I nearly labeled today as the real Opening Day for baseball but I know most don't hold my view on the matter. Sure, the Majors are more important, but in my mind the season doesn't get into full swing until we get the baseball overload of not just the dozen or so MLB games, but another 10+ games across each of the four full-season Minor League levels. Of the many ways that baseball is different than other sports this abundance of action on a daily basis is probably my favorite.
The Iowa Cubs have the privilege to kick off the first of 55 MiLB games across 27 states at 3:05 CST. Even accounting for the inevitable rain outs we are still looking at the potential for 60+ baseball games played today if you also include the slate of 11 scheduled MLB matchups. The festivities in Des Moines became even more unique thanks to a late announcement that the I-Cubs will now play an Opening Day doubleheader. Due to inclement weather expected this weekend, Sunday's contest will be played tonight instead. Somewhere Mr. Cub is smiling.
Announcements on the starting pitchers has been late in coming. At this time only Myrtle Beach has published their choice, 2017 3rd round selection Keegan Thompson.
His curve is a plus pitch with good depth that is effective inside and outside the zone. pic.twitter.com/Tu7FblloUC
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) March 25, 2018
My guess is that Jen-Ho Tseng and Alec Mills will be handling the duties in Iowa but as to which will pitch the opener... (UPDATE: I was half-wrong. Tseng will start the opener while veteran Michael Roth pitches game two. The Smokies have announced Trevor Clifton will take the ball for them tonight.)
Cubs Den will of course begin our Daily Cubs Minors Recaps tomorrow. The format will start off much the same as it did at the end of last season, but I might experiment, or at least tinker here and there, as the season progresses. I will also be posting more prospect video on my twitter account (@mj_ernst) than I will be able to include in the daily posts, but I will insert snippets like the one above when relevant. I would also highly recommend signing up for MiLB.TV if you have $50 to spare. All five of the Cubs top affiliates broadcast their home games and the Myrtle Beach, South Bend and Eugene broadcasts in particular have been very well done the past couple of years. Without John's presence in Mesa this summer I will be relying mostly on AZ Phil's articles over at the The Cub Reporter for Extended Spring Training news.