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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, May 07, 2018

Half full or half empty?

As most of you know, I’m a natural optimist so I know my answer to that question.  Having said that, it’s pretty hard to feel that great right now about what’s happening with the offense.  There’s been so much talk about launch angle, and how the new coaching group doesn’t teach that the same way, so it’s natural to wonder if the change has been a negative so far.  Part of the reason for the change was to deal with the somewhat inexplicable performance with RISP.  Well, so far, it’s been just as big of a problem or even a bigger one this year.  Then again, too many guys are still struggling and it really hasn’t mattered what lineup order has been thrown out there.  So I’m still solidly in the too early to really be that concerned camp, but I’m getting closer to worried.

On the other hand, while giving up 2 straight walkoffs sucks to matter how it happens.  Of course, I highly doubt Luke Ferrell is going to continue to get higher leverage appearances.  Sometimes circumstances dictate who pitches, so there’s plenty of opportunity to second guess Maddon’s changes. 

None of that would matter though if they could get more than one run with runners on 2nd/3rd with no outs and the heart of the lineup up. 

Also, this is now 5 times this year Heyward has completely blown a catch in RF that led directly to extra bases and/or a run; only 1 of those was called an error on him.  There’s something going on there and it can’t always be the lights or whatever (unless he’s having some sort of vision problems).  He almost redeemed himself on the Fowler HR.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 10:41 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5667774)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 5m5 minutes ago

With the Cubs bullpen being used 14 innings in two games ,look for at least one bullpen arm coming up today.Ideally two .


This reads purely as speculation, and Ferrell is the only guy they can really option (I think, maybe Montgomery has options or something) unless there's also a DL stint.

Butler could come off the DL, but I'm not really sure which arm in AAA would be called up (and whether they'd need a 40man roster move).
   2. K-BAR, J-BAR (trhn) Posted: May 07, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5667803)
I won't worry until they're 10 games under .500 or 8 games back. Until then, the Cubs have:

96 OPS+ vs league avg of 94. (Third in R/G.)
116 ERA+ vs a league avg. of 102.

I mean, it's a bit of a bummer that they're probably not gonna win 105 this year. But all it'd take is a 12 game winning streak and their 84 win pace will be a mid-90-something win pace. In 2015, the Cubs were 52-47. In 2017, they were 43-45.

   3. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: May 07, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5667810)
So, I saw a lot of this on twitter last night, almost all of it from Cubs fans (with some White Sox and Yankees fans sprinkled in) and wanted to get some reaction here: no matter how good Torres and Eloy turn out (and obviously yesterday saw them hit a combined three HR with Eloy now leading AA in HR despite missing the first two weeks of the season, now slashing 319/347/652) is the one title enough for Cubs fans?

I'm inclined to say "of ####### course" but wanted to get some opinions here. FWIW most of the tweets last night from Cubs fans seemed pretty pissed about the whole thing, but that's the nature of reaction on Twitter, not a lot of reasoning.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: May 07, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5667817)
Not a Cub fan but I'll answer from the Red Sox fan perspective..."of ####### course" is the correct answer in my opinion. With that said I'm still a baseball fan and still a Red Sox fan so I'm still as passionate about every game and every year and want to win again and again. What's the point of being a baseball fan if you don't want your team to win a World Series.

But if the Sox had ended with 2004 as the only title in recent years...I mean my whole life I wanted to be in Kenmore Square in Boston celebrating a Sox World Series victory and I got to do it. I got to see my team win a ####### World Series, I got to see a parade, I got to see a flag raised, I couldn't have imagined more than that so as #3 says "of ####### course." I suspect most Cub fans feel the same way.
   5. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 07, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5667881)
no matter how good Torres and Eloy turn out (and obviously yesterday saw them hit a combined three HR with Eloy now leading AA in HR despite missing the first two weeks of the season, now slashing 319/347/652) is the one title enough for Cubs fans?


Torres is looking great, and I hope he is great. But let's not get ahead of things. In 15 games he has an .857 OPS. Jorge Soler had a 1.155 after 15 games. Schwarber had a 1.102. Happ .825. Contreras .923. Baez and Alcantara (remember him?) also had red hot starts, but theirs didn't last as long.
   6. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5667890)
Eloy and Gleyber are in different buckets. Eloy had nothing to do with the title, and the Cubs are probably getting more than sufficient value from Quintana in that trade (I'm not concerned that much with his numbers right now, they'll be fine).

Gleyber hurts more, though he's more closely tied to the title. I don't think the Cubs win without Chapman - he struggled a few times, but was such a huge part of that playoff run. I still have a hard time understanding why the Cubs had to give up so much for a pending FA, even one as good as Chapman. I think the package the Cubs gave him was considered equal, or pretty close to equal, to what the Yankees gave up for Miller and his extra 2 seasons. But yeah, I'm in the of ####### course bucket that I wouldn't take it back.

Also, it's not just 1 title. The fact that they've gone to 3 straight NLCS and no matter how bad they look at their worst, they're still in the hunt and will be for the next 3 years with the current roster except for small changes around the edges (bullpen, bench).
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5668005)
Rizzo day off, Javy to cleanup. Against a LHP, makes sense, and also nice to see Heyward sit against a lefty.

Almora CF
Zobrist RF
Bryant 3b
Baez 2b
Contreras C
Caratini 1b
Russell SS
Happ LF
Hendricks P

Almora crushes lefties still, so that's the only time he should hit up there. BTW, in his last 18 games, Contreras is only hitting .169/.260/.277.
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 07, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5668034)
no matter how good Torres and Eloy turn out (and obviously yesterday saw them hit a combined three HR with Eloy now leading AA in HR despite missing the first two weeks of the season, now slashing 319/347/652) is the one title enough for Cubs fans?

Yes. I'd like them to win more. But if that's all that this cycle gets for the Cubs, and the guys they traded away turn into Hall of Famers, then overall I'll take it. Because the year "1908" no longer has any meaning.
   9. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 05:49 PM (#5668080)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 10m10 minutes ago

RHP Cory Mazzoni called up for the Cubs, Farrell going down.
   10. Brian C Posted: May 07, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5668091)
So, I saw a lot of this on twitter last night, almost all of it from Cubs fans (with some White Sox and Yankees fans sprinkled in) and wanted to get some reaction here: no matter how good Torres and Eloy turn out (and obviously yesterday saw them hit a combined three HR with Eloy now leading AA in HR despite missing the first two weeks of the season, now slashing 319/347/652) is the one title enough for Cubs fans?

This question doesn't actually make any logical sense to me. I don't really even understand what it's supposed to be asking. It seems like there's supposed to be an either/or choice buried in there somewhere but I can't quite make out what it's supposed to be. Maybe I'm just dense, because other people seem to get it, but I guess what I'm wondering is, only one title ... compared to what? Zero titles but still having Torres and Jimenez? That seems like such a dumb option that I have a hard time believing that there'd be any serious debate over it.

   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 07, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5668096)
I mean, I guess if you're a Yankees fan, one title wouldn't cut it. And while I certainly hope to see another Cubs title in my lifetime, it feels awfully short-sighted to already be marginalizing something that had last happened before the first World War.

With that said, watching the Cubs do the "win five, lose five" thing over the last two weeks was frustrating, especially with how the last two games ended.
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 08:06 PM (#5668163)
Oh, darvish to the DL with a flu virus. Not sure who'll start tomorrow now, is it too soon for azolay? It'll just be butler or Monty though right?
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 07, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5668228)
Prior to tonight, the Cubs last 13 home runs were solo shots. So or course tonight they've over corrected with 3 non-solo ones so far.
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 07, 2018 at 10:34 PM (#5668263)
If Gleyber Torres is the price of the world series then you pay it happily. I'm not convinced that's the case but we will never know.

Jimenez is an entirely different question. I would undo that trade because I do not believe in Jose Quintana.
   15. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 08, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5668709)
Tseng gets the start, but probably will have a short leash. He hasn't been good in AAA this year.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 08, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5668757)
Javy gets the day off after leaving early last night with a tight groin. Heyward sits for the 2nd straight day.

Zobrist RF
Schwarber LF
Bryant 3b
Rizzo 1b
Caratini C
LaStella 2b
Russell SS
Happ CF
Tseng P
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 08, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5668760)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 20m20 minutes ago

Zastryzny here, Mazzoni optioned, Heyward on 7-day concussion DL list retro to Monday, Bote up


Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 19m19 minutes ago

Heyward suffered injury trying to catch Dexter’s HR


But they still won't admit Bryant got a concussion from that 96mph to his forehead? Ok.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 08, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5668770)
Checking in from paradise, namely the St. Regis Punta Mita, where I'm spending the week on a "mini-moon" after getting married last Saturday. Sounds like I picked a good week to see no baseball.
   19. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 08, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5668779)
Nice, congrats!
   20. Walt Davis Posted: May 08, 2018 at 09:57 PM (#5668952)
I can't decide if the rash of relatively minor injuries has me at 47% full or, given they're probably just random road bumps not a predictor of how the season is going to go, 53% full. The only genuinely scary thing is that Rizzo can't seem to get on track -- he's slumped badly before so I'm not panicking yet but I hope we're not seeing a repeat of Schwarber 2017 (although that would at least mean Rizzo would give us a solid 2nd half). I guess the other concern is the mercurial rotation and Darvish in particular.

On "regrets": I wasn't wowed by Torres for Chapman at the time, would have been much happier with Miller but assume that would have cost more. That said, Torres was still a long way away and we've seen guys like that go missing before. But most importantly, while I know that Chapman didn't increase the probability of a WS by that much all on his own, of course there is absolutely no f'ing way I would re-roll those dice now and risk losing that WS in the unlikely event that we pierce through to the alternate universes before I die. Now maybe if you can show me that trade was the butterfly wing that prevented humanity from avoiding the environmental disaster we're headed for, then I might consider it.

Torres in particular -- unless he's the next Altuve/Morgan, it's still not clear he'd even be a significant upgrade for the Cubs. I know they'd find places for everybody to play (somebody moves to the OF) and/or make a better trade than Torres for Chapman but Baez/Russell/Bryant is just fine with me and even if he added 1-2 wins to that group per year, that's not that big of a deal. I don't miss him, I just wish we had gotten more for him.

Jimenez for Quintana I might end up regretting. I approved at the time, I approve now but obviously that could really backfire. Interestingly, Soler has been tearing it up after a terrible start last year and this year. Again, I had no problem with Soler for Davis at the time and who knows where Jorge would have played either, but that has a chance to be a pretty lopsided trade too.

Possibly I should have learned my lesson. Certainly in the past, teams at this stage have often made bad trades for that "one missing piece" when often there were more missing pieces or the guy they got didn't fill the hole or they just plain gave up way too much. Those awesome Indians teams of the late 90s practically made this an annual tradition -- Giles for Rincon, Sexson for Bere/Wickman/Woodard, Casey for Burba (which worked out well for the Indians).

On "mini-moons": Son, get the #### off the internet!! And congrats.
   21. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2018 at 10:36 PM (#5668992)
The somewhat humorous thing about Jorge is that his fielding and baserunning is so bad that he is still projected to be about a 3 WAR player despite having a 155 OPS.
   22. Brian C Posted: May 08, 2018 at 10:40 PM (#5668994)
I mean, Rizzo's still hurt, right? He just doesn't seem right to me. I think that's potentially more like Zobrist 2017 than Schwarber 2017.

I don't know what Russell's deal is, though. That dude just looks like a mess.
   23. Brian C Posted: May 08, 2018 at 10:43 PM (#5668999)
Also, since the top of the 9th is starting and the Cubs have a one-run lead ... are we scared of Brendan Morrow yet? I'm not sure.

EDIT: Not tonight, 3 groundball outs on 5 pitches, with nice plays by Rizzo and Baez to keep out of trouble.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 09, 2018 at 08:51 AM (#5669100)
One blown save and you're already doubting Morrow? Man, that's rough.

...

Yeah, I'm worried about Rizzo's back. The thing about Russell is he really did look good with his approach early on but he's just not making solid contact consistently. I'll add I'm also worried about Contreras, but it is nice to see Caratini can handle the bay so we'll.
   25. Brian C Posted: May 09, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5669103)
It's not just the blown save. Just doesn't feel at all like the dominant pitcher he was last year. Like I said, I'm not sure how scared I should be yet when he comes in, but he's been very unremarkable so far stuff-wise IMO.

On the other hand, it's been fun to see Edwards strike out everyone in sight.
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 09, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5669109)
huh
   27. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 09, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5669149)
I remember in 2015-16 when everyone the Cubs brought up seemed to be great right away - Russell, Bryant, Scwarber, Contreras. There was plenty of commentary at the time (here and just in general) about how incredibly fluky it was. Even extremely well-run organizations don't have success at that rate and even if they do, you don't see half a lineup's worth of callups all succeed right from the word go upon arrival in the majors.

Well........turns out the Cubs are now getting those hiccups with their young players. They didn't miss 'em, they were just a bit delayed is all.

I assume Rizzo's back is still bothering him. Back injuries always worry me more than a normal injury. Ask Don Mattingly or Joe Crede about that. (However, that being said - I'm aware that most back injuries aren't career-derailers, but they can be more worrisome than a normal injury).
   28. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 09, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5669161)
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 09, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5669198)
Zagunis recalled, Justin Hancock's contract selected, Tseng and Zastryzny sent down. Cubs 40-man is at 40 now.


A 5 man bench! How novel.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:35 PM (#5669610)
Double huh. Seems like he should hire more staff or at least change out of that nice suit when the janitorial duties call.

Competition from a chain of Tommy LaSorda funeral homes could have been a nice running gag on 6 Feet Under.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5669913)
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5669916)
Rizzo in the last 7 games (basically starting the game he was moved to leadoff): .355/.344/.806 with only 2k in 32PA.
Contreras since he hit leadoff (3 games): .313/.313/.625.

Maddon has discovered the secret slumpbusting tool!

It was also great to see Russell drive the ball a bunch yesterday. Thank god for Marlins pitching.
   33. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5669921)
I think the Marlins are the true slumpbusting tool.
   34. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5669966)
Bernstein & McKnight @Bernstein_McK 11m11 minutes ago

"We've only paid a real premium for a rental one time (Chapman trade), and that was sort of a special circumstance in our mind. As a rule, we will not be paying premiums for rentals. We've poured a lot of resources in to this group." -Theo Epstein


There's been a lot of talk about Machado, and rumors of the Cubs being interested. He'd be an upgrade on Russell, but the question is how much would it cost to get him and is it worth it if he ends up leaving via FA.
   35. Brian C Posted: May 11, 2018 at 06:48 PM (#5671057)
Over the last two games, Contreras has 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 homers. That's a fun hot streak right there. All of the sudden he's slugging .488!
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 11, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5671081)
I think the Marlins are the true slumpbusting tool.
When you think about it, they are pretty analogous to Gracey's prey.
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5671760)
A fun week of record padding interrupted by another game where the Cubs suck with RISP. Oh well.

---

I think Walt will like today's lineup against Teheran (if the rain allows it to happen):

TLS 2b
Bryant
Rizzo
Zobrist RF
Baez SS
Caratini
Schwarber
Almora
Quintana
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 14, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5672114)
So, yeah, not feeling good about my prediction about Q being the Cubs' best SP this year.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:29 AM (#5672489)
Yeah, I think I predicted that too -- double whammy! But yes, good to see LaStella leading off when he starts. Not dancing a jig over Zobrist in the cleanup spot but what's a non-managing boy to do.

Over the last two games, Contreras has 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 homers. That's a fun hot streak right there. All of the sudden he's slugging .488!

Cub broadcast had a graphic -- him, Aaron, one other awesome player I forget and Dusty Rhodes were the only players in MLB history with at least 2 HR, 2 doubles and 2 triples over 2 consecutive games. Despite the comparison, it seems unlikely he'll catch Aaron in career HRs.
   40. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 15, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5672536)
Couple of notes from Mooney($):

1. He floats the idea of Adzolay getting a start in the DH on Saturday. I'd be shocked, but I guess bullpen usage could dictate something more drastic like that.
2. Hadn't seen a Butler update in a while:
Eddie Butler (strained groin) is not in the doubleheader conversation, because he hasn’t faced real action since April 19 and would have to ramp up from throwing bullpens in Arizona to a minor-league rehab assignment before getting activated from the disabled list.

Doesn't seem like the Cubs are in a hurry to get him back.
3. Heyward:
There are no clear signs when Heyward will be activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list, but he is expected to travel with the team to Atlanta

No rush there either.
   41. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 15, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5672540)
Some stats for guys for May so far:
Rizzo: .310/.400/.714; 6BB/3K
Contreras: .293/.341/.683; K rate drastically reduced from April
Bryant: .265/.368/.714; 6BB/10K (he went 15bb/14k in April)
Russell: .250/.372/.417; 7bb/14K (Ks way up over April)
Schwarber: 226/.385/.323; 8bb/7k
Baez: .261/.255/.522; his last BB was 4/11 (IBB or BB)

I'm almost ready for the Cubs to give Happ a stint in Iowa to get reset when Heyward comes back. I think Bote is ok as a bench/utility guy for a couple of weeks, though his AB yesterday was the biggest missed opportunity in that 9th inning comeback attempt.

I'm cautiously optimistic about Darvish's return today.
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 15, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5672568)
There are no clear signs when Heyward will be activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list, but he is expected to travel with the team to Atlanta
Think he's still shaken up enough that they could convince him Des Moines is Atlanta?
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 15, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5672592)
I've mentioned it a couple of times, but it's really striking how different they're treating Heyward's concussion to Bryant's non-concussion (that totally was a concussion).
   44. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5673367)
I said it in the game chatter, but it's probably time just to put Javy back in the 7 or 8 hole in the lineup and leave him alone. He had 3 just brutal ABs last night, striking out on sliders in the lefty batters box. He just couldn't help himself.

Darvish looked pretty sharp, almost the best he's looked all year. They eventually said they took him out because of leg cramps; but they were careful to say that was Joe's decision and Yu was trying to talk his way back out there.
   45. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 16, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5673482)
So, has anybody mentioned that the Cubs have the best Pythag / run differential in the National League? If they play at their Pythag pace the rest of the season, they'll win 99 games. A few more like last night and a few fewer like the day before and the lost weekend in St. Louis and things could start to look really good.

They eventually said they took him out because of leg cramps


I like "leg cramps" as a euphemism for "have you seen his ERA in the 5th inning this season!?"
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5673555)
Yes, they're 3 games under their Pythag now, but that seems right considering the run splits in their wins/losses (still absurd btw, IMO). Last night definitely is one of those games where the good luck helps even out some bad luck; maybe I'm not remembering a specific one, but last night feels like the first real should-have-lost-but-won-win of the year while there's a bunch more of the lost-but-probably-should-have-won-losses (the 17 inning MIA one, maybe that 1-0 loss to CIN, at least 2 of the Cards ones; I'll be conservative and not put Monday's in that bucket or the Friday Cards loss even though both were right there for the taking). This is all very scientific and statistically sound, btw.

Big picture, most of my ranting and raving is just stuff around the edges and I really do expect most of that to work itself out/even up over the course of the year. I still do think Q and Darvish will be fine, I'm just not as confident of that as I was a few weeks ago though.
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 16, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5673568)
This is all very scientific and statistically sound, btw.
Sciencing!
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5673612)
Dan Szymborski @DSzymborski

Here are where the 30 teams rank in position player WAR after their top 3 players. Using fWAR here.
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5673638)
Almora
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Baez
Schwarber
Russell
Happ RF
Chatwood

Sure, why not.
   50. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 16, 2018 at 04:23 PM (#5673707)
So, has anybody mentioned that the Cubs have the best Pythag / run differential in the National League? If they play at their Pythag pace the rest of the season, they'll win 99 games. A few more like last night and a few fewer like the day before and the lost weekend in St. Louis and things could start to look really good.

I would be more optimistic on this front if the pitcher peripherals were matching their ERAs.
   51. Zonk, Bearer of Responsibility Posted: May 16, 2018 at 05:49 PM (#5673796)
Big picture, most of my ranting and raving is just stuff around the edges and I really do expect most of that to work itself out/even up over the course of the year. I still do think Q and Darvish will be fine, I'm just not as confident of that as I was a few weeks ago though.


I guess that's the thing about high expectations... pre-this era, it would be hard to be that upset about being 5 games over and just a game back.

Good org problems.

You can also put me down for the 'under' on the Pirates from here on out.
   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5673801)
FWIW, as of today, ROS projected records from FG:

Cubs 69-54
Cards 65-58
Pirates 58-63
Brewers 57-62

BPro

Cubs 69-54
Cards 65-58
Brewers 61-58
Pirates 58-63

So exact same for 3 of the 4.
   53. Walt Davis Posted: May 17, 2018 at 02:49 AM (#5673988)
For those who didn't click, the Cubs are #1 in that table in #48. Which I find a bit surprising but then I have no idea what other teams are getting outside of their top 3. Nitpick: for team stuff, it's probably more directly translatable to use WAA (though fg doesn't give you that directly). For a player, we know that 2 WAR (or 2.2 now) is a full-time average season but I don't have a good baseline for "outside the top 3." Or from fg, you could use wOBA which might get around PT issues.

Not sure when Dan took his measurements, but the Cubs "4+" brigade have just under 1200 PA so far so probably a WAR around 3.8-4 would be average. They're at 5, Braves at 4 and Nats are the only others above 3 and the median looks to be about 1 ... so the median is already about -2.5 to -3 WAA. Basically it's rare to find a genuinely deep team. There will be some with some decent guys at 4-5 but they're obviously getting swamped by pretty lousy players after that (for a typical team). (By the way, as of yesterday, it's Bryant #1, Contreras #2 (what a week!) and Baez and Almora tied so I gave it to Baez on playing time.

With a genuine top 3 of Bryant, Rizzo and probably Contreras, guys like Baez, Russell, Schwarber, Almora are way ahead of most teams. Russell may not become the regular 4-5 WAR player I hoped/expected but having the actual Russell as the 4-7th best position player on your team? Sign me up every time. Even Heyward as 8th-10th best guy (Zo, Happ) is well ahead of what most other teams can expect. And, if we want, we've got all those guys for 3 more years (except Zo).

Also interesting that so far there are 7 teams that are below replacement outside of their top 3 (that is an argument for WAR over WAA). Not surprisingly, these are the tankers, lousy teams, injury-riddled -- CWS, SDP, KCR, Tex, Mia, Bal ... and bringing up the rear, the Rox whose bench travails this year have already gotten a fair amount of attention.
   54. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5674255)
This is an interesting question.

I wondered these things without checking first, so here goes … the overall baseball slash line right now with bases empty is .239/.309/.400, with a .311 wOBA and a .290 BABIP. With men on base, that slash line is .255/.331/.416, with a .321 wOBA and a .301 BABIP. That story very much checks out.

For the Cubs, with bases empty, they’re hitting .245/.328/.435, with a .333 wOBA and .289 BABIP. They strike out at a 21.3% clip, since I know you’re wondering about that. But when there are men on base, the Cubs hit .263/.337/.413 with a .323 wOBA despite a .315 BABIP. And their strikeout rate actually drops to 20.8%!


The Cubs have talked so much about situational hitting, without it really improving, so it's interesting if this is really happening. I mean, I think it's safe to say Javy isn't trying to sacrifice power for contact*, but what about everyone else?

---

It would be unfair to suggest an offense averaging 5.23 runs a game, second in the NL, is “ugly.” So I’ll just go with frustrating. Because that’s obviously the case here. It’s been said before, but this team has scored 142 runs in 13 games and 67 in the other 27 games. That’s maddening for any fan and obviously for Maddon as well.


On Wednesday, they got the leadoff man on six times and the second man on twice. Only one of those runners came around to score. In the end, they left eight men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.


Last night was a could-have-maybe-should-have-won-but-lost-in-an-annoying-way-loss.

---

*What was up with that AB he had in the middle of the game? Tried to check his swing on the first pitch and home plate ump called a swing (regardless, it was in the zone), and then watched the next 2 pitches go right through the zone? That makes me wonder if he just needs a day to clear his head or something.
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2018 at 04:10 PM (#5674459)
Heyman:

The Chicago Cubs will take a look at acquiring superstar shortstop Manny Machado, sources say. Machado was speculated by FRS Sports a few weeks back as a likely candidate for the Cubs, with Addison Russell seen as part of a possible package for the Orioles, and word now is that he is the Cubs’ main target at the deadline.


Theo's comments the other day were to try and downplay something like this. It'd be hard to give up Russell+ unless they're getting a chance to extend him or have some sort of serious faith they'll resign him. But to plus his bat into the lineup is mouthwatering, even if you're buying high on him...

---

Almora
Zobrist RF
Bryant
Rizzo
Conteras
Baez
Russell
Happ
Lester

I guess that's a more traditional lineup.
   56. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5674468)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 7m7 minutes ago

Bote optioned to AAA, LHP Randy Rosario, who impressed during the spring, called up to supplement a bullpen that's been worked heavily
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 18, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5675283)
Yesterday's lineup just couldn't roll forward to today. I'm almost at the point of just wishing Almora played every day and Happ just takes time rotating through the corner OF spots.

Zobrist RF
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Russell
Schwarber
Baez
Happ CF
Lester

Makes sense to have flopped Javy and Addison though
   58. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 18, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5675340)
#Cubs activating Jason Heyward from concussion DL and optioning reliever Randy Rosario back to Triple-A Iowa.


Ugh
   59. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5675352)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 7m7 minutes ago

Bote optioned to AAA, LHP Randy Rosario, who impressed during the spring, called up to supplement a bullpen that's been worked heavily


#Cubs activating Jason Heyward from concussion DL and optioning reliever Randy Rosario back to Triple-A Iowa.


the fckuk?

does Rosario get free medical for life, or does one have to actually appear in a game?
   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5675356)
does Rosario get free medical for life, or does one have to actually appear in a game?
It would have to be just from being on the roster, right? It's a union benefit, and everyone on the roster is in the union. The manager's decision whether or not to put you in the came can't be able to affect that.
   61. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5675361)
That's what I figured. I assume he got 1 day of pro-rated MLB minimum salary as well. If my math is right, he got $3,083.33 for the call up.
   62. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5675362)
double post
   63. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5675367)
If my math is right, he got $3,083.33 for the call up.
Guess who's paying for dinner in Des Moines this weekend.
   64. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5675372)
Hasn't Rosario already pitched in the bigs?

I guess they were worried about the pen yesterday. And they get an extra a for the DH tmrw.
   65. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 18, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5675376)
Hasn't Rosario already pitched in the bigs?
He pitched a couple games for the Twins, so, fairly close.
   66. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 19, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5675752)
“That was one my least favorite games as Cubs manager.”--Joe Maddon after watching his team go 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, plus Javier Baez not hustling, Anthony Rizzo not sliding, Addison Russell's error and Justin Wilson's 11th-inning meltdown in a walk-off loss.


I agree. And they should have won.

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