Chicago Cubs News: Tennessee Smokies open up their playoff series today

Down on the Chicago Cubs farm system, the Tennessee Smokies will open their playoff series today against the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Smokies celebrate the combined no-hitter on the mound after a game against the Rocket City Trash
Smokies celebrate the combined no-hitter on the mound after a game against the Rocket City Trash / Jamar Coach/News Sentinel / USA TODAY
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Down on the farm, the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate Tennessee Smokies open up their playoff series today against the Chattanooga Lookouts. For those unaware, the season is broken up into two halves, and the division winners of each half (or next best in the second half if the same team wins again) are crowned the four playoff teams for their corresponding league. For the Southern League, the smokes finished in first place with a mark of 39-30 and are wholly stacked after recent promotions.

The Smokies have several of the organization's top prospects getting a taste of playoff baseball, and the hope is that it translates well, with the team having a good chance against a Lookouts team that finished the season 2-11. Top prospects to keep an eye on for Tennessee:

1. Owen Caissie (MLB #64, #3 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)
2. Kevin Alcantara (MLB #71, #4 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)
3. Matt Shaw (MLB #97, #6 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)
4. Moises Ballesteros (#7 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)
5. James Triantos (#9 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)
6. Haydn McGeary (#17 in Cubs top 30 (MLB Pipeline)

The talent will undoubtedly be there, and perhaps the advantage, given that the Cincinnati Reds' system, although significant in its own right, has just one top-100 prospect and four in their top 30 at the Double-A level. Nevertheless, what will be essential to see is how these Cubs prospects can adapt to the pressure of the playoffs and the most important games so far in their young careers.

Should they advance in the first round, they will face the Montgomery vs. Pensacola series winner for a shot at the Southern League championship. Last season, the Smokies fell short in the best-of-three championship round against Pensacola 2 games to 1, so a little redemption is undoubtedly in order this time around.

Best of luck to the Tennessee Smokies. It's been a fun season. Let's cap it off with a banner to raise in 2024.

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