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Chicago Cubs Have Top Farm System in Baseball

January 28th, 2015 at 3:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Keith Law of ESPN released his reviews of the minor league systems of all 30 MLB teams this week and the Chicago Cubs grabbed the top spot. Additionally, MLB.com will finish their positional rankings for prospects tomorrow when they release the top-10 outfielders in the MiLB, but so the Cubs have already landed four players in their respective top-10:

Player

Position

Positional Rank

Overall Rank*

Kyle Schwarber

C

3rd

72nd

Dan Vogelbach

1B

8th

N/A

Kris Bryant

3B

1st

3rd

Addison Russell

SS

3rd

5th

Jorge Soler

OF

?

48th

Albert Almora

OF

?

36th

Billy McKinney

OF

?

N/A

(Per MLB.com) *Overall rankings are from 2014 season

The Chicago Cubs didn’t land any prospects on the LHP or RHP lists but when tomorrow’s list of outfielders comes out they could have as many as three players listed. Jorge Soler is a shoe-in to be among the top outfield prospects, Albert Almora figures to be somewhere in the middle, despite his disappointing 2014 campaign, and Billy McKinney has a shot to make the back end of the list as well.

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Changing of the Guard: Joe Maddon Bullets

January 28th, 2015 at 10:35 AM
By Tim Duxbury

1. 2015 will be Joe Maddon’s first season with the Chicago Cubs. Despite the recent trend of managers struggling in their first season with the organization, managers with experience have proven to be very successful.

Manager

Year

W-L

Win%

Rick Renteria

2014

73-89

.451

Dale Sveum

2012

61-101

.377

Mike Quade

2011

71-91

.438

Lou Piniella

2007

85-77

.539

Dusty Baker

2003

88-74

.543

(Stats per baseball-reference.com)

While the Cubs floundered under Rick Renteria, Dale Sveum and Mike Quade because of their in experience and a lack of talent on the roster, both Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker won 85+ games and made it to the post season in their first year at the helm.

2. Joe Maddon has a career winning percentage of .512 across 11 seasons as a head coach. He has lead his team to 90+ win seasons five different times, including a career high, 97 wins with the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. The 2008 Rays won the American League pennant after finishing in dead last the American League East in 2006 & 2007.

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Chicago Cubs’ Winter Ball Playoff Wrap-up

January 27th, 2015 at 3:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Winter ball is officially over. Leagues in the Dominican, Mexico and the Caribbean wrapped up their winter seasons this week (Puerto Rico will finish tonight or tomorrow) allowing us to get one final look at the Chicago Cubs’ players progress before Spring Training starts.

Playoff Stats Only

Player

League

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

SB

Alcantara

DR

-

-

-

-

-

-

Baez

PR

14

.217

.266

0

4

3

Lake

DR

23

.256

.367

3

12

3

Ramirez

DR

15

.224

.367

3

6

0

(Stats per MLB.com)

Overall, it was a disappointing playoff run for the four Cubs’ players that we have been following the past few months. Javier Baez, Junior Lake and Manny Ramirez all showed major regressions in their respective post-seasons and Arismendy Alcantara did not even participate, playing his last regular season game on December 16th.

Javier Baez had a particularly disappointing finish, partly because his play was subpar and partly because he figures to have the biggest impact on the Cubs’ performance in 2015. Baez went 3-8 last week when, manager, Joe Maddon made a trip down to watch him play, but aside from those two games there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about during his playoff run.

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Visitation and Memorial for Mr. Cub

January 27th, 2015 at 11:20 AM
By Tim Duxbury

The Chicago Cubs announced yesterday that visitation and memorial services for Ernie Banks will be held between 12-8 PM on Friday and Saturday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, located at 126 East Chestnut st. in Chicago.

Ernie Banks spent his entire 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs, from 1953-1971. Banks broke in as the first African-American player to play for the north siders and ended up being one of the best of all time, recording 512 home runs, 2,583 hits and two MVP awards. However, Banks’ most impressive achievements came off the field. Ernie Banks was an incredible ambassador for the Chicago Cubs and the game of baseball for more than 40 years and the lives that he touched registers in the millions.

The Chicago Cubs have not yet announced how they will honor Banks this season but the most popular idea going around is to schedule a doubleheader at some point in the summer in honor of Ernie’s famous line, “Let’s play two!”

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VIDEO: FULL Outfield Tour of Wrigley Field

January 27th, 2015 at 3:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

It has been about three weeks since we last checked in on the Wrigley Field bleachers and we have good news to report! The foundations for the bleachers have been successfully laid and construction crews, who are working around the clock, have begun to lay the framework for the new bleachers. Take a look at our latest video tour from foul pole to foul pole:

Additionally, all the pictures here are from this week as well.

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