Cubs continue makeover with new farm director
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com August 29, 2012 11:14PM
Brandon Hyde was named the Cubs’ farm director on Wednesday. | J. Meric~Getty Images
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:35PM
The Cubs’ first-year front office borrowed from the Miami Marlins’ player development in the continuing reshaping of the organization Wednesday, filling its farm-director job with Brandon Hyde.
Hyde, 38, was brought in this year as the Cubs’ minor-league field coordinator after spending last
season as the Marlins’ bench coach and five seasons before that managing players such as Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison in the Marlins’ farm system, one of the more productive systems in baseball.
As the fifth-place Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday with a nine-rookie roster and an 8-11 pitcher one broadcaster referred to as the ‘‘ace’’ on the mound, it wasn’t hard to visualize Hyde’s job as one of the key roles in the organization for at least the next two or three years.
Between the 2011 draft (Javier
Baez, Dan Vogelbach, Dillon Maples), the 2012 draft (Albert Almora, Pierce Johnson) and international free agency this year (Jorge Soler), the Cubs’ rebuilding efforts figure to rely heavily on the development of its current Class A crop.
‘‘This opportunity is exciting for me,’’ said Hyde, who spent much of the season evaluating players throughout the Cubs’ system. ‘‘Two of our lower-level clubs [rookie-level Mesa and low-A Boise] are
going to be in the playoffs, and a lot of teams showed improvement in the second half.
‘‘We have a lot of good things coming. And [Boise’s] a really
exciting group of players, and we’re excited about the new draft of guys. So there are a lot of good things on the horizon.’’
Team officials, including manager Dale Sveum, already have started working with Hyde on a specific philosophy and checklist of expectations for developing and promoting prospects.
‘‘When you’re starting over again and when you’ve got new people in these high positions ... we want to build this minor-league system to where we have complete players when they get here,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘An organization’s got to have that kind of [methodology] etched in stone: ‘This is the way we want things, and you’re not moving up to the different levels until these things are done.’ ’’
Hyde, a former minor-league catcher and first baseman who spent four seasons in the White Sox’ system, says a lot of that falls on his shoulders.
‘‘My job is to produce players and develop players to be impact big-leaguers,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re all working together to make the product down here at Wrigley Field a winner.’’
His most important project in the organization right now might be Soler, the 20-year-old outfielder from Cuba who got a nine-year,
$30 million deal eight weeks ago.
Hyde was involved in the decision to leave Soler off the Cubs’ list of candidates for the Arizona Fall League that features mostly top Class AA and Class AAA players, despite Soler’s quick advancement from Mesa and .305 start at
Class A Peoria.
‘‘We’re excited about the start he’s had in Peoria; he just hasn’t played much,’’ Hyde said of Soler, who sat out formal leagues the last year while waiting to clear residency hurdles.
Soler will spend five weeks playing instructional-league ball
Hyde replaces Oneri Fleita, who was fired two weeks ago, just one year after ownership gave him a four-year extension.
Hyde beat out finalists Alex
Suarez, the Cubs player development/international scouting coordinator, and former Atlanta Braves farm director Kurt Kemp, now a professional scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.