The Rundown: Kris Bryant is ESPN’s No. 1 Overall Prospect, Relievers Required to Face More Than 1 Batter?

With ESPN ranking the Cubs’ farm system as tops in the league, it comes as little surprise that Kris Bryant is the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law (Insider).

In addition to Bryant’s ridiculous offensive potential, Law believes Bryant can stick at third base. It seems like the Cubs believe this as well, at least for now.

Things could change when Addison Russell comes to town, as Russell comes in at No. 4 on Law’s list (very nice).

Some other familiar names populate the top 100 list, with Jorge Soler at No. 14 and Kyle Schwarber at No. 90. If Schwarber, the Cubs’ 2014 first-round pick, seems to be ranked a bit low, it’s because Law doesn’t think he will be a major-league catcher. I’m not too worried though — Schwarber should be an offensive force, whether he’s playing in the outfield or behind the plate.

Absent from Law’s list are Albert Almora and C.J. Edwards. Almora had a somewhat disappointing 2014, and I’m hoping for a turnaround this year. Law views Edwards (who is my guy among Cubs pitching prospects) as a future bullpen piece.

Now that we have thoroughly been reminded over the past few days about how good the Cubs’ farm system is, I’m just about ready for Spring Training to get rolling.

Providing relief?

Should relief pitchers be required to face more than one batter to help speed up games? This was actually something suggested by Theo Epstein at the GM meetings this past November, writes Ken Rosenthal.

A bit of a disclosure: I have written a lot about pace of play issues this offseason, but I want to be clear that I don’t have any problem with how the game of baseball is currently constructed.

I love baseball, and I’d be fine if no changes were made. But if some slight tweaks were made that gradually cut down game lengths, I wouldn’t mind that either.

Unless it’s pitch clocks. I don’t want pitch clocks.

Now, requiring relievers to face more than one batter (which was merely a suggestion — it hasn’t been proposed or anything) would have more of an effect than simply speeding up games.

As Rosenthal points out, it would change the way managers make pitching changes, forcing them to think twice before bringing in a new arm. I’m sure Joe Maddon would get a kick out of figuring out the best use of his relievers.

The change also could be an answer to MLB’s desire to increase offense. I’m not completely on board with this desire (I like a good 3-2 pitchers duel), but this reliever rule would be a nice compromise for me.

I think this is a change I’d like to see. Rosenthal said the proposal went over well with MLB officials, so maybe it’s something we could see in a few years down the road.

Other notes

* Javier Baez won’t be playing for Puerto Rico in the 2015 Caribbean Series, according to Jesse Sanchez. He didn’t offer up a reason why, but I would like to think it’s just the Cubs letting Baez rest up a bit before Spring Training starts up and the grind of the season begins.

* Ernie Banks’ memorial service on Saturday will feature 11 speakers, including Joe Torre, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Lou Brock.

* The Wrigley Field renovations are causing the streets of Wrigleyville to be flooded with rats, according to the Chicago Tribune. OK, that’s a bit of an overstatement, and the article admits the rat problem cannot be definitively linked to the renovations, but this seems like one of those things that would only happen to the Cubs — just because they’re the Cubs.

Back to top button