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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Theo Epstein losing patience with Cubs lack of OBP

You can tell by the cast OBP is important!

I’ve been wondering how much more of the putrid Cubs offense this front office could withstand watching. The Cubs President couldn’t hold back any longer. In Paul Sullivan’s latest, Theo Epstein publicly blasts his team for their lack of ability to get on base.

  “There is certainly a snakebit quality to it with respect to our timing,” team President Theo Epstein said. “But to me the biggest factor is our inability to draw walks and to get on base overall. On-base skills translate to run-scoring much more than slugging skills”

Turns out his roster isn’t so down with OBP.

  “To be blunt, we haven’t made much progress improving the on-base skills of some of the players here. If we can’t make improvements with the existing group, we will have to be even more aggressive acquiring players with on-base skills.” Says Epstein.

Theo’s comments about training players to have patience is likely half-hearted. He knows all too well that usually isn’t how it works. It’s on him and Jed to give this offense a face lift and soon.

  “There’s been legitimate improvement in the overall talent level at the major league level despite the record,” Epstein said. “The underlying component performance points to a team that should be at least .500 thus far”.

Repoz Posted: May 26, 2013 at 05:35 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 26, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4452674)
Aside from Starlin Castro, I'm having trouble seeing where Theo would have a reasonable expectation to see a much better OBP. Rizzo got off to a poor start, but has turned around nicely; DeJesus is where you'd expect him to be. Valbuena is probably exceeding expectations. Not much offensively should be expected of Castillo and Barney. Soriano is what he is. I don't know. From what little I've seen of the Cubs this season, it seems like a lot of their offensive issues stem from being utter dog #### with RISP.
   2. SteveM. Posted: May 26, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4452746)
Given that there is nobody at AAA and all the prospects are in A ball, I am not sure where the improvements will come. When they start trading off people off, Theojud's approach seems to be to collect young pitching prospects. "Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
   3. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4452771)
The Cubs are 12th in OBP but most of that is being 10th in BA. But, yes, the league "ISOobp" (OBP - BA, screw the different denominators) is .055 vs. a league .065. They are 15th in walks which obviously isn't good. But if they could just walk at a league average rate then, by golly, they'd be #10 in OBP! Theo is basically saying the Cubs need to walk more because of course they're going to hit for ####. And he has a point and at least Valbuena has always understood this.

Castro, Soriano and Schierholtz are the main culprits ... I do wish somebody would teach Castro to not swing at everything. But, agree with #1, there's nobody here who's really underperforming in this regard.

I see the Cubs have picked up Ryan Sweeney.
   4. Darren Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4452777)
From 2010 through 2012, Ryan Sweeney hit 2 HR in 849 MLB plate appearances. This year, in his 110 PA between AAA and MLB, he's got 7 HR. That really is just about all that's stood between him and being a starting OF in the Majors. Natch, he's made this leap forward after the Red Sox released him in Spring Training.
   5. PASTE Transcends Almost All Generations (Zeth) Posted: May 27, 2013 at 04:42 AM (#4452862)
I read this as a general service announcement to fellow front offices to the tune of "I'm willing to listen to offers involving Starlin Castro."
   6. Big Train Rollin' Posted: May 27, 2013 at 07:19 AM (#4452872)
If only Theo had the power to build the Cubs after his vision.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: May 27, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4452894)
we will have to be even more aggressive acquiring players with on-base skills.” Says Epstein.

We'll give you Nava for Garza and a B prospect. Barring extension talks.

edit: Takes second look at Garza. Changes mind.
   8. Hack Wilson Posted: May 27, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4452904)
Castro has become Shawon Dunston without the arm (and maybe a bit of range).

If Castro is traded the Cubs have two top shortstop prospects one has 17 errors (Alcantara)the other 23 errors (Baez), of course it is still only May, so who knows what numbers they wll put up the rest of the year.
   9. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 28, 2013 at 06:19 AM (#4453405)
Cubs' rank as a team in batter BB (NL), last 10 years:

16th - 2005, 2006
15th - 2007, 2011, 2012 (and so far in 2013 as well)
14th - 2003, 2004, 2010

6th - 2009
1st - 2008 (!)

Apparently Theo's answer should include bringing back Lou Piniella, because in the last 10 years he's the only one who's been able to convince this non-walking team to take a pitch. But this always felt like an organizational deficiency - not only did they not teach hitters to walk, they never seemed to want to acquire/keep people that walked. Dusty's "clogging the bases" comment was the pinnacle of the crazy thinking, but he was far from the only offender. I don't think it's the sort of thing that can be fixed at the major league level in 1.5 seasons of a new regime. I hope that he's putting this emphasis down at rookie and A and AA, because that's where it will (in theory) pay off down the road.
   10. TomH Posted: May 28, 2013 at 08:18 AM (#4453418)
re: #8- Cubbie shortstops making errors ain't anything new. Castro led the league the past 2 years, and he is on pace to make it a three-peat.
   11. zonk Posted: May 28, 2013 at 08:36 AM (#4453429)
I read this as a general service announcement to fellow front offices to the tune of "I'm willing to listen to offers involving Starlin Castro."

What could the Cubs get for Castro, I wonder?

The contract is a nice enough one and Castro is still a plus player, even if he's looking determined to be Gary Templeton rather than something more.

   12. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4453457)
That's nothing, 2003-12 the Cub pitchers have a 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 5 16th place finishes in walks.
   13. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4453494)
Dusty's "clogging the bases" comment was the pinnacle of the crazy thinking, but he was far from the only offender.

The Reds lead the league in walks by a wide margin.
   14. PASTE Transcends Almost All Generations (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4453520)
Bill James talks about Juan Samuel all the time. Samuel was quite a marvel, James is fond of saying, a guy with obvious talents who didn't quite fit anywhere you tried to put him. He referred to leading the league in strikeouts, errors and caught stealing as the Juan Samuel Triple Crown.

Starlin Castro seems to have a little Juan Samuel in him. Doesn't strike out as much as Samuel did, but has a lot of that "good gap power hitter, good defensive range, terrible percentage player" vibe.

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