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Thursday, May 01, 2014

So far, so good for Rizzo and Castro

Rizzo practiced what he preached in hitting a first-inning home run to left-center off lefty Tony Cingrani. He walked in each of the next four at-bats to become only the second Cub—Hee Seop Choi is the other—to have a night like that in over 100 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Meatwad Posted: May 01, 2014 at 01:05 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: anthony rizzo, cubs, not sucking, starlin castro

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   1. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 01, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4698428)
So he's the next Hee Seop Choi? Please Anthony, keep a good helmet on that head.
   2. McCoy Posted: May 01, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4698437)
I don't know. I wouldn't mind the Cubs trading him for Giancarlo Stanton.
   3. SteveM. Posted: May 01, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4698461)
Rizzo, Catro, Shark and Hector Rondon are the highlights of a season that is turning into yet another raging dumpster fire.
   4. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 01, 2014 at 06:06 PM (#4698466)
Add Wellington Castillo, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood to the list of young-ish guys who are doing well for the Cubs.

It seemed like 2013 was a year where the things that went right were, with a couple of exceptions, from the veterans(Soriano, Valbuena, Feldman, Schierholtz, Navarro, Gregg) while all the young guys seemed to struggle.

Now if the minor leaguers would show a little progress Chicago might have something. Instead Bryant is K'ing too much, Baez has been hurt and is K'ing WAY too much, Almora has been awful, Soler has been hurt, Pierce Johnson has been terrible. I guess C J Edwards and Alcantara have done fairly well.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4698469)
No complaints but I'm not exactly ecstatic either. So far Rizzo 2014 is Rizzo 2012 with more walks. That's a good thing if it continues but even projected out over a full season it's about a 3.5 WAR player -- good, not spectacular. It would be nice to see a power jump sometime (his ISO has been flat).

Similarly Castro 2014 has been Castro 2012 with more power -- again a good thing but still no walks and projects out to about a 3.5 WAR player.

Well and good -- the two combined for about 2.5 WAR last year (Castro's fault) and are on pace for 7 WAR this year, so a nice step forward over the 2013 Cubs. But in 2012 they combined for 5.6 WAR plus whatever LaHair gave so that's about flat relative to the 2012 Cubs.

Once upon a time, Castro's ZiPS comps were Yount, Brett, Jeter, Molitor and a slew of other average to HoF players. Coming into this year, his top ZiPS comp was Rennie Stennett. On the bright side, Baez's top comp is Cal Ripken. Junior I hope.

The only other of the prospects in the ZiPS list is Soler = Candy Maldonado (average in his prime). Man, Brett Jackson, I'd forgotten all about him. He was terrible last year and he's 4-36 so far this year. Poor kid.
   6. SteveM. Posted: May 01, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4698474)
Add Wellington Castillo, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood to the list of young-ish guys who are doing well for the Cubs.

You're right though I suspect that Hammel will be traded by midseason because God forbid the Cubs sign veterans to extensions because the Ricketts family has no money. I hope they don't move Wood, but who knows. This team will be shitty for years to come.
   7. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 01, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4698477)
Yeah, I thought Hammels was still in his mid to late 20s. I didn't realize he's been in the bigs since 2006 and is 31 years old.
   8. Brian C Posted: May 01, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4698481)
Why would we want the Cubs to sign Hammel to an extension anyway? He's been very mediocre in his career until a good month to start this season. Honestly, this "the Ricketts have no money" thing really gets absurd sometimes.

So far this season, generally speaking, the players that I wanted to see do well have done well, and the ones that I didn't care about much have not been great. At least at the major league level. I'll take it as of now.

Also worth noting is that the Iowa staff have some truly filthy K numbers - 9.1 K/9 and 3.94 K/BB(!) in a league that's averaging 7.9 and 2.27 as a whole.
   9. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: May 01, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4698494)
Grimm's been solid, too -- it's past time to give him a crack the rotation, I think, though I believe Arrieta is supposed to be back soon so I imagine he gets dibs on Villanueva's slot.

I'm not too worried about Baez, Almora, Soler, Bryant, etc -- it's still so, so early and given the state of the major league roster, I don't think it's unreasonable to think at least a couple of those guys might be pressing and thinking they could mash their way to the show earlier than expected.

Still - it ought to be noted too that Rizzo and Castro have only fairly recently got hot - they weren't dreadful the first week or two, but they were sort of just treading water. Both have turned it on the last couple of weeks, so hopefully it can continue.

In the who knows category - Mike Olt has legitimate power, it seems, but he's also making Mark Reynolds look like Tony Gwynn... still - he's only recently gotten semi-regular starts so I still hold out some hope that he can get into a groove and look a bit more like a moderately useful Reynolds/Russ Branyan type. I'd also toss Junior Lake into that mix -- Lake isn't a solution for LF, but I think he's got some moderately interesting tools and I could see him turning into a nice super utility type; something like a faster Jose Hernandez with less power.

All in all, yeah -- the season is a dumpster fire... but since the only real hope I had was that some of the kids who flailed so miserably last year would get back on track to usefulness, it's hard to be upset with how the season has begun.

Beyond Hammel and BPJ, though, the other potential trade chits -- Barney and Schierholtz in particular -- have been just awful. Looking up DB's numbers, I was shocked to see that he actually has as many hits as he does... I think I can remember exactly one of them, which means I've only missed 5.
   10. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 01, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4698528)

In the who knows category - Mike Olt has legitimate power, it seems, but he's also making Mark Reynolds look like Tony Gwynn... still - he's only recently gotten semi-regular starts so I still hold out some hope that he can get into a groove and look a bit more like a moderately useful Reynolds/Russ Branyan type.

That .176 BABIP is hurting him but, yeah, he's definitely not showing great control of the strike zone at the moment.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4698593)
something like a faster Jose Hernandez with less power.

I see what you're saying but hold it there buddy!

Hernandez had his faults (mainly the Ks) but the man could play some defense and at SS. 13 WAR and just -2 WAA for his career which is awesome for a backup and occasionally starting SS.

I was gonna say he's more like EY jr but surely (please god!) he can hit better than that. How about Jose Tabata?

The current Jose Hernandez appears to be Sean Rodriguez, Ks and all.

Anyway, I agree with #3 and #4 (dropping Hammel as noted) -- the "right" ML Cubs have mostly been showing what I wanted to see.

Holy moly -- I only just now looked at Olt's AAA numbers from last year. That's incredibly bad. I mean those are some of the worst numbers you'll ever see -- 201/303/381 with 132 K in 432 PA; 168/276/275 in Iowa. I don't have a problem with the Cubs grabbing him in a trade or even giving him a ML shot this year but he's lucky to still be in baseball after that season.
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 01, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4698596)
The Rangers optioned Olt to the Round Rock Express of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (PCL) during spring training in 2013.[10] He struggled to begin the season, batting .139 through April 25. He reported problems with depth perception,[11] which specialists indicated could be the result of a concussion.[12] When it was discovered that a lacrimal gland wasn't producing tears, he was given eye drops, which corrected the vision problem.[13] He returned to Round Rock on June 3.
   13. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 01, 2014 at 10:33 PM (#4698599)
Before his vision problems his career minor league line was something like .280/.390/.520.

Whatever they tried to fix it doesn't seem to be working.
   14. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 02, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4698704)
Olt's numbers in the majors are somehow worse than blind Mike Olt's numbers in the minors. (164/212/377) And he looks just as clueless at the plate as his numbers indicate.
   15. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 02, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4698706)
Pops, CJ Edwards is out until July with shoulder fatigue, throw him on the minor league dumpster fire list.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4699253)
#15: stop depressing me.

#13: Not that 280/390/520 in the lower minors is that good necessarily. Sure you'd love that in the majors but BA tends to take a big drop from minors to majors and walks aren't always what you want to see in the minors. I'd rather see a 320/380/520 line probably.

Coming into 2013, ZiPS projected him at 247/331/429. About the same as their Mitch Moreland projection actually. Plays better at 3B of course but he was never gonna play there for the Rangers.

Anyway, just trivia. I thought the Cubs could have gotten more in that trade and that Olt was a bit of a failed prospect at that point but he has potential and I'm OK with that trade.
   17. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 03, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4699633)
Olt was fine as a 3rd piece to that trade, which is how I think he was viewed.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4699754)
Yeah, I should double-checked, I'd forgotten we got Edwards in that trade. He was a perfectly good get for Garza.

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