I was looking ahead to February 15, when ESPN is carrying a Rhode Island at Florida State baseball game. Finally! A game with a scoreboard, a winner, and a loser. A game with statistics that count. No word on if Tom Tango has approached our own Erik Peterson to take copious notes at that one, and all the other tilts in Tallahassee that Cubs scouts can't attend. I wonder what fee Erik should hold out for.
I looked up the Rhode Island University baseball page. They have four guys on their Conference Pre-Season First or Second Team, so that squad has talent. It's likely 10th round and beyond talent, but I can cheer for late-rounders as well as anyone. I'm sure FSU is loaded, as they always are. I might check closer later.
Why are southern schools so much better at baseball than northern schools with bigger name recognition? There are two primary reasons. Since baseball isn't a big moneymaker for schools, right fielders and second basemen are very likely from the school's vicinity. Few 'full rides' are given, and schools in a student-athlete's home state is usually less cost-inhibiting. Home-state discounts come into play often when choosing a school where the student's family will pay much of the freight. A student from a warm locale is likely to remain in a warm locale for school. Many of the best high school baseball players are from those warmer, southern-er cities.
Schools in the north usually play many of their non-conference games away from home. While Minnesota can play in climate-controlled oblivion, Northwestern, Illinois, and Northern Illinois really have to wait for the ice to melt to have a proper game at home. Or practice. ("Are you talkin' about practice?")
So the strong possibility exists that a warm-weather school you've never heard of could be better at baseball than a football bowl school from the north.
This article has nothing to do with the Cubs, but everything to do with front offices in general.
What does an International talent showcase look like? And why do so many international phenoms wash out? This is a first-hand view from Baseball America's Ben Badler. Here Badler highlights some names to mind. And the third part of his series examines a team's workout.
The Cubs will have the second-largest kitty to spend, to start with, come July for international talent. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a spare part in the rebuild (Shawn Camp or another veteran-type) get sent to a team for cap space. As I understand it, a team's bonus is quartered. For instance, if a team has $2 million in international cap room, what they really get is four half-million dollar chips. So, as I understand it, if they sign a pitcher from Venezuela for $375,000, that costs them their entire chip. If they sign him for $1.2 million, it cost them three chips. So, having 'a chip and a chair' helps in adding talent. It will probably be in vain, but trading Camp or another in July for a $300,000 chip from another team may help in signing 2020's second baseman.
Lastly, you get to play the scout on a high-school pitcher named Shane Nobiensky. I haven't even watched this video. What say you, remembering he is an amateur still. Here is a link to the video, and here's another one for a high-school righthander named Dustin Driver.