Mick Gillispie broke the news Tuesday night the top pitching prospect in the system would begin the year in Double-A Tennessee’s bullpen. And the beat writers asked Jed Hoyer about the Cubs decision to start C.J. Edwards in the pen, not in the rotation.
The Cubs are not ruling out Edwards returning to a starting role later in the season, but for now using Edwards as a reliever gives the team a better way to monitor his innings and workload. Edwards completed only 53 2/3 innings during the season and another 15 innings in the Arizona Fall League due to the right shoulder strain that wiped out a majority of his year. Edwards finished 2013 with 116 1/3 innings between High-A Hickory and High-A Daytona in the Rangers and Cubs systems.
The Cubs also liked what they saw from Edwards out of the pen during the Cactus League games. And Jed Hoyer pointed to Edwards possibly being “a weapon” for the Cubs out of the pen later in the summer.
Jed Hoyer told the beat writers,”There’s no doubt he showed us this spring that he can really be a weapon for us. We’ll start him out in some shorter outings. That way, as you get into the summer, you still have some innings left. As opposed to kind of burning up all those innings in April, and feeling like now all of a sudden when you’re in a pennant race … and you need a guy in the big leagues … you’ve already used up those bullets.”
“Certainly, I think there’s maybe a quicker path for him to the big leagues as a reliever. We certainly in no way, shape or form have given up on him as a starter. But we also realize we probably have to manage his innings a little bit this year.”
Minor League Opening Day
It’s Opening Day in Minor League Baseball and the top four affiliates in the Cubs’ system begin the season tonight. Weather permitting, most of the attention will be on the Iowa Cubs due to the starting lineup that should include Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Javier Baez.
Kyle Schwarber makes his Double-A debut, Duane Underwood gets the ball for Myrtle Beach and Jake Stinnett will throw the first pitch for the South Bend Cubs.
Triple-A Iowa Cubs
The Iowa Cubs open the season in Memphis with a four-game series against the Redbirds. Donn Roach takes the ball for the I-Cubs and all eyes will be on the big three of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Javier Baez.
Iowa opens the year with eight games on the road. The first game at Principal Park is Friday, April 17 against the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Double-A Tennessee Smokies
The Smokies kick off the season in Mississippi against the Braves. Corey Black gets the Opening Day nod with first pitch scheduled for 7:00pm CDT. Double-A Tennessee play their first five games on the road in Mississippi. The Smokies first home game is Wednesday, April 15 against Pensacola.
The Smokies first roster features nine of the top prospects in the system: Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, C.J. Edwards, Bijan Rademacher, Corey Black, Rob Zastryzny, Dan Vogelbach, Ivan Pineyro and Christian Villanueva.
High- A Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Duane Underwood takes the hill tonight for Myrtle Beach when the Pelicans open the season at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals), first pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm CDT. Daury Torrez (Friday) and Paul Blackburn (Saturday) will follow Underwood in Mark Johnson’s rotation.
High-A Myrtle Beach begins the year with seven home games before hitting the road for a seven-game trip against Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) and Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox).
Alberto Mineo and Michael Heesch are starting the season on the DL.
Low-A South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs open the season at Four Winds Field tonight (6:05pm CDT) behind Jake Stinnett. South Bend has three home games with Bowling Green (Bowling Green Hot Rods, Tampa Bay Rays) before hitting the road with three in Dayton (Dayton Dragons, Cincinnati Reds) and three in Fort Wayne (Fort Wayne TinCaps, San Diego Padres).
Myrtle Beach Pelicans on MiLB.TV
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans announced upgrades to video production and MiLB.TV for the 2015 season. The Pelicans will provide HD video in stadium and ramped up live streaming feed.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, have made substantial improvements in their video production for both in-park entertainment and the MiLB.TV video feed, which will be in place on Opening Day, Thursday, April 9. The new equipment will broadcast games in full high definition resolution across all TV’s within TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark and allow for higher-quality replays during the game. Consequentially, MiLB.TV feed quality is much improved as well.
This offseason, the club installed a new TriCaster 855 series video broadcasting unit. This allows the control room to fully utilize the seven high definition (HD) cameras, whereas the previous equipment compressed the quality into a standard definition (SD) signal. The new equipment also allows the production team to access and switch between eight different inputs, whereas they could access only four before. This means that fans will see more angles and more of the fan experience both in-park and on MiLB.TV.
“This investment allows us to provide a better in-park telecast, a better broadcast on MiLB.TV for Cubs and Pelicans fans across the county, and helps our local news affiliates by providing additional high-quality highlights to supplement their newscasts,” explained Pelicans President and General Manager Andy Milovich in a statement. “This investment is consistent with our goal of delivering a first-class fan experience and the best possible broadcast for our fans who can’t make it out.”
The team has access to nine different cameras around the ballpark, with four of them being manned by camera operators, while five more are static. Additionally, all team-produced highlights shown on any TV news broadcasts will be in full HD as well, along with all Pelicans YouTube channel highlights.
“Within the realm of Minor League Baseball, few can say that they have access to as many HD cameras as we do,” said Pelicans In-Game Entertainment / Video Production Manager Kyle Guertin in a statement. “With the new technology in place, we are able to access double the amount of camera feeds that we had a year ago”
When live-streaming online video, all Minor League Baseball game broadcasts are compressed into SD. Some of those broadcasts are down-converted to resemble high definition video, which is what the Pelicans will also do for online video streaming on MiLB.TV. The Pelicans are one of only three Class A-Advanced teams to have MiLB.TV, and with the installment of the new TriCaster 850, the quality for these streaming broadcasts will be improved compared to those in 2014.
Fans interested in purchasing MiLB.TV can do so for a subscription price of $49.99/yr. or $12.99/mo.
The Pelicans season begins on Thursday, April 9, when the Birds host the Wilmington Blue Rocks for a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The game can be heard live on 1450 WRNN-AM ESPN Myrtle Beach, on the TuneIn Radio App, and via the MiLB First Pitch App, beginning with the Hampton Inn Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m. The game will also air along with live streaming video on MiLB.TV (subscription required).