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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Manny Ramirez vows to mentor Cub prospects

Just Manny being ... mature?

“Everybody makes mistakes, you, me, and everybody that’s in this room,” Ramirez said Monday while speaking to the media for the first time since signing a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. “But that’s it, you just have to grow and move on.” ....

“Theo (Epstein) was really honest,” Ramirez said of the Cubs’ president. “He said, ‘Hey, we don’t got a chance for you in the big leagues, but we got some young guys that we want you to help,’ and then I took it.”

Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2014 at 01:09 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, manny ramirez

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   1. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4740550)
He crushed a long HR for Iowa last night too.
   2. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4740594)
It's a no lose situation. Either he helps the young prospects or it all goes south and there's great entertainment. It's all seashells and balloons so far. I hope he only has another couple of weeks with Alcantara and Bryant before passing them on to another 2004 World Champ on the big club.
   3. zonk Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4740596)
At what point do we have to consider something might really have just clicked for Jake Arrieta?

Last night was his 5th consecutive start that's somewhere in between excellent and brilliant. Two of them were against the Marlins, who are 3rd in the NL in scoring and Boston certainly ought to be familiar enough with him.

I was a bit grumbly when he came off the DL -- I wanted to give Justin Grimm a crack at the rotation rather than Arrieta, but I think I'm just about ready to pronounce myself a believer... K's are up, walks are down, and HRs are way down. I guess Kershaw is probably the NL pitcher of the month for June, but Arrieta isn't far behind him (6-0 0.82 ERA, 61/4 K/BB with just 2 HRs vs 4-0 0.92 48/6 K just 1 HR). I suppose we'll have to see what July brings.
   4. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4740604)
Aren't we on our 4th or 5th pitcher that has "clicked" with the Cubs during Theo's tenure?

Travis Wood
Paul Maholm
Scott Feldman
Jake Arrieta

Heck, even Chris Volstad had a 6 game stretch that had people talking about how maybe he was figuring it out.
   5. Ziggy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4740618)
In the Dugout, Dozier asked if any bad pitchers have had a stretch as good and long as Arrieta so far. I mentioned Zach Duke, who had a 1.81 ERA (coincidentally identical to Arrieta's) as a rookie, and followed it up with 1000 below average innings. Sometimes bad pitchers pitch well.

ZiPS gives Arrieta an ERA just over 4 for the rest of the season. That would actually be a huge improvement for him.
   6. AROM Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4740628)
Check out Zach Duke's minor league numbers leading up to that stretch. He was a top prospect, a good pitcher who just didn't hold up to a big league workload.
   7. zonk Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4740640)
The bad starts count just as much as the good ones -- but other than 2 real stinkers - one against the White Sox then that debacle against the Brewers, Wood has been solid, even if not as good as last year.

Considering Sean Marshall looks to have pretty much shredded his arm (ahem...) - the Cubs actually apppear to have won that trade pretty handily.
   8. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4740663)
I mentioned it in the Brewers thread but Theo has been pretty good on the trade front. He hasn't really given up much and he got some useful pieces out of the deals. Unfortunaely Rizzo is about the only piece that appears to be useful long term and not just short term. Now granted he appears to be a mighty useful piece as of right now. As I mentioned in the previous thread he made those trades with "house money" sort of to speak since it was the previous regime's pieces that he moved. So now the test will be how well he rates his own pieces and how well he can use them or move them.
   9. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4740666)
The bad starts count just as much as the good ones -- but other than 2 real stinkers - one against the White Sox then that debacle against the Brewers, Wood has been solid, even if not as good as last year.

Virtually all pitchers put up a stinker or two so once that is considered I'd say his stats accurately reflect where he is at as a starter as compared to all other starters.

His walks are up and hits are up though fortunately he has kept the amount of home runs allowed down or else he'd really be in trouble. We'll see if he can keep that up. When you are giving up this many hits you have to walk a very fine line and as we've seen when he isn't on opposing teams are lighting him up.
   10. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4740669)
McCoy, how are you defining "useful long term"? If you're not including Wood, Arrieta, Ramirez and Strop, then you're pretty much eliminating all young pitchers from the equation. That may be fair as young pitching is notoriously unreliable, but TheoJed has been focused on acquiring young pitching through trades. Thus, your standard of "useful long term" is really an unfair benchmark.
   11. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4740692)
Relievers generally aren't useful long term nor planned to be held on to long term. Travis Wood doesn't look to be useful long term and Arrieta has less than half a season of usefulness under his belt.
   12. zonk Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4740698)
20 starts is more than "less than half a season" -- he wasn't this good in 2013, but he was still above average.... Granted, in 9 fewer starts - and 50 fewer innings isn't nothing - but he's easily outpitched/out-valued Scott Feldman since the deal.

Maybe the roof does cave in at some point, but he's been an outstanding return on a journeyman who was signed to a one-year deal almost explicitly to make him movable at the deadline.
   13. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4740708)
I get that, but that makes long-term usefulness an irrelevant concept when evaluating any young pitching acquisition. Can we name more than a handful of pitchers with more than 3 years of team control that were acquired via trade by any team in the last 2 1/2 years (TheoJed's tenure) whom you would already consider "useful long term"? I can't think of any, but I say "a handful" in case there's one or two that I forgot. You're judging TheoJed by a standard that is impossible to reach.

Building a young pitching staff is done through depth. Arrieta, Strop, Wood, Ramirez, Grimm, Edwards, Hendricks, Black, Vizcaino are all showing value or potential. That they haven't found the flying unicorn that is the "useful long term" young pitcher is no knock on their trade savvy.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4740713)
It's a no lose situation. Either he helps the young prospects or it all goes south and there's great entertainment.


Unless spending time around a guy who uses PEDs and wipes his ass with hand towels has a negative influence on the Cubs' prospects. Manny's pretty much the last guy I'd want a young player to see as a mentor.
   15. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4740729)
C'mon Vlad, sometimes the two-ply just ain't getting it done.
   16. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4740881)
Maybe the roof does cave in at some point, but he's been an outstanding return on a journeyman who was signed to a one-year deal almost explicitly to make him movable at the deadline.

I didn't say he wasn't a good deal. I said I'm not looking at him as a long term piece yet.

I get that, but that makes long-term usefulness an irrelevant concept when evaluating any young pitching acquisition. Can we name more than a handful of pitchers with more than 3 years of team control that were acquired via trade by any team in the last 2 1/2 years (TheoJed's tenure) whom you would already consider "useful long term"? I can't think of any, but I say "a handful" in case there's one or two that I forgot. You're judging TheoJed by a standard that is impossible to reach.


That is kind of my point. He is a young project and the jury is still out. After this season I might very well be planning on him being a solid starter for 2016 and beyond or at least as far as one who plan on a pitcher being healthy enough to be around in 2 years. Right now he isn't there.

Building a young pitching staff is done through depth. Arrieta, Strop, Wood, Ramirez, Grimm, Edwards, Hendricks, Black, Vizcaino are all showing value or potential. That they haven't found the flying unicorn that is the "useful long term" young pitcher is no knock on their trade savvy.


Again, I didn't knock their trades. I said they have made good ones but as of right now Rizzo is about the only long term piece they have netted from the trades. Yes Theo has a bunch of lottery tickets in his pocket and yes it looks like he's got the first 3 numbers right on Arrieta but it is yet to be determined if all his lottery tickets net him $3 or $100,000 or $365,000,000.


   17. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4740932)
Aren't we on our 4th or 5th pitcher that has "clicked" with the Cubs during Theo's tenure?

Travis Wood
Paul Maholm
Scott Feldman
Jake Arrieta

Heck, even Chris Volstad had a 6 game stretch that had people talking about how maybe he was figuring it out.


"Figuring it out"? Paul Maholm was basically the Pirates' ace for 2 or 3 years before he joined the Cubs. Scott Feldman had over 100 career starts and 700 innings with the Rangers. These aren't recently-hyped busted prospects like Arrieta.
   18. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4741008)
The figuring it out part had to do with Chris Volstad. The others were lottery tickets/reclamation/taking out a flyer on.
   19. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: July 01, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4741017)
I'm just wondering--Arrieta over the past two months has been one of the 5-6 best pitchers in all of baseball (really--he's right there with Kershaw and Felix Hernandez). At what point does that stop becoming a fluke, and mean we should start treating him like a #1 starter?

(It's not like he's getting lucky, either--he's faced generally very good offensive teams, and his peripherals are completely in line with his ERA; 10 Ks and 2 walks per 9 is stupid good.)
   20. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4741027)
It's 64 innings.
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 01, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4741106)
On an unrelated note, Kris Bryant has 51 PAs in AAA now and is putting up an .800 OPS SLG.

His K rate is still pretty rough but he continues to be Babe Ruth on contact.
   22. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: July 01, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4741123)
-
   23. Ziggy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4741195)
What sense of 'should' are you using there? If it's a practical sense of 'should', it depends on the cost versus the benefits of treating him as a #1 starter. Should the Cubs trade him for single-A lotto tickets? Probably not, there's a lot of utility in not trading a #1 starter for lotto tickets, and relatively little expected utility in trading a back-of-the-rotation guy for lotto tickets. (Since the vast majority of lotto tickets are nothing.) So should you treat him like a #1 starter for trade purposes? Yeah, maybe.

What about an epistemic sense of 'should'? That is, when do we have good evidence that he's a #1 starter? The answer to that is: once our best projection systems start projecting him as a #1 starter. ZiPS has him at 4.00 ERA for the rest of the season. Certainly useful, but not #1 material. There's a lot of dreck to balance against his recent success.

I know everyone wants to think that the guy who has suddenly started doing well is a completely different player, but believing it is, on balance, a losing proposition. Following this advice (and not believing it) means taking a lot longer to recognize the Chris Carpenters of the world (those who really do figure it out) than those who go on gut feeling, but on the whole it is a good idea. Gut feelings are subject to recency biases, projection systems are not.

Edit: Erm, this comment is in reply to a comment that vanished while I was writing it.
Edit edit: And as the Monkey Court pointed out, I can't read.
   24. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 01, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4741211)
Ziggy, the question is still there in post 19.
I get your point about recency bias, but is there a sort of quick and dirty way to get past it. 75 innings of greatness for every past year of dreck? Something like that? What do projection systems like ZiPS use for this?
   25. Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4741320)
Projection systems use (roughly) a 5/3/2 weighting of the last three years (Marcel). I think ZiPS uses 4 years but close enough. For pitchers, you'd focus more on components although just applying that weighting to FIP is probably close enough.

I learned a long time ago that you just can't trust short-term performance in MLB. Generally I require two years and even then.

Not that I haven't been suckered -- "Sure, he's probably not this good but 1000 OPS's don't happen by accident" is what I said about Richard Hidalgo in 2000.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 01, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4741462)
Manny Ramirez, Player/Manager, should distract attention from the standings.
   27. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4741569)
25--I will admit to falling for Arrieta's recent performance hook, line, and sinker. (Then again, I've been a huge fan of his for years. I never said I was unbiased!)
   28. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4741581)

Unless spending time around a guy who uses PEDs and wipes his ass with hand towels has a negative influence on the Cubs' prospects. Manny's pretty much the last guy I'd want a young player to see as a mentor.


Given that the Cubs haven't developed a position player in forever, I don't see a lot of downside in bringing on one of the greatest hitters in a generation/ever.
   29. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4741587)
How about this is Manny any more or less wierd than Rogers Hornsby? He was a handful and yet Ted Williams sought his wisdom.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:00 PM (#4741594)
I should add that, in terms of the projection systems, there's a difference between "when do we believe this is the new Arrieta" and "when do we believe Arrieta is an improved pitcher." ZiPS projected Arrieta to a 4.62 FIP at the start of the year and now projects him to a 4.00 FIP for the rest of this year. That is obviously a substantial improvement. The RoS projects about the same K-rate as it did before but 1 fewer BB/9 and an improvement in HR rate as well.

For some components (I think including K-rate and maybe BB rate), changes stabilize fairly quickly -- i.e. relatively short-term improvements in those are "stickier" than other components.

Unfortunately that 4.00 FIP is still not very good. The Cubs are at 3.39 right now and the NL is at 3.69.

Paul Maholm was basically the Pirates' ace for 2 or 3 years before he joined the Cubs.

In the kingdom of blind midgets clearing matchbox hurdles....
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4741614)
In the kingdom of blind midgets clearing matchbox hurdles....


Maholm was perpetually underrated because nobody outside of Pittsburgh really noticed exactly how terrible the Pirates' defense behind him was most of the time.

He wasn't an ace, but he was a lot better than his reputation might suggest.
   32. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4741626)
He was a tall midget?
   33. Walt Davis Posted: July 02, 2014 at 01:20 AM (#4741720)
Defense certainly hurt the ERA but FWIW, Maholm FIP vs. league FIP, 2009-11

3.83 4.24
4.18 3.93
3.78 3.83

Average, a bit better. He was possibly worse by FIP for the Cubs (4.14 vs. 3.91 ... but guessing those aren't park-adjusted ... looks like park-adjusted league average would be about 4.18).

I was just making fun of the claim. A reference to Maholm 2009-11 as a league average-ish starter I'd have not commented on ... to refer to him as "ace of the Pirate staff" says more about the Pirate staff.

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