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   1. Cabbage Posted: September 11, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#2173521)
Sorry about being AWOL of late, but, as Dick Cheney might say, I’m in the last throes of dissertation writing.

The angst induced by the northside baseball squadron is enough to make anyone wrap themselves in the calming folds of academia
   2. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 11, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2173539)
I am concerned about his workload. Although he’s 26, Hill has never thrown more than 130 (in 2005) innings in any one season in the minors. Between Iowa and the big leagues, he has now worked 172.2 and, as we’ve seen in a couple of recent starts, he appears to tire once he reaches ~100 pitches. If he’s going to pitch in two-three additional games after tonight’s, Baker would be wise to pull him earlier than he has in the recent past.

I think that's a fair concern, especially considering this coaching staff and medical personnel. However, he's older than most "prospects" and his injury risk is probably less than most of the other Cubs "prospects". I'd love to hear what people in the know (CBW) think of his mechanics, especially since he throws so many curveballs.

If the Cubs get nothing else out of this lost season, hopefully they've gained at least stability in one more rotation slot. Having a good lefty starter is something that is quite valuable, and difficult to acquire (here's hoping the Cubs don't over-overpay for Zito this offseason).

Right now, the 2007 rotation looks like Z, Hill, and ??? I'd love to think Prior can at least be a 5th starter, but we sure as #### can't count on him. I think Marshall may have a leg up on the other guys for a spot (Mateo, Guzman, and Marmol-probably in that order). Hendry is going to have to sign *at least* one guy who can guarantee 180IP this offseason.
   3. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 11, 2006 at 06:33 PM (#2173544)
I agree that Hill has been one of the more optimisitic things about the second-half. At this point, he's rebounded from having perhaps his last chance as a MLB starter to becoming the Cubs #2 behind Zambrano (keeping in mind Prior's questionable status).

Whether he *should* be is another story, of course. If (and I understand this is a big if) Prior returns to full health next year, a Zambrano-Prior-Hill front of the rotation should be quite solid, and if they can cobble 4th and 5th starters out of the Marshall-Guzman-Mateo-Marmol group, I don't believe their rotation would be all that bad.

OTOH, taking the safe and more realistic assumption that Prior will be questionable next season, I can't be all that optimistic out of a rotation where Hill remains the #2 and they use three of the Marshall-Guzman-Mateo-Marmol group. A solid veteran arm would be quite useful to the Cubs, even if he's only a #2-3 starter.

Put another way, I don't believe the Cubs need Barry Zito for the rotation (and he's overrated IMO anyway); even a Miguel Batista, Vincente Padilla, or Ted Lilly would help solidify the rotation.

As for Hill's workload, I am also a bit concerned that he's pitched more this season than any others in the past. In his case, though, one has to keep in mind his age -- at his age, he *should* be ready to pitch these innings, so although I am a bit wary, I'm more more worried when the same thing is said about Marshall, Marmol, Mateo, and Guzman (all of whom I believe have pitched more in 2006 than in any past season).
   4. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 11, 2006 at 06:33 PM (#2173545)
I'd love to hear what people in the know (CBW) think of his mechanics, especially since he throws so many curveballs.

I've sent an email to CBW. I'll post any response here.
   5. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 11, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#2173547)
I'm assuming you didn't see my post before yours, right djf? Cause that's pretty eerie.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2173661)
even a Miguel Batista, Vincente Padilla, or Ted Lilly would help solidify the rotation.

The first name that sprung to my mind was All-Star!! Mark Redman. Padilla I'd rather stay away from because with his injury history I've got my doubts about the certainty of those 180 IP. I would probably have a slight preference for Batista and Lilly over Redman but I'd also prefer someone we can get on a 1 or 2 year contract so they can be easily gotten rid of if enough of the kids develop.

Although I'd love to see it, I'm not that concerned about the Cubs contending next year. There's not enough talent on the FA market to fill the holes and not enough money to buy it all if the talent was there. And this being the Cubs, we know they have no ML-ready position prospects. If we can get through this offseason without signing Pierre for 3+ years, I'll be content.
   7. Kyle S Posted: September 11, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2173678)
hill seems pretty similar to zito to me. lefty, low 90s heat, big big curveball, too many walks, homer prone. kinda eerie when you think about it. until recently, hill was the guy with the most startling discrepancy b/t mlb and AAA performance of any recent player i could remember. glad to see he's on track, but here's hoping he chokes tonight (both because he's playing the braves and because he's on the fantasy equivalent of the Yankees and facing me in our league championship, beginning today -- btw, i'm sure everyone was dying for my fantasy league updates, so i'll be keeping a running diary in this thread ;).
   8. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 11, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2173683)
I'm assuming you didn't see my post before yours, right djf? Cause that's pretty eerie.

Nope. Of course, it took me much longer to write a five-paragraph essay to say much of what you wrote in three (though I did expand a bit).
   9. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 11, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2173689)
The first name that sprung to my mind was All-Star!! Mark Redman. Padilla I'd rather stay away from because with his injury history I've got my doubts about the certainty of those 180 IP. I would probably have a slight preference for Batista and Lilly over Redman but I'd also prefer someone we can get on a 1 or 2 year contract so they can be easily gotten rid of if enough of the kids develop.

I agree completely, Walt. I was just throwing Batista, Lilly, and Padilla out there as the types of pitchers that would be helpful -- middle of the rotation guys -- not necessarily those guys specifically.

Redman would be a good choice, and of those that I listed, I like Batista and Lilly more than Padilla (because of the injury issue).
   10. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 11, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2173690)
the calming folds of academia

If you were aiming at some sort of labial analogy, I think it worked but it's more disturbing than you may realize.

a Miguel Batista, Vincente Padilla, or Ted Lilly would help solidify the rotation

Two of these three guys have passed through Toronto recently. On Batista, I don't think the Cubs are a good fit for him. He's a case for the headshrinkers... a talented pitcher, smart guy, good stuff, talks a very good game. His execution is terrible, and often clueless. He also appears to lack confidence. I think he pitches best when it matters least, and a high-pressure environment like the Cubs would not bode well for him. If there was a pitching coach in Chicago with a reputation for giving pitchers confidence, I'd be willing to try him. They don't.

Ted Lilly will give you 12 great starts and 12 awful starts a year. Of the 12 good ones, he'll win 9 no matter what the offense does and no matter who he is facing. Of the 12 bad ones, he'll lose 9 no matter what the offense does and no matter who he is facing. How he does in the remaining 6 starts determines his record. Generally, Lilly looks dominant in his good starts and you wonder how he ever loses. In his awful starts, he's the most frustrating guy in the world. Generally, he's worth a shot for a team who needs to roll the dice, needs a third starter and is looking to try to win now, because he can go 15-11 for you pretty easily and win tough games against tough opponents.
   11. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 11, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2173691)
I should add, he never does go 15-11; he just can.
   12. Neil M Posted: September 11, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2173696)
<i>a big if) Prior returns to full health next year, a Zambrano-Prior-Hill front of the rotation should be quite solid, and if they can cobble 4th and 5th starters out of the Marshall-Guzman-Mateo-Marmol group, I don't believe their rotation would be all that bad.<i>

I'm quite high on the future of most of the marginal prospects I've seen. They've all shown flashes of excellence amidst the kind of rookie struggles you would expect. The Cubs could have quite a solid young rotation next year, I also expect that Jim Hendry will trade away the wrong arm this fall.
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 11, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2173703)
I think [Batista] pitches best when it matters least, and a high-pressure environment like the Cubs would not bode well for him.

I don't know how high-pressure the Cubs' situation is going to be next year. They'll be coming off a 100-loss season (or damn close) and, hopefully, will have the glow/honeymoon of a new manager.

If there was a pitching coach in Chicago with a reputation for giving pitchers confidence, I'd be willing to try him. They don't.

Hopefully, the Cubs will have a new pitching coach next year, although I'm a little worried that Larry Rothschild hasn't gotten the kind of criticism in the mainstream media that I think he deserves.

Ted Lilly will ... win 9 no matter what

Honestly, that would make two Cubs pitchers with that good of a guarantee. As the subject of this entry says, right now, their #2 starter going into next season is Rich Hill. I love Rich Hill and think he can win 15 games next year, but he could also go 6-15 with an ERA over 5.

Of the names mentioned here, I think Lilly sounds like the best fit for what the Cubs probably need. They need to fill a spot in the starting rotation with something reasonably close to a sure thing relatively cheaply ($5 million or less?). A best-case scenario with a top 4 of Zambrano, a magically healthy Prior, a 15-game winning Rich Hill, and Ted Lilly is probably as good a best-case scenario as the Cubs can hope for. That said, they need to focus this offseason on setting the team up to compete in 2008 and 2009 and be content next year with the 10-15 game improvement they'll get next season based purely on the fact that this year's team underperformed so badly.
   14. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 11, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2173718)
A best-case scenario with a top 4 of Zambrano, a magically healthy Prior, a 15-game winning Rich Hill, and Ted Lilly is probably as good a best-case scenario as the Cubs can hope for

Is that a pennant winner? In the NL Central, I'd have to think it's at least very, very close if you also get a decent amount of health out of the hitters. It's a ways over .500, anyway.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:06 AM (#2174198)
Is that a pennant winner? In the NL Central, I'd have to think it's at least very, very close if you also get a decent amount of health out of the hitters. It's a ways over .500, anyway.

Our hitters not only need to stay healthy, they need to get good or at least average. :-) We're kind of in need of a closer as well.

It's certainly not impossible that the Cubs could "contend" next year in the sense that, with some luck, they could win 85 games which might be good enough for the WC. The Cubs have made a habit in the last decade or so of swinging between 65 and 88 wins, so why not in 2007.

What really scares me though is the possibility of the Cubs entering next year with Hill, Marshall, and Lilly/Redman in the rotation. I'm pretty sure that the Cubs with 3 lefty starters is a sign of the apocalypse.
   16. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: September 12, 2006 at 01:56 PM (#2174419)
Why would the Cubs want to spend any money at all on the rotation? The guys you are all talking about are marginal starters at best (figure a 4.00-4.50 ERA) and I do think all the kids can post those kind of numbers for at or near the minimum. I'd only sign a pitcher if I can trade one to get a good bat.

Spend the money on a second base/right field upgrade, hopefully two big boppers for their positions. If you can get Tejeda with a combo of All-Star Izterus and others in a package, then do it...
   17. Clute Posted: September 12, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2174458)
With more holes to fill than swiss cheese you might ask yourself why would the Cubs make any splashy free agent acquisitions? They are at least a couple of years away from being a legitimate contender. It's true that a big market club should never go on the cheap and follow the Marlins scenario, but how much faith can we have in Jim Hendry, after moves like signing a DH to a 3 year contract to play right field, trading 3 pitchers for a leadoff man and not offering him an extention, going into this season with 3 second baseman making over $10 million and trading Maddux for Izturis?
   18. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2174481)
hill seems pretty similar to zito to me. lefty, low 90s heat, big big curveball, too many walks, homer prone. kinda eerie when you think about it. until recently, hill was the guy with the most startling discrepancy b/t mlb and AAA performance of any recent player i could remember.

Ben Hendrickson says hi.
   19. JPWF13 Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2174492)
hill was the guy with the most startling discrepancy b/t mlb and AAA performance of any recent player i could remember.

Ben Hendrickson says hi.


Hill had a K/BB ratio of 194/35 in 130.667 ip in 2005
that's stunning- but then in 23.667 mlb ip he had a k/bb ratio of 21/17 and gave up more than a run an inning

This year in AAA Hill had a 135/21 k/bb in 100 ip with an ERA of 1.80
But in the MLB pre ASB Hill had an 11/15 K//bb ratio and an era of 9.31
Hill first 40 MLB ip were stunning awful ERA over 9.00 a K/bb of 32/32

Hendrickson never had remotely K/BB or k/ip #s like Hill's- his were merely good, and he got hit lucky in 2004- and he didn't pitch as badly his first 40ip as Hill did in his.
   20. Kyle S Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2174500)
Hill had a K/BB ratio of 194/35 in 130.667 ip in 2005
that's stunning- but then in 23.667 mlb ip he had a k/bb ratio of 21/17 and gave up more than a run an inning

This year in AAA Hill had a 135/21 k/bb in 100 ip with an ERA of 1.80
But in the MLB pre ASB Hill had an 11/15 K//bb ratio and an era of 9.31
Hill first 40 MLB ip were stunning awful ERA over 9.00 a K/bb of 32/32

Hendrickson never had remotely K/BB or k/ip #s like Hill's- his were merely good, and he got hit lucky in 2004- and he didn't pitch as badly his first 40ip as Hill did in his.

Amen.

Anyone else see the similarities between Hill and Zito, or is that just me?
   21. MM1f Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2174527)
Hendricksons repatoire is pretty damn similar to Hills-except hes righty. Tall guys with average fastballs and plus curves
   22. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2174534)
Anyone else see the similarities between Hill and Zito, or is that just me?

Sure, if you ignore the fact that Zito's only 2 years older but already has about 1350 more ML innings. Their stuff is similar, I guess.

Hendricksons repatoire is pretty damn similar to Hills-except hes righty. Tall guys with average fastballs and plus curves

Hill's had more minor league success, and I think is much more likely to have more major league success going forward (if indeed, he's "turned a corner" or whatever cliche you want to use to describe him not completely sucking this time up).
   23. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2174537)
I've sent an email to CBW. I'll post any response here.

Update: He's responded to the email and said he'd let me know. He said it wouldn't be as detailed as his Mulder post (and I post definitely wasn't asking that much of him), but that he'd whip something up. Personally, I just want to know if his mechanics predict arm troubles or not.
   24. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2174539)
I wasn't really trying to say that Hendrickson was better than Hill or that his initial failure was more stunning, just that they seemed fairly similar until recently: huge curveballs, great numbers in the minors, execrable Major League performance.
   25. Kyle S Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2174548)
moses, read my post earlier in the thread. i certainly don't think hill will have a zito-esque career, but they have very similar stuff, are both left-handed, mediocre fastball, lots of fly balls, too many walks, etc. zito is the better bet going forward but in my eyes hill is quite similar.
   26. JPWF13 Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#2174553)
I wasn't really trying to say that Hendrickson was better than Hill or that his initial failure was more stunning, just that they seemed fairly similar until recently: huge curveballs, great numbers in the minors, execrable Major League performance.


check out Sam Militello: 444/130 k/bb in 380 ip, 34-10 W-L, ERA of 1.87

actually his MLB performance wasn't bad: ERA+ of 102 in 69 ip- he got hurt of course....
(which is why TINSTAAPP)

Hill has shown better control- better k/bb than Militello- Militello gave up less homers (some of which is a function of era- there's more HRs in the minors now than back then*) Militello had a terrific curve, mediocre fastball...

I've got to think that unless he's injured Hill will be an effective mlb pitcher for at least awhile. His K/bb numbers (in the high minors) are just ridiculous- 329/56.

Even if that flattens out to 250/100 in the majors- it's hard for a starter to be totally ineffective with those ratios - worst case scenario (aisde from catastrophic injury) is probably Eric Milton- who as much as we abuse here at Primer did put up 3 straight ERA+s of 113, 108, 105 earlier in his career.
   27. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2174567)
Why would the Cubs want to spend any money at all on the rotation? The guys you are all talking about are marginal starters at best (figure a 4.00-4.50 ERA) and I do think all the kids can post those kind of numbers for at or near the minimum. I'd only sign a pitcher if I can trade one to get a good bat.

I certainly wouldn't spend a lot of money on the starting rotation. In fact, as Clute suggests "With more holes to fill than swiss cheese you might ask yourself why would the Cubs make any splashy free agent acquisitions? They are at least a couple of years away from being a legitimate contender."

But as of right now, the Cubs have two guys who look like reasonably sure bets to be healthy, good starting pitchers - Zambrano and Rich Hill (and Hill's still a bit of an unknown). If Prior displays his usual health, that leaves 3 rotation slots that will have to be filled from among Marshall, Marmol, Mateo, Guzman, and Ryu (and whoever I'm forgetting). I'd be reasonably comfortable with getting acceptable performances from 2 of those guys, but being able to find 3 might be asking too much.

In retrospect, I think trading away Maddux really hurt, because he filled that same role - with he and Zambrano, at worst we had two slots filled, and only had to scramble to fill in roles at the back end of the rotation.

If I were in charge of the Cubs, what I'd want going into next season is 7 guys that I felt good about running out there every 5th game, counting Prior. Prior's a big question mark and it seems like a pretty safe bet that at least one other pitcher is likely to go down at some point in the season. If the Cubs add nobody, that's Zambrano, Prior, Hill, Marshall, Mateo, Marmol, and Guzman. I'm not sold on any of those last three and having to rely on all three of them seems to me to be asking too much. I'd just feel a lot better if we could slot one more veteran innings-eater in there between Hill and Marshall on the list.
   28. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:38 PM (#2174573)
To be fair, when I broached the subject, I assumed that Prior *won't* be in the rotation and that only Zambrano and Hill were locks.

My point was that, under those circumstances, the team doesn't need to go out and get a Barry Zito, but a middle of the rotation guy would solidify the staff quite well. Keeping in mind that Marshall, Marmol, Mateo, and Guzman are still horribly inconsistent, I would hope that we can get at least two starters out of that group, but two are anyone's guess.

I should emphasize that although he's been in the rotation the whole season (while healthy), I'm not at all convinced that Marshall stands above the others in this group. He's shown promise, but has also gotten his brains bashed in on more than one occasion . . . just like the others. For now, I'd probably rank them Marmol, Marshall, Guzman, Mateo, but I would expect that to change by Spring Training.
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:42 PM (#2174574)
To be fair, when I broached the subject, I assumed that Prior *won't* be in the rotation

And I think it would very clearly behoove the Cubs to build next year's team under the same assumption.
   30. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2174626)
But as of right now, the Cubs have two guys who look like reasonably sure bets to be healthy, good starting pitchers - Zambrano and Rich Hill (and Hill's still a bit of an unknown).

As scary as it sounds, we have to be a little concerned about Z next year. If it really is a back issue, those tend to never go away. I love to think of him as a workhouse and whatnot, but he does have a lot of mileage on his arm at this point.

As for Hill's health bets, well, CBW said he'd start a post with his analysis of Hill. There's a lot of good and bad there.
   31. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2174629)
moses, read my post earlier in the thread. i certainly don't think hill will have a zito-esque career, but they have very similar stuff, are both left-handed, mediocre fastball, lots of fly balls, too many walks, etc. zito is the better bet going forward but in my eyes hill is quite similar.

Ok, that's fine. I just have a really hard time wrapping my head around that comparison, just because they're so close in age (even though like it seems like Zito's a lot older).
   32. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2174642)
Hi all, I thought I'd chime in. Moses asked me for a quick mechanical analysis, so I looked at his 11 K game and here goes.......I'm watching the Highlight reel of his 11 K game, if you'd like to follow along.

Tempo

For those who've seen my evaluations, this is my main thing. Quick/efficient/uninterrupted tempo where momentum is used efficiently. Hill is a tad on the slow side at first. He really starts turning on the juice right around from when his arm straightens out, at the bottom of the arm cicle. Actually, you can see that when he starts that first movement up from the farthest point of his arm action circle, he really flows smoothly and VERY quickly. This is good, real good.

Arm Action

it straightens out, which I don't like both from an efficiency/injury risk POV. However, like I said, from the farthest point back, it is nice, quick, efficient. Notice how his elbow "picks up" he ball and not the hand. Elbow above hand--yes, and yes.

at release

Here's where I see potential trouble. His front side (lead arm/glove) isn't as firm as I'd like him to be at release. It indicates he's kinda pulling with his front shoulder, which generally leads to shoulder troubles. However, like I told Moses, he isn't super agressive with it, which is nice to see.
Also, at release, he doesn't demonstrate a hard thrower's true "intent." Most fireballers do this move right after release where they almost bow forward with their shoulders, like they're about to dive into the front of the mound. As an example, watch Billy Wagner a few frames after release if you get a chance. Hill doesn't do this, but hey he gets it to 92 or more without it.

injury risk

Yes, of course he's a possible shoulder guy. But so are most pitchers. Do I see major shoulder surgery? No, but I haven't seen front/side shots of Hill to make that determination.

Stuff

His deuce is awesome. It helps that it's slow. He gets compared to Zito, right? Well, they're not too far off, honestly. Their stuff is similar. Hill has a much better fastball, IMO. Zito has a better curveball, but not too far off. Unlike Zito, he could be described as sneaky fast. Hides the ball longer, has a quicker, shorter arm action. Can he become Zito? I don't see why not. Really, if I were him, I'd adopt Zito's attack plan...Fastballs in mostly with an occasional cutter and just throw the crap out of that deuce over and over and over. BTW, Zito has a pretty decent change as well. I don't know if Hill does.
Hill will be homer prone because he will have to rely on a 4 seamer, and with a curveball that big and slow, people will forever call his curveball a "hanging curve"<---when it gets hit.

If I were a GM, I'd definitely try to go and get him. Maybe not as a #1 guy, but yeah, a solid #2. His stuff, and those ridiculous numbers, are worth the risk.
   33. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:19 PM (#2174685)
From everything I've read, Donald Veal's on the fast track to Wrigley. He's probably a pretty strong bet for a May or June call-up next year. Sean Gallagher is also a strong mid-season possibility.

I should emphasize that although he's been in the rotation the whole season (while healthy), I'm not at all convinced that Marshall stands above the others in this group. He's shown promise, but has also gotten his brains bashed in on more than one occasion . . . just like the others. For now, I'd probably rank them Marmol, Marshall, Guzman, Mateo, but I would expect that to change by Spring Training.


I think the rankings in terms of stuff would be Guzman, Marmol, Mateo, Ryu and Marshall. Right now,I'd rank them overall as Mateo, Guzman, Marshall, Ryu and Marmol. I think the jury's still out on Ryu and he could move ahead of Marshall with a solid finish to '06 and a good spring training.

Marshall has 69Ks, 50BBs and 17HRs in 112.2 innings. Those numbers are pretty bad. To his credit, he's fairly good at pitching deep into games, his G/F ratio of 1.3 is solid and he can pick a guy off first. Still, I think he's not likely to be much more than he has been: a starter who might eat some innings if he can stay healthy, but with an ERA of 5. Marshall had good numbers in 4 starts in AA last year, but those numbers weren't much better than Guzman's, Gallagher's, Ryu's, Mateo's and Marmol's in larger samples at the same level. And they're a hell of a lot worse than Randy Wells'.

Guzman has 57 Ks, 30BBs and 8HRs in 49IP this season. His xFIP is 4.85 which is slightly lower than Marshall's 5.09. Since May, Guzman has gotten his walks under control at the cost of his HRs. He needs to find a balance between attacking the strike zone and throwing hittable pitches; but with that K-rate, his upside is still pretty good.

Mateo has 27Ks, 13BBs and 4HRs in 36IP. All of those numbers are pretty solid. It's stamina that seems to be the thing holding him back from becoming a solid #3 starter. He's had three or four good 5 IP starts and only a couple solid outings of 6 or more. (I guess that depends on your assessment of his 7IP/4R performance against the Cardinals, though.) Of all the Cubs young pitchers, including Rich Hill, Mateo's XFip is the best. All in all, I think his performance (especially combined with his minor league numbers) is enough to inspire hope for next season. Small sample size caveats do apply, though.

Marmol has 58Ks, 56BBs and 12HRs in 75IP for the Cubs. His K-rate is solid, but much less than you'd hope for given his walks and stuff. His HR rate is as bad as Guzman's. He's been a good bet to go 5 or six innings, but hasn't pitched much deeper into games. He does have 4 QS in 13 tries (all of which have been 6 innings of 1 run ball). Until he gets the walks and HRs under control, I think he's best served either in the bullpen or in AAA.

Ryu's pitch speed isn't great for a RHP, but his breaking ball and change look pretty solid. He's performed well at AAA and if he can do well as a long man, he might earn a shot at the rotation in ST.
   34. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:33 PM (#2174699)
I think the rankings in terms of stuff would be Guzman, Marmol, Mateo, Ryu and Marshall. Right now,I'd rank them overall as Mateo, Guzman, Marshall, Ryu and Marmol. I think the jury's still out on Ryu and he could move ahead of Marshall with a solid finish to '06 and a good spring training.

I think the last month or so demonstrate fairly conclusively that the Cubs don't see Ryu in their starter plans. They've not only said that they see him as a reliever, but when they've had the chance to give him another start (twice), they've skipped him over for the likes of Les Walrond and Wade Miller.

As for my rankings, I wasn't basing it on stuff -- otherwise, I'd put Guzman ahead of the others. I was going more on how I'd rank them overall. If I *had* to slot two of them in the rotation today, it would probably be Marmol and Marshall, but if you ask me next week, that may change.

As for Veal and Gallagher, they would factor in the mix as well, but I don't see either making the club until late next year at the earliest. Veal is clearly the #1 prospect at this point, ahead of Pie.
   35. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2174715)
Veal is clearly the #1 prospect at this point, ahead of Pie.

I'm not normally a big dessert person, but I really don't like veal. I'd take pie over veal any day.
   36. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: September 12, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2174755)
Thanks again, CBW. I hope more people get a chance to see your analysis about him. I am reassured to hear the Zito comp isn't horrible.
   37. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2174828)
As for Veal and Gallagher, they would factor in the mix as well, but I don't see either making the club until late next year at the earliest. Veal is clearly the #1 prospect at this point, ahead of Pie.


I think Gallagher might be ahead of Pie at this point, too. That's only because the Cubs do a poor job of developing position players.

Kevin Goldstein: "Veal's established himself as the top prospect in the Cubs system, and if he can pitch at Double-A next year at anywhere near the level he did this year, he could be up by mid-season, and have far more success than the infinite number of marginal rookie arms Cubs fans have had to watch this season."

That seems about right to me. The Cubs have been pretty aggressive about promoting pitching prospects. I think a call-up is possible even if they land a decent FA pitcher. It will depend on how Veal adjusts to AA, Prior's health and whether any of the "infinite number of marginal rookie arms" do anything in AAA / the back of the rotation.

As for my rankings, I wasn't basing it on stuff -- otherwise, I'd put Guzman ahead of the others. I was going more on how I'd rank them overall. If I *had* to slot two of them in the rotation today, it would probably be Marmol and Marshall, but if you ask me next week, that may change.


The reason I ranked them in terms of stuff before ranking them overall is that stuff is a necessary condition for being a decent major leaguer. And that's just something I don't think Marshall has. He's got good makeup, decent speed for a lefty and a decent 12-6 curve, but he doesn't have that one knockout pitch. He needs either supremely good command or he needs to sharpen up one of his pitches to be anything more than a 5th or 6th guy. Improvement is possible, but I'd rather bet on Angel Guzman putting it together or MAteo keeping it together.

And I just don't see Marmol as #1 on that list. He does have some of the best stuff of the group, but it hasn't translated to much at the big league level. As I noted above, with a slightly worse K-rate, Mateo's peripherals are vastly superior to Marmol's. Even Guzman has better peripherals: a better walk rate, a HR rate only .04 worse and a strikeout rate that's 4/9IP better.

I agree with your point about Ryu. In my opinion, the Cubs are being stupid about him. His K-rate is decent and he's the only one of these guys who can get the ball over the plate. If the Cubs could manage to give him more than 7IP, his HR-rate would probably drop from 6/9IP to something reasonable. Then again, Rusch somehow has managed to keep his near 3/9IP, so maybe it wouldn't drop as much as I'd hope.
   38. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 12, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2174925)
The reason I ranked them in terms of stuff before ranking them overall is that stuff is a necessary condition for being a decent major leaguer. And that's just something I don't think Marshall has.

Agreed, but you may have missed my point. I wasn't ranking them in terms of "prospect value" or "career value"; I was simply stating that *at this very second alone*, if I had 2 open spots, I would give them to Marmol and Marshall. I expect that will change by Spring Training; it might change next week. Heck, I'm close to swapping Guzman for Marmol right now.

My "list" is certainly not set in stone -- if anything, it's set in Vasoline and I expect it to change by Spring Training next year (based not only on stuff, but on control problems, effectiveness, polish, etc.) It doesn't mean that I believe Marmol (or Marshall or whomever) deserves 30 starts; I probably won't be willing to give more than 2-3 before I'd rank them differently.

I really didn't mean to sound as if I was saying anything official or concrete -- it's just my personal whim du jour. The Cubs definitely need to figure out which of these guys they will want to commit to, and like them, I am hoping that two of them will step forward like Rich Hill did and grap a starting spot by the horns.
   39. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#2177551)
I am prepared to happily eat my words with regard to Rich Hill. As of August 1, he had exactly 1 career quality start. Since then he has rattled off 6 out of 7 QS, plus the nice relief appearance in Houston.

I'm still not entirely convinced. His fastball is not that good, and any lapses in command are going to really throw him off. However, there have been some lefty pitchers who have put together some pretty good careers combining a finessed fastball with great off-speed pitches.

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