Hoyer excited about future of Cubs farm system
Wednesday was “affiliate day” around Major League Baseball where teams issued invitations to their minor league affiliates.
The Cubs had no major changes, retaining their affiliates in Iowa, Tennessee, South Bend and Myrtle Beach. The only shake-up of that group is now South Bend will be Advanced Class-A with Myrtle Beach switching to the Low-A level. Iowa will remain in Triple-A and Tennessee stays put at the Double-A level.
The Eugene Emeralds had spent the last few years as the short-season Class-A affiliate for the Cubs, but they are now the full-season, Low-A club in the San Francisco Giants system.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer feels fortunate to maintain that continuity within the minor league ranks and appreciates the relationships that have been formed over the last few years.
He’s also optimistic about the players that will make stops along the four levels in 2021.
“We really overhauled our player development a year ago and we were excited to get going and to see the progress,” Hoyer said on “Cubs Live!” on Marquee Sports Network Wednesday night. “Internally, we saw a lot of progress – whether it was at the alt site [in South Bend] and instructs or just working remotely with guys.
“But unfortunately the public sees very little of that, so really excited for next year. I know we’re gonna have a minor league season of some length and I think we’ll be able to see the proof of concept of what we’re trying to do.
“Our farm system is certainly on the rise and I think next year will be a big turning point for it.”
Nobody could have anticipated the way the pandemic wiped out the minor league season in 2020, but the Cubs did the best they could with the hand they were dealt. At the alternate site in South Bend this summer, they had a unique group of players getting to work out together and share insight and advice.
Adbert Alzolay was a success story from that group, adding a slider and 2-seam fastball in South Bend and then debuting it to impressive results in a handful of big-league outings.
A trio of top position player prospects – outfielder Brennen Davis, infielder Christopher Morel and catcher Miguel Amaya – also received valuable development time alongside veteran players at the alternate site this summer.
Throw in top pitching prospect Brailyn Marquez (who made his MLB debut on the final day of the regular season) and the Cubs’ recent draft haul (Chicago native/shortstop Ed Howard, relief pitcher Burl Carraway) and the Cubs farm system is poised for a fascinating 2021.