In the prospect rankings, there have been recurring uncertainties about how to rank guys like Wells and Whitenack, given their health uncertainties. Or rondon, who is unfamiliar to most of us. Or many of the distant low-innings pitchers (Maples-Underwood-Paniagua-Johnson-Blackburn....)
In past years, the minor league session at the convention has often provided some interesting info. Sometimes updates on how rehab guys are doing. Velocity input. X has been showing good progress with change, Y is adding a cutter, Z was throwing both slider and curve but this year it's going to be all curve. We'll continue to work Q as a starter for a while longer, but we probably think he'll end up in relief. P has added 20 pounds of muscle. T, U, and V showed really good progress in fall instrux.
1. Will there be a minor league session again? Or might that be something that Hendry thrived in, and his successors Stockstill and Fleita continued to do, but the new guys won't?
2. It's been Fleita and Wilken for years. If they have it, I wonder who will be the management guys who represent? Hyde as the new boss, even though he hasn't gone through a season with the players yet? McLeod?
3. It used to be an hour with just Hendry, which gave him time to answer a ton of questions about a bunch of prospects. Later less articulate Wilken joined, and Fleita is so gushy that it was hard to filter through the hyperbole. Plus recently they have a handful of prospects who aren't very articulate and waste a bunch of the time that Hendry used to have. If they still have it, I wonder if they'll stick with the recent diluted format?
4. Anybody going?
I'm hopeful that with the new regime and it's emphasis on farm and development, that they'll consider this to be a very worthwhile section, and maintain it. I hope that, if anything, they make it better. If they canned the prospects, and just gave it to McLeod, or McLeod and Hyde, I'd love it. If they moved it up to a better spot, on Saturday instead of Sunday, or perhaps in a bigger room, that would be nice too. I'd love to have it such that WGN would record it and post it.
I'm also hopeful that we'll get some happy news. You know, "Our doctors have been really thorough with Ben Wells, and we don't have any concerns that his issues last summer will carry over. After the rehab program he's gone through, his arm is very strong and he's at no greater risk than any other pitcher his age." "Jose Rosario did not need surgery, he'll be 100% go when camp opens." "A couple of Latin pitchers to keep your eye on are X/Y/Z..... X was not a big-dollar signing, but he's been really progressing...." "Maples is 100% physically, and we've made some mechanical adjustments this fall, his release point is now consistent...."
So hopefully some guys will rise in our expectations.