straight season, he set career highs in homers (23), extra-base hits (54) and RBIs (93), pacing the system in all three categories.
Cory Abbott, RHP: Thriving on deception, Abbott led all Cubs farmhands in ERA (2.50), hit rate (7.4 per nine innings) and strikeout rate (10.3 per nine innings).
On the 18th, Pipeline will release their All-Star teams for each system. That should be interesting to see. If I can, I will have a full post on it come Friday morning. I have Parent-Teacher Conferences Thursday night, so those come first…
Coming Up This Week
The 2018 affiliate reviews end as I look at Eugene and Mesa on Monday and Tuesday. On Thursday I’m going to put out the annual baseball cards of the year post with my top 11 cards going all the way back to spring training. It was a lot of fun to put that together!
If some other major news breaks during the day, I will probably have something on it at night. October already seems to be flying by.
Card of the Week