Trades to Follow, Prospect Rankings, Hoerner the Leader, PitchCom, and Other Cubs Bullets

Driving into Chicago today, which means I’ll be unavailable for chunks of the morning (gulp! Risky time to be out!). I’ll hustle, though. I swear.

  • Speaking of which, the trade dam has opened and the flood shall follow! right? We were wondering yesterday where the trades were – there were reasons for the delay – and then last night, the Yankees traded for Andrew Benintendic. We’ll see if that means more movement today, or if there were isolated circumstances that led to the Yankees deciding they would not wait on any other outfield options, and the Royals deciding they would not wait on any other buyers.
  • Speaking of trades, gonna get this one in before the Cubs make a move: prospect rankings this time of year sometimes lag development (sometimes by a lot). Not that you don’t still use them as a rough reference point when evaluating trades, but just understand that more robust rankings updates come after all reports are in after the season.
  • Take the Cubs for example, since we know them a lot better. Brailyn Marquez, who hasn’t pitched in two and a half years and has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery, is still listed as the 10th best prospect in the system at MLB Pipeline. If the Twins or whoever acquired Marquez in trade, their fans might be like, “Heck yah, we just got the 10th best prospect from a deep system baby!,” but there is a lot of context to suggest that, now, Marquez might not even be a top 30 prospect in the system ( … aaaand I just made myself sad). That stuff happens in both directions, so if and when the Cubs land the “15th best” prospect in some system, make sure you evaluate not only the strength of that system, but also how the prospect has been developing this year.
  • In addition to his awesome play, Nico Hoerner is emerging as a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse. Ian Happ told the Sun Times that Hoerner was already a natural leader, and Hoerner himself notes the evolving nature of the clubhouse: “I feel like I debuted recently,” Hoerner said, “but if you look at the roster [in 2019] to now, and just like all the people that have come through between then and now, it just happens fast, and the turnover is crazy. And that’s true in a lot of places.”
  • A reminder that Nico Hoerner has been the 6th most valuable shortstop in all of baseball this year (3.1 fWAR), and he’s done it despite having more than 100 fewer plate appearances than everyone ahead of him except Xander Bogaerts, whose had 85 more plate appearances .
  • Speaking of Bogaerts and dreaming about pairing him in the middle infield (or at third base) with Hoerner, I have jokes-but-kinda-seriously:
  • I was on WGN last night talking Trade Deadline and Cubs players and sadness and hopefulness:
  • Max Scherzer doesn’t like the PitchCom system because it took away his ability – in his mind – to be better at preventing sign-stealing than other pitcher/catcher combinations:
  • Scherzer is a super star and one of the best at what he does, so he’s earned the right to say what he wants. But his position here is completely unreasonable. We don’t have to preserve sign-stealing so a few pitchers can maintain what they believe is a competitive advantage AT THE EXPENSE of dramatically reducing mound visits, lengthy exchanges of signs, and laborious shenanigans when there’s a runner at second. It’s ridiculous. This is why, when we talk about rules changes that improve the game, I take some player comments with a grain of salt. They have their own reasons for feeling how they feel, and it does not always align with the whole “this is an entertainment business.”
  • AHHHHHHHHH THIS PITCH IS GOING TO KILL MEEEEEEE … ope it’s a strike:
  • Yeah, but try throwing THIS one:

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