Monthly Archives: August 2021

Evaluating the Cubs Magic Beans

The great sell off of the 2021 Chicago Cubs is now complete.  Why it happened is not relevant at this point, we can’t change the past.  These are all of the prospects the Cubs acquired in the sell off.  Looking through the group it’s apparent the Cubs acquired more developmental players that are a few years away instead of major league ready players.   I was devastated that out of all the trades, Austin Martin was not part of any deal.  Martin is the 16th overall prospect out of the Top 100 from Toronto that ended up going to Minnesota in the Jose Berrios deal. I’d love to know if Kyle Hendricks could have gotten the same package from the Blue Jays. 

SS Reginald Preciado, SS Yeison Santana, OF Ismael Mena, OF Owen Caissie, 1B Bryce Ball, 1B/OF Greg Deichmann, RHP Daniel Palencia,  LHP Bailey Horn, RHP Alexander Vizcaino, OF Kevin Alcantara, 2B Nick Madrigal, RHP Codi Heuer, OF Alexander Canario, RHP Caleb Killian, OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, RHP Anderson Espinoza.  5 former or current All-Star players were sent away in the sell off and not a single player acquired is on the MLB Top 100 prospects list.  Madrigal and Heuer are the only major league ready players out of the group.  On the surface that doesn’t paint the Cubs front office in a good light.  

The reality is looking into these players, many of them haven’t even played Double A baseball.  I don’t think it’s fair to judge the Cubs front office yet as these were long-term moves.  A lot of faith is being put in the minor league developmental staff to get the most out of these players.  Nick Madrigal is a building block that should be the starting 2B in 2022.  Madrigal is a good contact hitter that gets on base and more importantly doesn’t strike out.  Greg Deichmann has a career .346 minor league OBP and should be a fast track player.  At age 26, why isn’t Deichmann already in the show?  Reginald Preciado is a Shortstop at the moment, but may physically be better suited for the Hot Corner.  Owen Caissie, Kevin Alcantara, and Alexander Canario profile to be power hitting corner outfielders. Pete Crow-Armstrong looks to be your center fielder/leadoff hitter of the future.      

Moving to the pitching prospects, Codi Heuer should have the opportunity to have a high leverage role in the Cub bullpen right away.  Bailey Horn is a power lefty that grades out the back-end of a starting rotation.  Caleb Killian is a college pitcher that grades out as a back-end starter.  Alexander Vizcaino is working as starter in the minors, but could transition to the bullpen if the command doesn’t develop.  Daniel Palencia is a young player that is multiple years away from being major league ready.  Anderson Espinoza is a smaller stature hurler with 2 Tommy John surgeries already on his resume.  

The Cubs will have a long way to go to get back respectability. LHP Brailyn Marquez and OF Brennan Davis are considered the Cubs top 2 prospects.  Both may be up in 2022.  Willson Contreras is in Chicago for now, but when Miguel Amaya is ready does Contreras get sent off for more prospects?  I can see 2022 and 2023 being developmental seasons with stop gap players filling out the major league roster until many of these players are ready for the show.  2024 may be when the Cubs start to show signs of being competitive. A lot can happen between now and then so we’ll see.

Michael Thomas Is Off My Draft Boards

Saints WR Michael Thomas is now off my draft boards.  Ankle surgery in June and has given Thomas a range of outcomes that could put him out as far as Week 8.  Some pre-draft rankings have Thomas still listed ahead of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham Jr, and Brandin Cooks.  There’s no chance I would consider drafting Thomas ahead of those 3 players.  JuJu caught 97 balls last year, Odell is not on the PUP list as training camps are taking place, and Cooks is the WR1 on a horrible Texans team.  Those 3 players will help me to start the season, while Thomas will not.  

One of the many things I’ve learned from playing fantasy sports is that injured players on your bench do not help you win games.  More bad comes than good from stashing injured players on your bench right away.  Many leagues I play in do not have IR spots, in leagues with IR spots you will end up using those soon enough.  Why burn a spot before the season starts? For example, in a fantasy baseball keeper league my friend Dave pissed away draft capital and a roster spot keeping Noah Syndergaard on the IL all season.  He whines about having all injured guys and had to cut some good players in the process.  Syndergaard has not helped him win a game this year.  

Compromising roster flexibility on a player that can’t help you win this week is a recipe for failure.  Late morning Covid deactivations is also another variable to take into account when considering stashing an injured player.  There are so many good players still available where Michael Thomas may be drafted it’s not worth the risk.  Thomas scares me not only because of the ankle injury, but also because of the alleged friction with the New Orleans front office.  I know Thomas has put together video game numbers when healthy, but in fantasy football you can’t live in the past, it’s not 2019 anymore.  Pass on Michael Thomas this year in drafts, let someone else have the headache of trying to work around a wasted roster spot.