For those that collect minor league baseball cards, visiting each minor league affiliate’s team store is a good place to get some discounted team sets. Typically, previous year’s sets (if still available) are much less than what you would find on eBay or a minor league dealer’s inventory.
Since I had a few bucks left on a gift card, I decided to shop the Cubs minor league affiliate team stores for some discounted sets. I landed on the South Bend Cubs, the Midwest League (low-Class A) affiliate and found their 2017 team sets were just $6. I bought two.
Leading it off is my favorite prospect in baseball, even though he is no longer in the Cubs system: Dylan Cease. Cease has been lighting up the minor leagues his entire professional career. When he was in the Cubs system in the short season league, he was a wild man with his pitches. A lot of strikeouts, but a lot of walks and hit by pitches. He has really turned things around as he has graduated each level and earlier this season was moved up to the double-A Birmingham Barons in the White Sox organization. Cease, along with Eloy Jimenez, were dealt to the Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Cease’s 2018 stat line: 11-2, 2.71 ERA, 131K/41BB in 106.1 innings. Boy, I wish he was in Tennessee, not Birmingham.
Ian Happ gets a card in the 2017 set, despite playing for the big league Cubs last season. This card was to announce he became the first South Bend Cubs player to reach the major leagues.
Bryan Hudson was the Cubs third round pick in 2015 out of Alton (IL) High School. Hudson is currently with the high-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and sports a record of 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA and 61K/47BB.
Dakota Mekkes is likely to be called up to the Cubs this season. Mekkes is with the Iowa Cubs pitching out of the bullpen. He’s 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA and has 11 saves on the year.
Tyson Miller has started 17 games this year for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and has a 8-6 record with a 3.42 ERA.
Kevonte Mitchell is also with Myrtle Beach and this is his fifth season in the Cubs organization. Mitchell is batting .218 with 13 doubles on the year.
Isaac Paredes was once a top prospect in the Cubs organization, but was sent to the Detroit Tigers in the Alex Avilia/Justin Wilson deal a year ago. He currently ranks as the #12 prospect in the Tigers organization by MLB Pipeline.
D.J. Wilson is batting .246 at Myrtle Beach.
One thing I don’t like about these cards are the photos used are too up-close. Cards of pitchers in action, in my opinion, have a better look when the image is further out, unlike this Matt Swarmer shot.
Another gripe about the photography is that in a minor league card I enjoy the ballpark as a background image. Minor league parks (and games) are so quirky, and getting a view of the park is fun.
You couldn’t pick a better name for a shortstop than Zack Short.
Wyatt is also a Short, but he’s a pitcher. But he is kind of short for a pitcher at 5-foot-8.
Manny Rondon came to the Cubs in a 2015 trade that sent Rafael Lopez to the Angels.
Duncan Robinson has made it to double-A, and has a 5-4 record with a 4.71 ERA with the Tennessee Smokies. His strikeout-walk ratio of 97/18 is impressive.
Chris Pieters, from Curacao, has been in the Cubs organization since 2012 as a 17-year old. He is spending the 2018 campaign with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Jhonny Pereda was also signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old, spending his first professional season with the Cubs in the 2013 Venezuelan Summer League.
Yeiler Peguero has split the 2018 season between South Bend (28 games) and Myrtle Beach (35 games).
Tyler Payne returned to South Bend in 2018 and only appeared in 13 games due to injury.
This Jose Paulino image is a bit grainy. The pitcher from Dominican Republic is now with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Erling Moreno was signed out of Colombia in 2013.
The Alberto Mineo card has an error on the back stating he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2011. Mineo was signed out of Italy by the Cubs in 2012. Mineo is from Gorizia, Italy.
Vimael Machin has played at every level of the Cubs organization. He spent 2015 with short season Eugene and low-A South Bend. Machin played at those levels again in 2016, but appeared on a spot basis in triple-A Iowa for 14 games. Machin played in Myrtle Beach in 2017 and has logged 54 games with double-A Tennessee in 2018.
John Michael Knighton was the Cubs 17th round pick in 2014.
Marc Huberman is no longer with the Cubs and is playing this season with the independent Rockland Boulders of the Canadian-American Association.
Chad Hockin has tossed 5.2 innings for Myrtle Beach this season out of the bullpen. Hockin is Harmon Killebrew’s grandson and is out the rest of the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
While I complained earlier about the photography used on these cards, the Wladimir Galindo image is an A+. The third baseman is playing his 2018 season in Myrtle Beach.
Jared Cheek has not appeared in any games in 2018, and I can’t find information online if he was released or is injured.
If I were to rank the images used on this team set on a scale, Wladimir Galindo being the best…Roberto Caro would be the worst. Not a good photo used on this one.
Luis Ayala was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.
Coach Jeremy Farrell is the son of Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, and played some pro ball himself. The South Bend Cubs coach spent seven seasons in the minor leagues with the Pirates and White Sox.
Jimmy Gonzalez was the Cubs manager, and 2017 was his fourth season as the skipper. He played 14 seasons as a player after being drafted in the first round by the Houston Astros in 1991.
Brian Lawrence made his major league debut in 2001 and played six years with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets before entering the coaching ranks.
Jonathan Mota is a former Cubs farmhand after being signed in 2003. The 2017 season was his second with the South Bend Cubs as a coach.
The neat thing about minor league team sets are the other members of the staff in the set, such as trainers. Logan Severson and I share an alma mater. In fact, we probably crossed paths at Western Illinois. He was a graduate assistant at WIU from 2013-2015 (I worked in the athletics department from 2011-2014).
Ryan Nordvedt served his fifth season as strength and conditioning coach in 2017.
Always fun to go through minor league team sets. I’ll probably shop for some 2018 team sets in the near future.