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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 31, 2017 at 06:13 PM (#5466508)
12 hits in the 3 game sweep in SD.
   2. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 31, 2017 at 06:21 PM (#5466515)
At this point they need to DL Schwarber with the clap or something. Let Jay/Happ/Zobrist take his at bats and stand in the outfield.

The frustrating bit is that apart from that one weird disaster, the rest of the starter lineup is just kinda hovering around the bottom of their reasonable projection windows. You can say Rizzo, Heyward, Russell, and Contreras are better than they've shown but not so much better you would chalk them up as improving going forward.

On the plus side, lots of things are going wrong and the Cubs are still right there. If even a handful of things start to go right they can run and hide.
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:19 PM (#5466565)
Reposing something from the lounge:

This is the Astros year.

Yeah, the Cubs could still turn it around. I sure hope they do. But for 50+ games the sense is “wait it out, and it’ll get better.” Well, at a certain point in time, you gotta figure a team isn’t gonna have as good a season as expected. Hopefully not, but not gonna assume so at this point. Several years ago in one of their books, Prospectus did a study: at what point does a team’s regular season record tell you more about them than their preseason projection? Their study concluded that 48 games is when the actual record becomes as important as the predictions. Best of luck to the Astros.

-----

The main advantage the Cubs have right now is the entire division is meh. But at a certain point, a team is what it's record says it is.

They could still turn it around, sure. I can recall in 2015 after the Phillies series - you remember that Phillies series? The one where they got no-hit one day and the next day had David Ross pitch the 9th they got drubbed so bad? At that point they looked terrible. (I remember our own retroshitie making a post on Book of Faces saying that this team wasn't going anywhere this year immediately after that series). And they turned it around almost immediately afterwards.

But it's no longer early. Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror. And when a team starts out 25-27, odds ain't great that they'll go 65-45 the rest of the way; even if they're supposed to be better than 25-27.

They're still young. 2017 isn't a window closing. It's just an annoying, disappointing season.

(Man, can you imagine what the reaction would be like across Cubs nation to this start if they'd lost Game 7 last year?)
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5466568)
Good thing they're in the NL Central. I was amazed to see after last night's loss that they were only 1.5 games out. Their season would be in trouble already if they were in nearly any of the other divisions in baseball.

I do think the offense will improve, but man, this rotation just seems uninspiring.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5466569)
At this point they need to DL Schwarber with the clap or something.

A variation on the slumpbuster, I guess.
   6. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5466570)
(Man, can you imagine what the reaction would be like across Cubs nation to this start if they'd lost Game 7 last year?)


This sentiment can't be repeated enough. We all remember 2004 and how it was almost impossible to enjoy very much just because every setback was magnified by 2003.

For now, it's not a very enjoyable team to watch, but 2016 really made it hard to let that frustration simmer into anger.
   7. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:26 PM (#5466571)
I'd say Schwarber's been the biggest disappointment. Maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad if he hadn't returned for the World Series and looked so locked in. I think most of us assumed we'd be getting that guy in 2017. But he's been more like 2006 Jeromy Burnitz.

   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 31, 2017 at 08:42 PM (#5466576)
But he's been more like 2006 Jeromy Burnitz.

Hell, he's veering into 2011 Adam Dunn territory.

Kyle Schwarber: April 30 to May 30:
23 G
82 AB
11 H
3 2B
0 3B
5 HR
12 BB
24 K
1 HBP
1 GIDP
.134/.253/.354 AVG/OBP/SLG

That isn't as bad as Dunn in 2011 because Schwarber's showing more power than Dunn did that year. But ... a .134 batting average over a month of play. 3 singles in 23 games.

(looks it up). Across all MLB, pitchers are batting .125 in 2017. So in terms of batting average, he's been a hair better than a typical pitcher.

0-4 today with 2 Ks. That's a .128 batting average. Almost the same as a pitcher.
   9. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 01, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5466762)
(Man, can you imagine what the reaction would be like across Cubs nation to this start if they'd lost Game 7 last year?)

While true, I'm tired of hearing it. They didn't, so I don't have to imagine it. No reason to wallow in missed pain and heartbreak.

They could still turn it around, sure. I can recall in 2015 after the Phillies series - you remember that Phillies series? The one where they got no-hit one day and the next day had David Ross pitch the 9th they got drubbed so bad? At that point they looked terrible. (I remember our own retroshitie making a post on Book of Faces saying that this team wasn't going anywhere this year immediately after that series). And they turned it around almost immediately afterwards.

But it's no longer early. Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror. And when a team starts out 25-27, odds ain't great that they'll go 65-45 the rest of the way; even if they're supposed to be better than 25-27.


The date of that no-hitter: July 25th. Cubs were 51-45, finished the season 46-20. So, no, they're not going to win in the neighborhood of the 100 games most of us thought. But I'm still a long, long, long, long way from calling this an annoying, disappointing season. It's been an annoying, disappointing start.

Even if it's the Astros' year - and yeah, they're the best team today - doesn't mean anything about the Cubs getting into the playoffs or what can happen once the playoffs start. That Astros team is good, but they're not as good as the Cubs last year and I would still take my chances against any team the Cubs would see in the playoffs (assuming the Cubs get straightened out and get there).
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 01, 2017 at 10:12 AM (#5466767)
At this point they need to DL Schwarber with the clap or something. Let Jay/Happ/Zobrist take his at bats and stand in the outfield.

Yeah, I think I'm at the point where Schwarber needs some minor league time to get his timing back and unclear his head. If the Cubs want to provide him some cover with a DL stint instead of a straight-up demotion, I'd be ok with that.

Not sure Happ is really the answer though; after that hot start his last nine games he's at .071/.161./.071 with 13Ks in 31ABs. It's a small sample size - so was his hot start - but I think they've got a book on him and he hasn't adjusted yet. I'm a little surprised Almora is getting so few chances, makes me wonder if the Cubs still had Szczur would Almora already be back in AAA?

I agree with the overall idea of it's probably time to ride an OF rotation of Zobrist/Jay/mix of Heyward/Almora with Baez everyday at 2b (well, at least he should play every day, they can still spot Russell at SS until he gets straightened out).

I also know we overthink the lineup stuff, but Maddon has been trying a bunch of things to mix it up. The one thing he hasn't done yet is switch Rizzo and Bryant in the order; Rizzo is getting on base but he's hitting such a low average he's not driving anyone in. Do something like Jay/Rizzo/Bryant/Zobrist etc (and I like seeing Baez at leadoff against lefties) and see if that does something for him.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 02, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5467771)
Cubs lineup today against Lynn:

Happ
Bryant
Rizzo
Zobrist
Heyward
Montero
Schwarber
Russell
Lackey
   12. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 02, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5467796)
I think they miss Dexter.

Just something about him.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 02, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5467812)
Just something about him.

The fact that he can hit well, I'd say.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5467822)
Happ
Bryant
Rizzo
Zobrist
Heyward
Montero
Schwarber
Russell
Lackey


Why is Maddon still batting Zobrist 4th? Other than Bryant and Rizzo, he's clearly their best OBP guy. And he has very modest power. Why wouldn't you bat him in front of your two thumpers?
   15. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 02, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5467856)
The fact that he can hit well, I'd say.

He's at .228/.313/.433 right now. So while better than Schwarber's been, it's not exactly any sort of fix all.

Why is Maddon still batting Zobrist 4th? Other than Bryant and Rizzo, he's clearly their best OBP guy. And he has very modest power. Why wouldn't you bat him in front of your two thumpers?

Zobrist has been batting leadoff a lot lately; I think this is the first time he's been back there since Schwarber moved out of the leadoff spot. But the team is hitting around .200 with runners on, and no one is thumping right now. The idea - as it was last year with him behind them - is a guy who isn't likely to strike out and will put the ball in play and hopefully drive in some runs.
   16. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: June 02, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5467875)
I think they miss Dexter.

Just something about him.


The fact that he can hit well, I'd say.
I think the Cardinals miss him, too, at least the one that could hit well. That .317 OBP in the leadoff position is killing us this year.

Oh, coke to Moses, I guess.
   17. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 02, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5467877)
The idea that Cubs fans are giving up on this season on the second of June is just hilarious at this point.
   18. Batman Posted: June 02, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5467881)
The Cubs have always repeated in the past when they've won a World Series. I think they're going to sign Kevin Durant and then go undefeated the rest of the way.
   19. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 02, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5467924)
The idea that Cubs fans are giving up on this season on the second of June is just hilarious at this point.

Cubs fan. 1 person here. And I'm not seeing it anywhere else outside here either.
   20. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 02, 2017 at 01:31 PM (#5467932)
The idea that Cubs fans are giving up on this season on the second of June is just hilarious at this point.


I don't think anyone's given up on them - as folks have said, the saving grace is that the NLC kinda sucks this year. Kudos to the Brewers - they're playing well, but I still don't think they're gonna finish over .500 - so I don't even think the Cubs are in place where they even have to get super, scorching hot to get back into the driver's seat. They just need to - well, stop sucking.

But hey -
If you don't come out of a sweep at the hands of the ####### Padres feeling at least a little dispirited, you're probably not paying attention.

Frankly, I blame all our (Cubs fans) offseason work -- or lack thereof -- on properly conditioning ourselves to form the requisite sense of entitlement.

We got lazy and it shows.

How many people even tried to speculate on Jay being nothing more than a sign-and-trade for Mike Trout, huh? None. And did anyone even question why Kenley Jansen didn't just show up in Mesa with a blank contract and willingness to be a setup man and part-time closer? I did my part - fluffing Trevor Clifton as the 2nd coming of Fergie Jenkins... raving over how Eddie Butler might go all Jake Arrieta on us... Did anyone ever even get around to pre-ordering that Schwarber HoF plaque? No... of course not. And last I checked - Theo didn't get a single electoral college vote. Not one. Because lifting a finger would have cost you all precious celebration time. Lollygaggers. and now we all have to pay for it.

Might as well just get it over with, hand Lackey the cellphone, and have him start ordering up buckets of fried chicken.
   21. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: June 02, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5467958)
I realize it's not, but today just feels like a must-win game for the Cubs. They're playing the team directly ahead of them in the standings and the first place Brewers are facing the best pitcher in the National League. Seems like the day they need to start making up ground.
   22. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 02, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5467984)
I realize it's not, but today just feels like a must-win game for the Cubs. They're playing the team directly ahead of them in the standings and the first place Brewers are facing the best pitcher in the National League. Seems like the day they need to start making up ground.


So far, not so good.

At this rate, even the "at least we're not the Mets" is at risk of being in the rearview mirror by the middle of June...
   23. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: June 02, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5468009)
So what's up with Russell? Never pegged him to be a high average guy, but he's been pretty bad so far.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 03, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5468392)
Russell is the guy that concerns me most. More than schwarber.

@markgrotesports: Joe maddon says that this is "not a day off" for Addison Russell. That he is "rotating" Russell and Javier Baez at short.

   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 03, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5468402)
Longtime baseball scribe Peter Gammons told 670 The Score on Friday that Bryce Harper's preference is to sign with the Chicago Cubs when he hits the open market.

"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper, really, would prefer to play for the Cubs," Gammons said.


Wha??
   26. Brian C Posted: June 03, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5468411)
That doesn't surprise me terribly to hear that about Harper. Either it's a smokescreen to build up a bidding war, or he respects the organization and his interest is genuine. Neither scenario seems far-fetched at all.

ETA: Or, the sources of these rumors are full of #### and neither Harper nor his people have said anything about the Cubs. But that wouldn't be surprising either.
   27. Meatwad Posted: June 04, 2017 at 02:15 AM (#5468507)
Too bad they cant afford harper. Maybe if heyward opts out in a fit of stupidity, bryant takes a discount and the rest agree to below market deals then they can sign him.
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5469068)
I think "can't" and "won't" are 2 different things. Outside of Bryant, none of the other young guys are trending toward uber-mega-unreal deals. Yes, it would take a HUGE increase in payroll, so I don't think it'll happen. Just interesting, and well, nice to hear other players envy what's going on here.
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5469072)
As for Addison, I thought this is a good read (subscription), but some small highlights:
So what’s going wrong? On the face of it, Russell’s statistics look fairly similar to last year’s. His strikeout to walk ratio (0.41) is an exact match of 2016’s mark, his spray chart looks basically the same (as always, he’s pulling about two in five pitches he sees), and his contact rate is once again hovering around 73 percent.

And for the Statcast lovers among you, his mean exit velocity is within 0.2 miles per hour of where it sat all through that solid 2016 campaign.


Part of the reason may be that Russell is both swinging less than ever before — on the first pitch, and overall — and seeing more pitches in the zone than ever (up to 49 percent, from 47 percent in both 2015 and 2016). That means that he’s often getting behind early in counts, which increases the likelihood that the pitches he swings at are breaking balls — which are harder to make solid contact on.

   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 05, 2017 at 01:55 PM (#5469076)
Sweep is a nice start.
   31. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 05, 2017 at 02:42 PM (#5469124)
The idea that Cubs fans are giving up on this season on the second of June is just hilarious at this point.

Cubs fan. 1 person here.

This about me? Because even in that post, I repeatedly said the Cubs could still turn it around. "Giving up" is way too strong because it implies there's no chance - stick a fork in it. And I repeatedly noted there was a chance, but I think this is the Astros year.

   32. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 05, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5469126)
Longtime baseball scribe Peter Gammons told 670 The Score on Friday that Bryce Harper's preference is to sign with the Chicago Cubs when he hits the open market.

"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper, really, would prefer to play for the Cubs," Gammons said


Wha??

LONGTIME BASEBALL SCRIBE PETER GAMMONS TOLD 670 THE SCORE ON FRIDAY THAT BRYCE HARPER'S PREFERENCE IS TO SIGN WITH THE CHICAGO CUBS WHEN HE HITS THE OPEN MARKET.

"I HAVE PEOPLE TELL ME THAT BRYCE HARPER, REALLY, WOULD PREFER TO PLAY FOR THE CUBS," GAMMONS SAID
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5469129)
Heyward still in the top 3 OF spots for All-Star game voting. Knock it off, zonk.
   34. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 05, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5469134)
Heyward still in the top 3 OF spots for All-Star game voting. Knock it off, zonk.


Look, man... the best - and really, only - way any of us can move Heyward towards exercising that opt-out is to juice his perceived value.

My ASG voting bot will cease and desist as soon as the rest of his deal becomes something I'd be interested in hanging onto.
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 03:15 PM (#5469159)
Lineup tonight: Zobrist/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Heyward/Almora/Baez/Butler/Schwarber.

I mean, I want Almora to get some more appearances, too, but it's really a shame Happ is sitting after yesterday.

BTW, Contreras has really started busting out of that slump. After bottoming out after catching 18 innings against the Yanks, Willson's hit .304/.379/.554 in his last 66PA (small sample alert!). I think it helps that he's been getting some more breathers (though he still finishes quite a few games Montero starts). So much more attention has been paid to everyone else's struggles - and rightfully so, as he's the full time catcher I think the offensive expectations for him weren't nearly as high - but it's still nice to see him hitting again.

Rondon sure looked like #### again last night though, huh? He's clearly fallen out of Joe's circle of trust - even Strop has moved ahead of him there - he has an 8.71 ERA in his last 14 appearances (after being at 0.87 his first 11; that includes the appearance before the Yankees blown save).

Hendricks looked almost untouchable the first 3 innings, and then went completely to #### in the 4th. He's done a lot of that this year - decent looking starts and a total meltdown inning.
   36. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 05, 2017 at 04:13 PM (#5469226)

My ASG voting bot will cease and desist as soon as the rest of his deal becomes something I'd be interested in hanging onto.


I'm, like, less than 50% sure this is a joke.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2017 at 04:25 PM (#5469233)
Look, man... the best - and really, only - way any of us can move Heyward towards exercising that opt-out is to juice his perceived value.

Well, it's not the *only* way. You could, like, sit in the bleachers and yell racist slurs at him and stuff. He probably wouldn't like that very much.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5469330)
And when a team starts out 25-27, odds ain't great that they'll go 65-45 the rest of the way; even if they're supposed to be better than 25-27.

Funnily enough, that record isn't too far off from FG's projections for the rest of the year: 61-46 (put the Cubs sweep of the Cards on top of that since that was after this post). I'm not that much of an expert to know how much the projections have or haven't changed during the season so far, but I stumbled on that page today and thought it was interesting enough.
   39. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 05, 2017 at 07:30 PM (#5469343)
Well, it's not the *only* way. You could, like, sit in the bleachers and yell racist slurs at him and stuff. He probably wouldn't like that very much.


Heh - well, setting aside that I'm just not wired to do something like that regardless of the target - the other real problem is that I just don't have any malice towards the guy.

It's more like the Alfonso Soriano situation than the Milton Bradley situation... where I simply think that the guy's contract isn't worth what he's paid and would very much prefer that contract go away somehow just so the funds can be allocated elsewhere. But like Fonsie - Heyward seems like a genuinely good guy. His struggles aren't related to lack of effort or preparation and he's compartmentalizing struggles such that they would seem to have zero impact on the clubhouse (if not actually a positive impact).

I don't want to run him out of town... I'd just like him to walk out of town with a smile, hearty handshake, and a best of luck elsewhere.... and ~180 mil off the books.

This is what I mean by being 'entitled' :-) --- having your cake and eating it, too.
   40. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 05, 2017 at 10:12 PM (#5469448)
Cross posted from the chatter but the Cubs pickup of Montgomery has really turned out fantastically. And I just love Joe's usage of him.
   41. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 06, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5469667)
Now that I am looking at Montgomery's numbers, I'm all of a sudden less impressed - 26k/20bb in 36.2IP is not so impressive; though only 1 HR allowed is. He sure seems like a guy that is difficult to hit hard, but that could be an illusion.
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5469752)
I just don't have any malice towards the guy.

I mean, how could you, right? He signed a big contract that the Cubs were perfectly willing to offer, and as you say, by all accounts he's worked hard and been a good guy. It just hasn't worked out for him at the plate. It's nothing anyone can blame him for.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 06, 2017 at 03:07 PM (#5469968)
Against a lefty tonight, Cubs are going: Jay/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Heyward/Almora/Baez/Arrieta/Russell. Schwarber still platooning, Zobrist still can't swing righty (or so it was seem), and Almora gets another start after his HR last night. Happ has mostly hit lefty (and has been better lefty in that small sample). In his first 2 minors seasons, he also was better lefty but in AAA this year was better righty. Still, a little surprised Happ has now sat 2 in a row after his 2 homer game.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 06, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5470000)
Now that I am looking at Montgomery's numbers, I'm all of a sudden less impressed - 26k/20bb in 36.2IP is not so impressive; though only 1 HR allowed is. He sure seems like a guy that is difficult to hit hard, but that could be an illusion.

Throwing as many curveballs as Montgomery has, I think that is exactly what's going on.
   45. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 06, 2017 at 03:35 PM (#5470001)
Anyone notice how pretty much all of the ex-Cubs are also sucking this year - Hammel, Wood, Soler (hurt for a long time, sucked, demoted), Coghlan, and even Chapman (hurt, and not exactly his usual dominating self)? Cahill is the most unharmed, though he is hurt right now too. That's a helluva hangover. Only Ross seems to be doing better, and that's only cause he got out completely.
   46. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 06, 2017 at 06:56 PM (#5470189)
You're forgetting Dan Straily, Moses :-)

Though, I guess he's one-team removed at this point so maybe he doesn't count anymore.

On a different note, with the draft coming up Monday -- anybody have any thoughts? Unlike last year, when we didn't pick till the 3rd round, we've got the #27 and #30 this time... so I think we could nab some decent swag.

I have no special insight beyond the BA subscription and the freely available stuff at various places, but repeating what I said in a recent FG mock draft thread -- it seems to me like a lot of college underclassmen pitchers are dropping precipitously in the pre-draft stock... there are a more than a few guys that were preseason 1st rounder projections or at least 1st rounder possibles who now seem to be dropping towards the bottom of the 1st round. My preference would be to jump on one of them (names like Lange, Faedo, or even Tristan Beck). Of course - they're falling because they disappointed this year, but other than Beck (who got hurt), it's not like they were awful.

The FG mock had the Cubs going with a HS catcher (MJ Melendez)... not sure I like that one. I thought I saw some preseason buzz about the Cubs liking UC Irvine Keston Huira a lot - who sounds like he sorta an Ian Happ sort; maybe less power, more pure hitter but also perhaps more defensively limited... but Huira has had a fine season and sounds like he's a riser that won't make it out of the teens. I also saw a couple HS IFers who were thought to be tough signs (Nick Allen and Mark Veintsomethingother) linked to them.

For no reason in particular, just a gut reaction to names I recall coming up a lot over the months, it feels like there are a fair number of good-but-not-great arms in that 20-30 range who would make good bets. Most of the college bats - besides Hiura - are more the toolsy types, all of whom supposedly have K problems (Adam Hasely and Jeren Kendall sounding like the big two) and shouldn't last. Some interesting, projectable HSers -- but Royce Lewis sounds like the only cream.

I just wish I saw the Cubs linked to more pitchers...
   47. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 06, 2017 at 07:03 PM (#5470193)
You're forgetting Dan Straily, Moses :-)


And Fowler
   48. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 06, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5470200)
You're forgetting Dan Straily, Moses :-)


And Fowler
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 06, 2017 at 07:15 PM (#5470207)
Yeah, Fowler. I was not counting anyone not on the team, I guess 40 man, during the WS. So no Clayton Richard. Joe Nathan, etc...
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 08, 2017 at 05:13 PM (#5471994)
Patrick Mooney‏ @CSNMooney 1m1 minute ago

#Cubs moving Kyle Hendricks to DL with tendinitis in his right hand. Mike Montgomery will start tomorrow vs. #Rockies.

Patrick Mooney‏ @CSNMooney 1m1 minute ago

#Cubs adding Seth Frankoff to bullpen from Triple-A Iowa.


Who? That came out of nowhere.
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 2m2 minutes ago

Optimistic it's minimum stay on DL for Hendricks. Issue is around middle finger knuckle on right hand. Corresponding 40-man move will come.

   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 08, 2017 at 05:43 PM (#5472035)
Patrick Mooney‏ @CSNMooney 43s44 seconds ago

Theo Epstein says "it's not a suspension at this time" but #Cubs don't know when Addison Russell will return.


They can't really only use a 24 man roster for an extended period. So something is going to have to give - and he does have options if needed.
   52. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 12, 2017 at 12:52 PM (#5474222)
Baseball America's (I presume final) mock draft has the Cubs taking college junior Clarke Schmidt with their first pick and prep SS Nick Allen at #30.

Mixed feelings... Schmidt was ticketed to be off the board fairly well before the Cubs pick a few months ago (I think most pre and early mocks had him somewhere in the 15-20 range) - but he blew out his UCL back at the end of April. Until he got hurt - Schmidt was one of the college pitchers whose stock was rising with a strong early performance. I very much do want the Cubs to go with a college arm in round 1 -- and while Schmidt might be a bargain of sorts (both in falling to them and the possibility he might sign underslot, due to the injury), I just think there might be other options still on the board at #27. Prior to getting hurt - Schmidt was at 10.5 K/9 - nice, but behind several others even in the SEC who might also still be around. Strictly from the scouting reports - he sounds a bit like a cross between Arrieta and Hendrikcs as a ceiling... power stuff down (including a sinker), more velocity than Kyle, but less control.

I think I like the Allen pick less -- he's a glove and speed guy whose bat would be more of the slash and slap variety (though he's supposedly got an advanced approach for a HS player; i.e., not a hacker but a guy who knows the best approach for his batting skillset). Very much expected to stick at SS, but not expected to develop much power. He *would* require overslot - as he's said to be strongly committed to USC. I always worry about prep batters who are said to be "expected to hit for average".
   53. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 12, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5474226)
I see the thread's title & I think: the last 2 weeks of the Cubs has gone from purge to binge & back again.
   54. bfan Posted: June 12, 2017 at 03:04 PM (#5474309)
Most of the college bats - besides Hiura - are more the toolsy types, all of whom supposedly have K problems (Adam Hasely and Jeren Kendall sounding like the big two)


Doesn't matter because they won't last to the Cubs pick, but Kendall has 74 K's and 24 walks in 261 AB's this year; Hasely has 21 K's and 44 walks in 223 AB's this year. I would say that One of them has a K problem.
   55. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 12, 2017 at 06:11 PM (#5474425)
Who? That came out of nowhere.

Indeed.
   56. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 12, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5474619)
Welp...

Surprised at the Brendon Little pick - not sure I like it, but trying to talk myself into it.

I do love the Alex Lange pick. Good kid, profiles as a horse - probably not an ace ceiling, but about as 'safe' as a pitcher pick at the bottom of the 1st round can be.

Ultimately, I guess this is sorta, kinda what I wanted the Cubs to do with their two first rounders... Grab an advanced college pitcher that would be a safe value pick and maybe roll the dice on another arm with questions (of the health or rawness variety... I'd have steered clear of a Seth Romero, even if he had been around).

I suppose it doesn't really matter what order they go in - I just think I might have gone with someone like Canning (health concerns) or Sam Carlson (HS arm) to pair with Lange.
   57. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 13, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5475251)
So - seven picks in... my thoughts - no special insights, just thoughts cobbled together from my BA subscription, other web sources... oh, and lots of 2017 season replays in OOTP (seriously... you want to at least recognize the names? Do a couple dynasty play-throughs on OOTP with the roster sets. I think they've got the top ~500 or so draft prospects included).

1st round/#27 - Brendon Little (LHP; State College of Florida/j2)... as alluded above, not a huge fan of this pick but trying to talk myself into liking it more. Little was previously a supplemental round pick, didn't sign, went to UNC, lost his command, sat, left school, and worked his back into a high pick via a strong Juco and Cape Cod league performance. "Inconsistent" is the thing that rings most in my ears from various scouting reports - and coupled with his struggles in college, I worry that he's a feast or famine sort. That said, he is clearly a guy with a nice ceiling - perhaps not like the more touted LHPs that went before him, but he's supposedly got a FB that sits comfortably in the low/mid 90s - occasionally hitting 97 with good action. He's also got a plus curve that can be a real hammer when he's on. Marginal beyond that - which brings up the usual question about whether his future would be in a rotation or in the pen. Still, he's got a nice ceiling. Could be a steal, could be a miss.

1st round/#30 - Alex Lange (RHP, Jr LSU)... Now this pick - I love. Lange was one of the guys I was hoping the Cubs would nab. He doesn't have the ceiling of Little - or the other pitchers that went ahead of him - but he's almost the definition of a horse. Reliable. Healthy. Good floor and as safe as a pick can be in an MLB draft, and especially at the bottom of the first round. Lange had a dynamite freshman year -- so good, in fact, that there was some talk that he might be on his way towards a Prior/Strasburg sort of collegiate path to becoming a 1/1 guy. Unfortunately for him - but fortunately for the Cubs - his sophomore and junior years were disappointing in comparison. He lost some velocity off his fastball - and while his performance was still plenty good to make him a 1st rounder, people just expected a lot more. His fastball isn't quite as lively as you'd like - but he works in the low 90s and does sport plus breaking stuff. His change is what scouts say has fallen off a bit - and the primary difference between his lights out freshman campaign and his less impressive so./jr. seasons. Still, he's a guy who ought to have something of a career in a big league rotation.

2nd round/#67 - Cory Abbott (RHP, Jr Loyola Marymount)... Another college junior. Generally seen as a bit of a reach - but he's also a comer, whose stock has been on the rise this year. Prior to this year, he sported a nothing too special fastball (90-92) and curve combo. He spent his Cape Cod League summer learning a slider -- and it's become a true swing-and-miss pitch, spiking his Ks and becoming a real weapon in less than a year. Adding a 3rd pitch as well - and quickly - as he has is impressive. Some question about whether the rest of his arsenal is rotation quality or whether he fits better in the pen.

3rd round/#105 - Keegan Thompson (RHP, Sr Auburn)... college senior and a bit of a K-mart version of Lange -- decent enough velocity, but FB sometimes flattens. Curve is his best pitch - and it's a plus. Like Lange, he's a high floor guy whose stuff isn't ace material, but he's also a solid, reliable pitcher who ought to stick as an SP. Draws good reviews on the "knows how to pitch" front.

4th round/#135 - Erich Uelman (RHP, Jr Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo). Uelman probably profiles more as a reliever - as a starter, he generally works in the high 80s but can work in the 90s in shorter outings. Decent secondary offerings and good downward movement that leads to plenty of grounders. Throws strikes, but by no means a precise command guy.

5th round/#165 - Nelson Velazquez (OF/HS)... Not a whole lot on Valzquez - but sounds like your rather typical toolsy prep OFer. The few reports I've read make him sound your typical Trey Martin sort, maybe with more hit/less speed/run.

6th round/#195 - Jeremy Estrada (RHP/HS)... Estrada looks like he might be the bargain - well, in pick terms - virtually every pick above likely comes in below slot (except maybe Lange who probably goes at slot), so if the cubs are splurging - this is the guy. The big knock on Estrada is height - he's relatively short for a power pitcher, but he's supposedly got good downward movement on a low 90s fastball and a dynamite change. He's also a "young" HS senior, so the thinking is that he's got room to grow. Most lists had him in their top 100 - so he's likely the guy the Cubs may spend to snag away from college with extra dollars from the first 5 rounds.
   58. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 13, 2017 at 06:59 PM (#5475292)
If you're stocking up on pitchers in the draft, I think you want to take some chances on the guys who have the best stuff.
   59. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 13, 2017 at 07:25 PM (#5475308)
If you're stocking up on pitchers in the draft, I think you want to take some chances on the guys who have the best stuff.


Unfortunately, there just weren't a ton of them - and the ones you'd want were gone by the times the Cubs picked. Nate Pearson - who went right after Little at 28 - supposedly hit 102 on the gun, but I don't think anyone sees him as a starter. There's another guy - Zachary Pop from Kentucky - that supposedly has good stuff and a big body, but he also profiles as a bullpen guy, I think.

The only guy who seemed like a ceiling sort that fell to the Cubs was prep righty Sam Carlson (I think I'd have taken him over Little), but he was definitely a notch behind the Gore/Baz/Hall (and probably 2 notches behind Hunter Greene).

Four more rounds in -- the Cubs seem to be going with college players that they must really like a lot more than most (all of the picks in 7/8/9/10 are college players and none show up on the top 200 lists).

There are still a surprising number of projectables -- top 100 types -- still on the board, so maybe the Cubs are hoarding cash and gonna pounce on one them yet to come? Other than Estrada - I don't see a single guy on that list that won't go underslot other than maybe Lange.

Still around --

Stanford sophomore Tristan Beck - missed all year after blowing out his arm and likely to go back to school.

Among the prep pitchers that might be worth a flier and a try to sign -- Tanner Burns, CJ Van Eyk, Kyle Hurt, Daniel Cabrera, and a few others. They'd all be tough signs -- but the Cubs do appear to be stockpiling cash, so one would certainly hope they're doing so to try to nab at least one of them.
   60. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 13, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5475328)
Kyle Hendricks had a throwing session today. It was supposed to be a routine step on the route back to the rotation. But it reportedly didn't go well at all. Might be longer than 10 days until he's back pitching.
   61. Walt Davis Posted: June 13, 2017 at 11:07 PM (#5475426)
Ian Happ debuted on May 13 ... Starting PT from then until yesterday, 28 games:

2B: 11 Baez, 15 Zobrist, 1 Happ, 1 LaStella
SS: 19 Russell, 9 Baez
3B: 25 Bryant, Candelario 2, LaStella 1 (Bryant had an owie for 2 days)
LF: 20 Schwarber, 4 Zobrist, 3 Happ, 1 Jay
CF: 14 Happ, 9 Almora, 4 Jay, 1 Heyward
RF: 21 Heyward, 2 Happ, 2 Zobrist, 2 Jay, 1 Bryant (Heyward DL for first 6 games)

Totals

Bryant 26
Heyward 22 (every day since returning)
Zobrist 21
Baez 20
Happ 20
Schwarber 20
Russell 19
Almora 9
Jay 7

I'd rather have seen less of Schwarber** and I'm not sure Heyward should start every day ... balanced by more of Baez and Almora (for development) ... but that is about as well as that many players can be balanced. Over the course of a full season, that usage would come to essentially every day for Bryant (expected) and Heyward (minus injury, bit of a surprise) and about 115-120 starts for Zo, Baez, Happ, Kyle and Russell; about 40-50 for Almora and Jay.

** If he's on the roster, he might as well play, but I think a AAA tune-up wouldn't hurt.
   62. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 14, 2017 at 03:07 PM (#5475925)
We're now into the mid 20s --

And the Cubs draft is looking truly weird... quickly eyeballing - I see just 2 prep players in that 10 to 24 realm, neither of which I've heard of. A few more jucos, I guess -- but we're still very, very much looking at advanced college players (and mostly from decent programs -- i.e., these aren't the hidden gem sorts from div III schools). The only name I recognize is Wichita State's Ben Hecht -- and that's more from reading BA's college coverage than it is their draft previews.

Still about 15 rounds to go - and still a pretty fair number of ~7 figure bonus guys on the board, so who knows... maybe the hoarding just continues.
   63. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 14, 2017 at 05:59 PM (#5476056)
Not to beat a dead horse but prioritizing college pitching even into the middle rounds is the act of a team who is alarmed at their system depth. It would look like they are fishing for older pitchers who are theoretically closer to being fill-ins at the major league level at the expense of higher ceiling, slow developing long shots.

EDIT: Through 30 rounds

College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
HS Position Player
HS Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Position Player
College Position Player
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Position Player
HS Position Player
College Position Player
College Position Player
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Position Player
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
HS Position Player
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
College Pitcher
HS Pitcher
College Pitcher
HS Position Player
College Pitcher
College Position Player
   64. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 15, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5476598)
The Cubs did end up going prep heavy in the 30s -- including several guys that are quite unlikely to sign unless they send a dumptruck fully of money. Chief among them is probably a 2-way guy named Bryce Bonnin - a legit top 100 guy, but thought to be very committed to college. Looks like the Cubs listed him as a RHP, but others like him more as a SS/IF.

There's also a kid named Hunter Ruth, who was a top 100 guy coming into the season - indeed, there was some talk he might work his way into day 1 consideration or better (he was throwing mid 90s, occasionally as high as 97) - but he blew out his UCL very early this year and had TJ surgery... so he could be another Dylan Cease - though, I think Ruth was also a strong college commit even before the TJS caused his draft stock to plummet.

Anyway - between those two guys plus Estrada, the Cubs ought to have saved enough money that they ought to be able to lure one or two of them....
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 15, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5476621)
The draft isn't my thing, so I haven't seen/read much. I have seen that Keith Law likes Little (so it's funny to see zonk's comments here); says he had the best curve and maybe even the best breaking ball in the draft.
   66. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 15, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5476623)
I'd rather have seen less of Schwarber** and I'm not sure Heyward should start every day ... balanced by more of Baez and Almora (for development) ... but that is about as well as that many players can be balanced. Over the course of a full season, that usage would come to essentially every day for Bryant (expected) and Heyward (minus injury, bit of a surprise) and about 115-120 starts for Zo, Baez, Happ, Kyle and Russell; about 40-50 for Almora and Jay.

** If he's on the roster, he might as well play, but I think a AAA tune-up wouldn't hurt.


I pretty much agree with all of this. If Almora isn't going to play more, perhaps he should be in AAA also.

Last night's loss was annoying - not that they all haven't - but when the defense and bullpen let you down in a winnable game, yuck. Again, maybe the defense isn't as great as last year, but the mistakes last night were mostly of the routine variety (Bryant's whiff of the Bruce grounder in RCF and then the error later, the Baez error). Edwards has been so good, it's a shame when he struggles (and he was fine the first inning). I don't know what to think of Rondon at this point; I know Grimm has been ok since he's been back this last time but I don't trust him either.
   67. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 15, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5476636)
I have seen that Keith Law likes Little (so it's funny to see zonk's comments here); says he had the best curve and maybe even the best breaking ball in the draft.


I'm not so much questioning Little's stuff so much as I am the inconsistency and high potential to go all Pawelek.

I just think that if they were going to go for a high risk/high reward guy, I might have rolled the dice on someone like Carlson.

I guess the advantage with Little is that he almost certainly won't cost over slot - and probably under - whereas Carlson likely would have required overslot money... so if that's the plan -- and then use those savings to grab one or two of the prep pitchers they took that will be tough signs, I can certainly see the logic.

I'm still overall happiest with the Lange pick... and I do suppose that while it's meaningless who goes #27 and who goes #30 - I'll admit that my perception would probably be a colored different if the picks were inverted.... and that's obviously silly.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 16, 2017 at 03:45 PM (#5477736)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
Zobrist to DL, La Stella up


Seems like Zobrist should have gone on the DL a while ago - he wasn't hitting righty at all for a while. After he finally started looking undead, he's hit .111/.184/.200 in his last 12 games/49PA (since 5/30).

TLS was on the DL in Iowa for a while, but otherwise has been ####### awful down there: .213/.265/.266 in 102PAs. So here's hoping we don't see him start too often.
   69. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 16, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5477771)
Bryant getting a day off, so the lineup blender spit this #### out: Rizzo/Happ/Schwarber/Russell/Heyward/Contreras/LaStella/Butler/Almora.

I'm happy to see Almora getting regular playing time, and with Zobrist out I like Almora getting regular OF time with Happ at 2nd. But yikes. Tonight could be ugly.
   70. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 07, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5489354)
1st round/#30 - Alex Lange (RHP, Jr LSU)... Now this pick - I love. Lange was one of the guys I was hoping the Cubs would nab. He doesn't have the ceiling of Little - or the other pitchers that went ahead of him - but he's almost the definition of a horse. Reliable. Healthy. Good floor and as safe as a pick can be in an MLB draft, and especially at the bottom of the first round. Lange had a dynamite freshman year -- so good, in fact, that there was some talk that he might be on his way towards a Prior/Strasburg sort of collegiate path to becoming a 1/1 guy. Unfortunately for him - but fortunately for the Cubs - his sophomore and junior years were disappointing in comparison. He lost some velocity off his fastball - and while his performance was still plenty good to make him a 1st rounder, people just expected a lot more. His fastball isn't quite as lively as you'd like - but he works in the low 90s and does sport plus breaking stuff. His change is what scouts say has fallen off a bit - and the primary difference between his lights out freshman campaign and his less impressive so./jr. seasons. Still, he's a guy who ought to have something of a career in a big league rotation.


It sounds like his physical did not go well and there is a real chance the Cubs do not sign him.

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