Cubs begin building their 'Carmine' system

573448.jpg

Cubs begin building their 'Carmine' system

Information is everything to Theo Epstein.

The Boston media liked to make fun of Carmine, the computer system used by the Red Sox and a main character in a Sports Illustrated profile timed with the release of the Moneyball movie last September.

Epstein has downplayed the influence, pointing out that virtually every business has a way to organize and manage data. The Cubs arent going to be run by a laptop, but they are looking for cutting-edge technology.

Bloomberg Sports, a leader in analytics, announced a partnership with the team on Thursday to design a new player-evaluation system for the baseball operations department.

It will include video and a statistical database and have mobile capabilities. It will presumably be the central place where Cubs personnel will file reports scouting, background, medical on their own players, opponents and potential draft picks and international signings.

When Tom Ricketts began searching last summer for someone to run baseball operations, the chairman explicitly wanted an executive who would embrace statistical analysis and modernize the front office.

At his introductory press conference last October, Epstein promised to build a research-and-development wing for his department, so that the Cubs could get ahead of the curve and find the next competitive advantages.

Epstein knows that the concepts behind Moneyball arent revolutionary. The professional tools designed by Bloomberg Sports are used by more than two-thirds of the 30 major-league clubs. The company also says its tablet products are accessed by more than 200 big-leaguers. The entire industry now essentially looks at the market the same way.

No one ignores the numbers, and everyone understands the importance of good scouting. That battle has already been fought. Its just a matter of degrees, which way you might lean on a particular decision. This information-management system is supposed to help guide them.

Nearly a decade ago after becoming the youngest general manager in major-league history Epstein got credit for surrounding himself with some old-school baseball guys in Boston and placing a high value on traditional scouting.

Carmine 2.0 wont be taking over at Clark and Addison.

Baseball organizations are made up of human beings, Epstein has said. Theyre not just robots that put up numbers. Theyre not commodities traded. I know (Ive) referred to a player as an asset. Thats business speak. Thats not what I believe.

Watch, listen to "Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series"

Watch, listen to "Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series"

Watch the incredible story of World Series Game 7 now. 

"Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series" tells the story behind the Cubs finally ending "the curse." Through exclusive interview footage, country music star Brett Eldredge narrates what could be labeled the greatest Game 7 in professional sports history. 

Catch the online version in the video above. Note that because of MLB rules, no highlight footage can be shown on the online version. 

If you prefer, an audio version. Check out the podcast below. 

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

MESA, Ariz. – After an impressive camp where he looked like the next homegrown Cubs hitter to roll off the assembly line, Ian Happ will go to Triple-A Iowa and get ready to make his big-league debut, or perhaps build his value for a trade-deadline deal.

Along with Happ, the Cubs assigned outfielder John Andreoli and catcher Taylor Davis to minor-league camp on Monday while optioning pitchers Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny to Iowa, cutting their roster to 31 as the Opening Night picture comes into focus.

Happ – the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati – batted .417 with five homers, four doubles and 17 RBI in 24 Cactus League games.

"Offensively, what was there not to like?" general manager Jed Hoyer said. "I feel like he hit the ball hard every at-bat for six weeks. It's always fun to see a young guy like that come in and open a lot of eyes."

Happ, 22, is a switch-hitter who can play second base and the outfield, skills that could help him escape from Des Moines once the need arises on the major-league level.

[MORE CUBS: How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber]

Though there are questions about Happ's defense, Theo Epstein's front office and Joe Maddon's coaching staff clearly value versatility and trust young talent, moving Addison Russell to shortstop in 2015 and elevating rookie catcher Willson Contreras last season.

Stay tuned to see when/if the Cubs will have a spot at Wrigley Field, but Happ looks like he will be on a fast track.

"Whenever you're in Triple-A, you're always a call away," Hoyer said. "Sometimes it happens quicker than you think. We never expected Addie would be up in April of that year, and he was. I feel like with Willson last year, if you had asked me in spring training – would he be up in June? – I probably would have thought it would be more like a September call-up or something like that.

"You never know. Things happen. When you have good players in the minor leagues, sometimes it speeds up on you a little bit."