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I would like to begin this year’s holidays by wishing those celebrating a very Merry Christmas and a happy seventh day of Hanukkah. And if you’re celebrating the festival, I hope you’ve communicated your grievances appropriately.

TIP OF THE DAYIf you haven’t read it Rich Biesterfield’s second article on North Side Bound, it’s a classic. Rich reached out to multiple players who commented on some of their vacation memories in an unforgettable post.

A trip to Iowa

There was some minor league news this week. The Cubs signed Sergio Alcantara to a minor league contract. He has already been assigned to Triple-A Iowa State. He played with the Cubs the year before and the year before that and would provide some depth to the major league team in the event of an injury. The Cubs also signed pitcher Nick Neidert to a MiLB deal. He previously pitched for the Marlins. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Rennis Elias, a free agent from the Mariners, was contacted by the Cubs. Elias is a starter in the Dominican this winter and has been dominant.

Bahamian HR King

BJ Murray topped everyone this week as he won a home run derby in the Bahamas that involved hitting baseballs into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a pretty interesting format and it was great to see him come out on top. Murray was born in the Bahamas and played college ball at Florida Atlantic.

Hudson is on the move

In sad news, longtime Cubs prospect Brian Hudson signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was assigned to Oklahoma City. Brian pitched last year at Iowa State and was very close to making it to Chicago. Good luck to him in pursuing his dream as he is very close to making it happen. Best of luck! PS: He is still only 25 years old.

Pipeline’s Porter Hodge Love

MLB Pipeline an exit perspective of 2022 was chosen for each organization. An amazing choice was made for the cubs. It wasn’t Matt Mervis, nor was it Louis Devers. Instead, it was my son, Porter Hodge. This is why Jonathan Mayo chose Porter.

A high school draftee out of Utah State who signed as a 13th-rounder in 2019, Hodge had back surgery in 2020 and posted a combined 6.44 ERA in 2019 and 2021. Improved conditioning and fitness led to 2022 when his stuff improved and results followed. Hodge pitched at two levels of A ball and finished with a 2.63 ERA, 11.6 K/9 and a .202 batting average.

Prospects Live’s Porter Hodge Love

MLB Pipeline isn’t the only one who loves Porter Hodge. Yesterday, Prospects Live released its top 10 Cubs list for the public and top 30 list for paying customers. Greg Zumach covered it for us and Porter came in at No. 6, a shocking position. Strangely, there was no player description about him in the free version.

As a result, the prospect list season is 1/3 over. As for the standings, PCA is first followed by Kevin Alcantara and Brennen Davis and then Cade Horton and Hayden Wesneski. Matt Mervis is sixth despite not being in the top 10 yesterday. Cristian Hernandez is the only player in double figures with 10 points per prospect so far.

IFA Buzz:

When it comes to international free agency, we’ve all had our sights set on the Cubs’ best possible signee in the 2024 signing period. Fernando Cruz is still growing, but the young shortstop is already showing impressive skills. One executive said that if there was an international draft in 2024, Cruz would easily go No. 1.

Video of the week

Greg Huss continues to go through his top 40 prospect list in video form. He made 21 of 30 this week. Check it out.

Statistics of the week

Walker Powell was also a guy who broke out last year. Mervis’ running equivalent, the 6-foot-8 righty carved through three levels of the minors last year improving at every turn, which included adding 3-4 mph to his fastball and pinpoint control and surprising ground ball speed. Walker should start the year at Iowa.

Coming up on the north side

Things are getting back to normal here on the North Side Bund. Next week’s position breakdown series will focus on the outside linebackers. That means we’re halfway through and we only have four pillars left. The “5 Series” will feature Cole Franklin, while South Bend will get the “tied review treatment.” Cubs on Deck returns for episode four as Greg and Greg talk baseball. Look for it North Side Bound’s YouTube channel already on Tuesday morning. Make sure and hit the Subscribe button to stay up to date on any of our videos.

Greg Huss will also be back for the third part of his four-part video series as he breaks down 11 of 20 on his top 40 prospect list. And we got to have our seventh mailbag too. will be busy.

Session for the week of Hannukah

This off season, I’m taking a break from the album of the week to highlight a video I saw of this week’s Hanukkah sessions. These were started four years ago by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and producer Greg Kursten, where each night of Hanukkah the duo released a video of a song written or performed by famously Jewish Dave’s daughter Violet, who is just 16 years old. Janice Ian’s beautiful and moving rendition of Seventeen. His timing/phrasing is just flawless.

Have a great day!


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