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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, September 19, 2016

Projected Playoff Roster

We’ve talked about this off and on in so many different threads and chatters, figured it was time to create a dedicated thread now that the Cubs have clinched.  I’ll put any new predictions in the comments.  But this is what I’m guessing will be the roster, not what I want it to be.

Starters:
Contreras
Rizzo
Baez
Russell
Bryant
Zobrist
Fowler
Heyward

I think we’re going to see Baez start at either 3b (for Lester’s start, with Bryant in LF) or 2b (the other guys, with Zobrist in LF) for the playoffs.  This is the Cubs’ best defensive option, and I just have a feeling that’s the way Maddon is going to play it.  Personally, I’d have Soler in LF and Zobrist in RF with Heyward as a PR/defensive replacement.  We could see a tweak here or there - like Szczur for Heyward or Contreras in LF/Ross at C against a tough lefty (say, Bumgarner), but I don’t think there’s as likely to be a “surprise” start this year like we saw with TLS in the WC game last year.

Bench:
Ross
Szczur
LaStella
Soler
Montero

I think Montero has overtaken Coghlan recently.  His bat has shown more signs of life, but that’s such a small sample size I really don’t put a ton into it.  OTOH, Coghlan has been pretty bad all year (slightly less bad in Chicago than Oakland).  I’ve argued before that the Cubs should pair Almora with Montero, so there’s another PR option.  This bench combo is pretty slow/not great at baserunning, so that still leaves the door slightly ajar for Almora (or Coghlan instead of Montero).

Rotation:
Lester
Arrieta
Hendricks
Lackey

I have made the argument before that perhaps Hendricks should start game 2, as it’ll be in Wrigley and he’s been better there this year.  I don’t really have a strong opinion on it though, because Hendricks has also been pretty good on the road lately and I don’t think there’s really anything about how either him or Jake pitches at home or away that would make me want one significantly more than the other. 

Bullpen:
Chapman
Rondon
Strop
Wood
Hammel
Montgomery
Edwards
Grimm

I’m assuming Strop will be ready, but if he’s not, Cahill is next in line.  I’m convinced Montgomery is a lock.  I’m still not crazy about Hammel, but I don’t think he gets left off.  Zastryzny hasn’t pitched in 2 weeks, so he’s most likely no longer an option.  Maybe Smith is still an option, but I don’t see who he’d replace.  If Maddon wants to have that 6th guy off the bench (such as Almora), I’d say Hammel would be the odd man out.  With 3 lefties and multiple guys who can go more than 1 inning, I’d be shocked if they kept 9 in the pen; however, if they did, I think Montero would be the position player drawing the short straw.

Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 19, 2016 at 03:53 AM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 19, 2016 at 04:20 AM (#5302503)
I'm not superstitious, per se, but still didn't want to say this in the blog part even though I'll say it in the comments. I don't like the idea of Lackey pitching a game 4 if the Cubs are trailing 2-1 in the NLDS (and I swear that's not just because he was in that spot for the Cards last year and the Cubs roughed him up).

I also wanted to predict Schwarber making the roster ahead of Montero, just for kicks...
   2. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 09:33 AM (#5302541)
Strop had a bullpen session yesterday that apparently went well - it's about the only thing that went well over the weekend, I guess - so I expect he's back this week.

I keep checking the news on Schwarber to see if there's some possibility he makes it back, but all indications are that there's no chance - can't find the article, but one writer checked with a knee surgeon around the ASB and said surgeon said that October would theoretically possible on the shorter end of recovery time, but there's no way he'd recommend it. I still hold out slim hope for a (no jinx! time to break that out...) late October surprise - and, of course, a 'surprise' would be how Thed would do it - but I think we don't see him till spring with a bat in his hands.

Magic number to clinch HF is still 7 -- and the Cubs can still get to 100 wins by just playing .500 from here on out... I suspect that towards the end of this week, Joe starts trotting out the regular lineup and game management to use the last week as a tune-up.

We should probably start talking about potential opponents?

I wish there were a way to beat both the Mets and Cardinals - but chances are - barring a final two week collapse and the Nats seizing the top seed - the Cubs will likely get the WC winner, which looks like it would be one of those two or the Giants.

With the Mets depleted rotation -- and despite the Cubs having the worst regular season record against the Mets of the three (of course, the inverse didn't work out well last year) -- it's the Mets I'd prefer most. I think they'd be the easiest to knock off - and revenge for last year is also paramount.

Figure their only remaining young gun - Syndergaard - likely pitches in the WC game, so you'd only have to see him once.

I think the Giants would be next - yeah, Cueto/Bumgarner is a nice front two, but they've been awful in the 2nd half and the "even numbered year" thing is nonsense. Revenge for 1989?

Then there's the Cardinals... they're honestly the ones that would scare me most in the NLDS. They've been steady most of the year, there's obviously the history, and I wouldn't want to tempt fate by facing them in consecutive NLDS (plus, this season being a bit of the inverse of last year).

I suppose it's best not to jinx anything by looking past that -- but I say bring on the Mets...
   3. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: September 19, 2016 at 10:25 AM (#5302577)
Figure their only remaining young gun - Syndergaard - likely pitches in the WC game, so you'd only have to see him once.

Maybe, but we might have to see the "old musket"* twice.

*trademarked
   4. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 10:50 AM (#5302595)
True - but the Cubs actually whacked him around pretty good back in July (one of just two wins against the Metsies).

   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2016 at 11:02 AM (#5302601)
Maybe, but we might have to see the "old musket"* twice.


More of a cannon than a musket, no?
   6. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: September 19, 2016 at 11:07 AM (#5302605)
   7. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 11:08 AM (#5302608)
The more I think about it, the more I'd really like to go through the Mets... Given the Cubs' postseason history, you can pretty much look at any potential matchup as a chance for vengeance over tears long past - but I'd really like to pay the Mets back for last year. They'll whine and cry and excuse-make about injuries, but a nice sweep of the bastards, hopefully in the manner of a good pummeling, would be a tasty appetizer.
   8. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 19, 2016 at 11:14 AM (#5302611)
More like Big Gustav
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2016 at 12:18 PM (#5302651)
If the Cubs and the Sox meet in the World Series, the Gonfalon Cubs and Sox Therapy threads should be combined.
   10. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM (#5302659)
The only change I'd make to the roster in the intro would be to sub Almora in for one of Hammel, Montgomery, or Grimm. Can you "DL"/"call up" a guy in the case of injury mid-series? If so, I think Hammel could be out. As deep and good as the Cubs' bullpen is, his primary role would seem to be injury insurance if a starter gets hurt before a scheduled start. If, say, Arrieta goes down in Game 3 of the NLCS (I think the rotation should be Lester-Hendricks-Arrieta-Lackey), you recall Hammel to make an emergency start (probably in Game 4 or 5 and push Lester, Hendricks back to Games 6 and 7 in this scenario). If you're looking for a long reliever, (a) you already have at least two on that roster in Montgomery and Wood, and (b) Cahill probably makes more sense in the role than Hammel, since he's been doing it all year.

Grimm also seems somewhat redundant on that roster - he's your fourth one-inning, hard-throwing, high-K right-hander. How many of those are the Cubs really likely to need? I might actually think about swapping Grimm out for Coghlan, who has risen very slightly to "not completely worthless" in my eyes with a couple of decent games recently.

At some point in Arrieta's start over the weekend (I think just before or after he left the game), Len and JD were talking about catching and speculating about whether Montero would catch Arrieta in the playoffs. Arrieta's had more success pitching to Montero than to Contreras (although, very small sample sizes and, last I looked, Arrieta does best pitching to Ross). With Montero's recent resurgence - tied in, not coincidentally I think, to his settling into more of a backup role - I could see having Ross catch Lester, have Montero catch Arrieta, and have Contreras catch Hendricks and Lackey, with Contreras possibly playing some LF when not catching and/or having Montero and Contreras available as pinch hit bats when they're not starting.

As far as trying to figure out who I'd like the Cubs to face, they're going to have to win three series against three very good teams, and you can get into all kinds of trouble thinking that you match up especially well with one team instead of another. The Cubs will be favorites, but not overwhelming favorites, in any playoff series they play, which is about the best you can hope for.
   11. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 19, 2016 at 01:30 PM (#5302721)
I'm not superstitious, per se, but still didn't want to say this in the blog part even though I'll say it in the comments. I don't like the idea of Lackey pitching a game 4 if the Cubs are trailing 2-1 in the NLDS (and I swear that's not just because he was in that spot for the Cards last year and the Cubs roughed him up).

At this point, I might have more faith in Lackey than in Arrieta. He's only had six Quality Starts in his last 15 outings. That includes this weekend's 3 ER in 6 IP (plus a 4th unearned run). His numbers in those 15 games:

15 G/GS
6-6 W-L (Cubs are 7-8 in them)
92.1 IP
66 H
42 BB
75 K
12 HR
2 HBP
4.19 ERA

That's barely six innings an outing and generally pedestrian results overall. His control is off & his velocity is down. His one shining part is BABIP, which is unsustainably low, even if you give the defense credit for a lot of it.
   12. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 01:53 PM (#5302735)
Yeah, I hate to say it - but I don't have a lot of faith in Arrieta right now... I'm a lot more worried about the lack of command than I am the velocity, but any way you slice it -- he's kind of fallen back into a rather pedestrian mid-rotation guy. It's a good thing that Lester has started pitching up to his contract and Hendricks has emerged as a real stopper, because otherwise - I'd be fretting the rotation like hell based on Arrieta's return to earth.

I really, really do think Hendricks ought to be the 2nd guy -- though, as he's spent all season really stepping it up -- maybe one might say that having Hendricks as your 'stopper' in case of a disaster in games 1 & 2 makes Hendricks the guy you want in game three.

I suppose maybe it doesn't really matter -- any way you slice it/order things, Lester/Hendricks/Arrieta all figure to have at least one start in the NLDS... and despite agreeing that Lackey might be a better option, there's just no way that I see Arrieta sliding to 4th in the rotation.

The silver lining is that, despite the "what's wrong with Arrieta" stuff going all the way back to June - even now, he does still occasionally piece together impressive 3-4 inning stints. With the off days - I think this just means Joe needs to be ready with a quicker hook than usual and we need to go into the playoffs with the unfortunate understanding that Arrieta starts need to be heavy bullpen days. When he starts to lose it, it gets lost really fast.
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 19, 2016 at 02:09 PM (#5302743)
The silver lining is that, despite the "what's wrong with Arrieta" stuff going all the way back to June - even now, he does still occasionally piece together impressive 3-4 inning stints. With the off days - I think this just means Joe needs to be ready with a quicker hook than usual and we need to go into the playoffs with the unfortunate understanding that Arrieta starts need to be heavy bullpen days. When he starts to lose it, it gets lost really fast.


In a weird sort of way, I think Arrieta slots perfectly into #3 in the playoff rotation. Lester and Hendricks are much more likely, I think, to give you exactly what you want and get the Cubs off to a great start without overtaxing your bullpen too early, but, with a 4-man rotation, the #3 starter is in line to start Game 7, and Arrieta still has the stuff and the recent history that I think he's the most likely to just put it all together and absolutely dominate a Game 7 like he dominated the Pirates in last year's Wild Card game. Not that Lester or Hendricks or even Lackey CAN'T do that, obviously, but I think if you had to make a bet on a Cubs pitcher pitching a no-hitter or a complete-game shutout (you know, putting up a Jack Morris 1991 Game 7 kind of game), Arrieta might still be the best bet.
   14. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 02:27 PM (#5302753)
I cannot begin to imagine the information overload Arrieta (and Bos and the Cubs) have been dealing with -- if you google what's wrong with Jake Arrieta, you get a ton of results, going all the way back to June... and it's not even bog standard, beat reporter 'tired arm' or 'just missing his spots' -- but as you note, all sorts of velocity this, release point that, slider this, etc stuff.

I almost cringe every time he starts -- not because he instantly gets whacked around - but heck, you can just read through old chatters... First time through the order, people start talking about the "good Jake" showing up as he breezes through... then, suddenly, he walks a couple guys, someone takes him deep, and before you know it - it's another pedestrian 3-4 runs allowed start.

Montgomery/6 man rotation has given him some rest, so I suppose it's not like skipping a start will help.

The silver lining is that even among those non-quality starts -- he's never really posted one of those Hammel-esque stinkers where you're down 6-7 runs by the 2nd... in fact, even with the dearth of QSs -- he's actually gone at least five in every start this season. I suppose that's what you'd normally hope from the back-end of your rotation.

Figure he's probably got - at most - 5-6 postseason starts if we go all the way... 1 gem, another QS or two - and I think we can make that work even if bad Jake shows up in a couple.

Like I said, I just hope Joe has a short hook ready - because he's just not the guy who fights through a bad inning and 'gets stronger' like last year. When the inning goes bad, he needs to exit.
   15. SouthSideRyan Posted: September 19, 2016 at 02:46 PM (#5302774)
I really don't see the appeal of Hammel on the roster. With frequent days off, a long man isn't even necessary. Starter goes 3 innings, run out 6 guys for an inning apiece, and they're all still good to go the next day, with an off day to follow. If you have a 16 inning game, you piece it together with side-days and short rest.

ETA: And all that's ignoring that Montgomery and Wood could each go 6 innings if need be.
   16. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: September 19, 2016 at 03:04 PM (#5302781)
Arrieta needs more rest and I am optimistic that Joe will give it to him.

He burned out last year in the playoffs and after the long offseason was back to the being the good Jake (for a while). Now that he has no shot at 20 wins Joe can sit him for hopefully 2 weeks at least without having to worry about how his season stats will compile.
   17. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 19, 2016 at 04:31 PM (#5302841)
I think Almora needs to be on the playoff roster. He has more value as a pinch runner and defensive replacement than the 8th reliever given the number of off days in the playoffs.
   18. Brian C Posted: September 19, 2016 at 04:32 PM (#5302842)
To me, Jake looks like he has a little bit of Marmol Syndrome going on. That's when hitters realize that there's so much movement on your pitches that they'll most likely end up out of the zone, so there's no need to actually swing. They can just sit on their pitch. Ergo, swings and misses on pitches out of the zone one year turn into walks/homers the next.

And also he looks tired. As in, 400 IP over two years when he had never done anything close to that before sort of tired.
   19. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 19, 2016 at 05:02 PM (#5302867)
Maybe - (re: Arrieta being tired)...

But I'm not really sure what more, if anything, Joe and the Cubs could do about it. They've spent the last month giving all the starters - including Jake - an extra day's rest. I'm generally first in line with the "take care with them pitchers!", but Jake's gone over 110 pitches just three times this year (and one of those was his no-hitter).

The big concern with the Marmol syndrome is probably even worse than just hitters laying off the slider -- it's the next level where he can't even throw it for strikes... just checking Jake's bb-ref page, I see he actually leads the majors in wild pitches. THAT'S of great concern -- it indicates more than just hitters laying off the slider down and away, and more that he just can't throw it for what appears to be a strike anymore.

Like I said, at this point - I'm just hoping Jake can piece together a couple more good starts (and I hope he saves them for October).
   20. Brian C Posted: September 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM (#5302891)
I'm not blaming Joe or anyone if he's tired (and that's a big 'if', since obviously I'm wildly speculating here). It just looks like Arrieta's hit a wall, I doubt anything could have been done about it. He was a guy that spent a lot of years not pitching all that much and then all the sudden he was really good and was pitching a lot more. What are you gonna do?

Although as long as I'm speculating wildly, I might as well go all the way off the reservation and say that part of me wonders if his extraordinary workout routine isn't wearing him down a little. He's not a kid anymore.

   21. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 19, 2016 at 05:35 PM (#5302894)
Arrieta needs more rest and I am optimistic that Joe will give it to him.

He's been getting more rest all month. He really hasn't been that good all month.
   22. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 19, 2016 at 10:06 PM (#5303004)
Like I said, I agree that Hammel is superfluous on the roster. If it were up to me, he wouldn't be on the roster (and if they needed another starter, I'd give it to Montgomery before him). And yes, I'd put Almora (and Montero on the roster) instead.

Grimm also seems somewhat redundant on that roster - he's your fourth one-inning, hard-throwing, high-K right-hander. How many of those are the Cubs really likely to need? I might actually think about swapping Grimm out for Coghlan, who has risen very slightly to "not completely worthless" in my eyes with a couple of decent games recently.

Grimm has been really, really good for a while now. He's a guy you can bring in earlier and hope for a K. Maybe he's a little redundant if Strop is 100%, but there really isn't such a thing as too many power arms in the pen. Grimm gave up 2 in his last appearance, but since June 25th (including this last one), he's pitched 24.2 innings, has a 1.46 ERA (4 total runs allowed) with a 34/9 k/bb ratio. Coghlan has only hit .241/.358/.367 with the Cubs (which isn't terrible, but also not at all notable); .280/.306/.440 in 26 PA since coming off the DL - that means nothing to me.
   23. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 19, 2016 at 10:17 PM (#5303012)
With the Mets depleted rotation -- and despite the Cubs having the worst regular season record against the Mets of the three (of course, the inverse didn't work out well last year) -- it's the Mets I'd prefer most. I think they'd be the easiest to knock off - and revenge for last year is also paramount.

Figure their only remaining young gun - Syndergaard - likely pitches in the WC game, so you'd only have to see him once.

I think the Giants would be next - yeah, Cueto/Bumgarner is a nice front two, but they've been awful in the 2nd half and the "even numbered year" thing is nonsense. Revenge for 1989?

Then there's the Cardinals... they're honestly the ones that would scare me most in the NLDS. They've been steady most of the year, there's obviously the history, and I wouldn't want to tempt fate by facing them in consecutive NLDS (plus, this season being a bit of the inverse of last year).

I suppose it's best not to jinx anything by looking past that -- but I say bring on the Mets...


Anything can happen in October....

...having said that, the Cards just are not that good of a team. I've been beating that drum all season. They're not good defensively, they're not good on the bases, their bullpen isn't that great, their rotation isn't scary, and they live and die by the long ball. That's the exact profile of a team that doesn't do anything in the playoffs. Now, this is unusual for the Cards to be like this, but just like last year, the Cubs are a superior team (the Cards started great in April, and the Cubs were better from May onward). So sure, the Cards could beat the Cubs in a series. But there's absolutely nothing beyond the usual crapshootery of the playoffs that would make me worried about playing them. Also, Maddon has a clear managerial advantage over Matheny.

The Giants also have problems. Their bullpen is a mess, the outfield is old and bad defensively, but if there's any sort of intangible thing to worry about it's just their experience. The even year thing is just bullshit, but just about everyone on that roster has been in every type of playoff experience that I can't help but feel it's an advantage for them. Plus, Bochy is just really damn good.

I can't get a feel on the Mets. They've played better lately than they should on paper. I feel like Collins makes tons of bad mistakes, but they play well for him. The Cubs are better suited to beat them this time - but I thought the Cubs were better than them last year, too, and that didn't matter.

On paper, I'll take any of the matchups. Bumgarner is the one thing that scares me most, but he'd only get one start in an NLDS (though he could in theory start games 2/5 on short rest depending on how the schedule breaks). Syndergaard is a step below him. I don't see anything about the Cards to worry, so sure, let's beat them. Although honestly, I'd rather they just miss the playoffs.

Now, the hopeful and possible NLCS is a totally different story. I'm very impressed by both the Dodgers and Nats, so if the Cubs get there, either one of them will be a much more formidable matchup.
   24. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 19, 2016 at 10:25 PM (#5303016)
Lester has started pitching up to his contract and Hendricks has emerged as a real stopper,


I don't give 2 hoots how good Hendricks has been, as a Red Sox fan, I can tell you the guy you want pitching the most in the playoffs is Lester. He is like the anti-beane, his sh*t most definitely works in the playoffs. And he's looking really good right now.

   25. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 20, 2016 at 02:22 AM (#5303079)
Pointless milestones I'm rooting for the last couple of weeks:

1. Win division by 20 games. Not likely, unless the Cubs sweep the Cards. Looked more doable before the Brewers series.
2. +250 run differential. Also not likely, unless the Cubs can blow out the Reds a few more times. Need to go +23 in the last 12 games.
3. Henricks ERA below 2. If he pitches 12 innings without giving up an ER, his ERA would be 1.99.
4. 40HR/100RBI season for Bryant. He only has 1 HR this month, so getting him in a power streak again would be nice for the playoffs. For a bonus, he's 7 doubles short of 40; better yet, he's 7 away from 100 extra base hits. I'd love for him to finish above .300, too (and OBP over .400), but that's taken a hit recently. A nice hot streak to finish the season could get a bunch of these.
5. 35HR/100runs for Rizzo. He's also close to the .300/.400 avg/obp like Bryant.
6. 25HR for Russell. 4 away.
7. 10HR for Ross (1 away, so maybe) and Montero (3 away, so not likely). 3 catchers with 10 HRs is cool.
8. Heyward .300OBP. He's at .301, so this will be a battle.
9. 15 BBs for Baez. Only 3 away, so probably not.
10. Under 3 ERA for Arrieta. He's at 2.96, and as noted upthread, climbing.
11. Under 1 ERA for Chapman with Cubs. He's at 1.19. Only 4.2 IP with no ER would get him there.

Anything else you guys are watching for?
   26. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 20, 2016 at 09:16 AM (#5303125)
I think Theo is only two short of 100 hagiographies on the year :-)
   27. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 09:49 AM (#5303143)
Anything else you guys are watching for?


100 RBI for Rizzo (already there), Bryant (3 away), and Russell (7 away). Would give the Cubs 3 for only the 5th time in their history, and first since 1970.
   28. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 09:54 AM (#5303146)
Of the previous Cubs teams with a trio of 100 RBI men, only 2 of the players aren't in the HOF. Name them.
   29. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM (#5303152)
Of the previous Cubs teams with a trio of 100 RBI men, only 2 of the players aren't in the HOF. Name them.


Don't you have that backwards? Pretty sure Williams and Santo are two of them... I doubt I could guess the 3rd - I'll say Rick Monday, but I think that was before his time.

EDIT: Never mind... misunderstood the question, among the 5 trios (which may overlap names), out of that 3 to 15 players - only two are not HoFers... yeah, I doubt I'll get that one. Virtually sure at least one of them would be from the 1970 trio - since that was in the twilight of Banks' career, but would have to cheat to get him probably.
   30. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:18 AM (#5303167)
Actually, check that - I'll bet one is Riggs Stephenson... I know that one because he was part of the only quartet of Cubs to ever post 100 RBI seasons in the same year.
   31. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:18 AM (#5303168)
EDIT: Never mind... misunderstood the question, among the 5 trios (which may overlap names), out of that 3 to 15 players - only two are not HoFers...


4 trios, not 5. 9 players total.

edit: actually, there is 5. my initial P-I search started at the default 1901. The 1894 Cubs had 4, and only Anson is in the Hall.
   32. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:20 AM (#5303170)
Stephenson is correct, but see above about the only quartet.
   33. SouthSideRyan Posted: September 20, 2016 at 11:44 AM (#5303222)
Stan Hack and Phil Cavaretta?

ETA: Neither of which ever achieved 100 RBI
   34. McCoy Posted: September 20, 2016 at 12:29 PM (#5303258)
Cubs one homer from Ross away from having 9 players with 10 or more homers. If Montero and Heyward can go on a homer binge and knock out 6 homers in 12 games they'll have 11 guys do it. For the Cubs only the 2015 team had 9 players do it. If Montero and Heyward each hit one more homer the 2016 Cubs will have 11 players with 8 or more homers and that will surpass the 2013 Cubs for the most players in a season to do it in franchise history. 11 players with 10 or more homers is the MLB record, done by the 2004 Tigers and the 2015 Astros.
   35. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 01:08 PM (#5303286)
The Cub players to be part of 20th century and beyond 100 RBI trios are:

Hack Wilson
Rogers Hornsby
Kiki Cuyler
Riggs Stephenson
Gabby Hartnett
Ernie Banks
Billy Williams
Ron Santo
Jim Hickman


For Hickman and Riggs, the non-Hofers, it was their only 100 RBI campaign.
   36. Spahn Insane Posted: September 20, 2016 at 01:37 PM (#5303305)
Chiming in late... I was gonna guess Hickman and Swish Nicholson. Well, one outta two.
   37. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 20, 2016 at 01:48 PM (#5303316)
Swish Nicholson


Just yanking you chain here, but who were the two HOFers on the 1940's Cubs?
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2016 at 01:51 PM (#5303321)
Cubs one homer from Ross away from having 9 players with 10 or more homers. If Montero and Heyward can go on a homer binge and knock out 6 homers in 12 games they'll have 11 guys do it.


Man - what kind of odds do you think you could have gotten preseason on Ross having more HRs than Heyward?
   39. Sit down, Sleepy has lots of stats Posted: September 20, 2016 at 02:30 PM (#5303359)
The big concern with the Marmol syndrome is probably even worse than just hitters laying off the slider -- it's the next level where he can't even throw it for strikes... just checking Jake's bb-ref page, I see he actually leads the majors in wild pitches. THAT'S of great concern -- it indicates more than just hitters laying off the slider down and away, and more that he just can't throw it for what appears to be a strike anymore
Marmol always seemed to rely heavily on umpires calling strikes on pitches that were out of the zone. I would get incredibly frustrated, watching him strike out Cardinals hitters on pitches that clearly weren't strikes; seemed like they would take a pitch 3 inches off the plate for strike one, foul a pitch off, then reach and strike out swinging on a ball out of the zone, with a couple of near-wild pitches in between. When umpires stopped calling that outside pitch a strike, he became ineffective.

I'm sure that is wrong, but it's the way I remember it.

Tried looking up stats on Arrieta on Brooks baseball today to see if I could find anything similar in the noise and failed, but did come across a very interesting stat. Since Aug 1, 2015, he has thrown 190 four seam fastballs. One of those was hit for a home run; the other 189 resulted in zero hits, on just 14 balls in play.
   40. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:10 PM (#5303679)
Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 5h5 hours ago
Pedro Strop gets through simulated game. Expects to be activated on Friday and make five appearances out of #Cubs bullpen before playoffs.


Nice.
   41. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:13 PM (#5303681)
Marmol always seemed to rely heavily on umpires calling strikes on pitches that were out of the zone.

The way I remember it, well before we had the kzone types things that showed every pitch in real time, was that Marmol threw a lot of sliders that looked like they crossed over the plate as strikes, but were caught outside or inside and the ump called them balls; he had just about more side to side movement on his slider than anyone I can remember. Of course, I'm biased, but I think he should have gotten more of his sliders called as strikes. I agree with the theory here though that eventually players learned to completely lay off that pitch, and Marmol's control steadily declined.

He still got most of his K's on swinging strikes on pitches that were definitely out of the zone.
   42. Cabbage Posted: September 20, 2016 at 10:29 PM (#5303696)
I loved peak Marmol. 16 k/9 in 2010. That simply doesn't happen.
   43. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 21, 2016 at 10:30 PM (#5304353)
I think Montero is a lock, and I'm starting to think he might even be the starting catcher.
   44. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 21, 2016 at 10:39 PM (#5304363)
Yup - just said the same in the chatter... I actually suspect we're gonna see a three-headed monster (which is fine by me), but yeah - I do believe Montero has punched his ticket and I'm even dropping his former nickname.
   45. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 22, 2016 at 01:54 AM (#5304432)
Status of things from post 25, after a stat-padding Reds series:

1. 17 up with 10 to go. Sweep the Cards, and it can happen.
2. Only need to go +11 over the last 10. Doable.
3. No update
4. 2HR, 1RBI to go. 5 doubles away from 40, 4 XBH away from 100. .295/.387.
5. 4HR, 11R to go. .292/.389
6. Still needs 4 HR.
7. No change, though Montero is hitting better so he might get another one.
8. Up to .305.
9. No update
10. No update
   46. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 22, 2016 at 07:24 AM (#5304469)
4. 2HR, 1RBI to go. 5 doubles away from 40, 4 XBH away from 100. .295/.387.

Bryant is chasing 80 XBH, not 100. He's at 76 right now.

Also, Baez took his 15th walk during the Reds series, which was on your original list.
   47. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 22, 2016 at 08:18 AM (#5304481)
I think Montero is a lock, and I'm starting to think he might even be the starting catcher.

Miguel Montero's numbers beginning Aug. 20:
G: 16
GS: 10
16-for-44
3/0/2 extra-base hits
5 R
10 RBI
4 BB
10 K
.364/.429/.568 AVG/OBP/SLG
997 OPS

Rumors of his demise may have been exaggerated.

Will he be the starting catcher? Well, he looks like he's flourishing in a part-time role. The above numbers cover a 30 games span. He started at DH once and at catcher nine times in that month). Then again, we'll have Ross start all the Lester games, and Montero & Contreras could split the rest. I don't think the Cubs will have a genuine starting catcher per say; most like a three-headed monster.

But Montero has certainly played his way onto the postseason roster, especially when you add in his ability to frame pitches .
   48. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 22, 2016 at 08:55 AM (#5304494)
46, goddamnit.
   49. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 22, 2016 at 10:52 AM (#5304591)
Looking at team splits by position ..... here's how the Cubs rank at each position by sOPS+ (Wait - what's sOPS+? It's the OPS+ for a split, but instead of looking at overall league average, you compare it to just other teams at that split. So you compare the OPS+ of Cub catchers versus the OPS+ of only other catchers).

Anyhow, here's how the Cubs fair among the 30 teams:
C: 117 sOPS+, tied for 4th best
1B: 136 sOPS+. 4th place
2B: 110 sOPS+, tied for 9th place
SS: 106 sOPS+, tied for 12th place
3B: 119 sOPS+. 3rd place
LF: 127 sOPS+, tied for 3rd place
CF: 120 sOPS+, 6th place
LF: 75 sOPS+, 29th place (thank you, Phillies!)

Man, Heyward's gotta be better next year ..... right?

The biggest surprise is LF. Not only has Soler been playing better lately, but Bryant has nearly as many PA in LF as Soler does. And Bryant's hit better in his LF days (1037 OPS). I assume that's just a random happenstance thing. That's also why they're not doing better at 3B. Both Bryant (934) and Baez (700) have hit better when at other places. Again, I assume that's just happenstance.

This post has no point. I just liked looking this stuff up.
   50. McCoy Posted: September 22, 2016 at 11:09 AM (#5304606)
Heyward is so bad he's now considered a LFer.
   51. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 23, 2016 at 05:49 PM (#5305724)
   52. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 23, 2016 at 05:54 PM (#5305728)
Yeah, Miguel Montero should make the postseason roster.


Yeah, 3-headed monster at catcher with all three paired to specific starting pitchers: Ross - Lester, Montero - Arrieta. I would guess Contreras catches both Hendricks and Lackey; I think we'll know for sure based on who catches their next starts this week. I think that should work well: with 3 C, you can feel comfortable PH either Montero or Contreras in games they're not starting, and you can comfortably PH for Montero against lefties late in the game (as happened today).
   53. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2016 at 09:32 PM (#5306747)
Had reason to take a peek at Rondon's splits today and there's real concern there. 50 K in his first 151 BF but only 5 K in the last 36 BF. Arguably it goes back to late July -- just 7 Ks in 50 BF. And he's been getting shelled. That included the trip to the DL in the middle of that but it seems he's still not right. It also dates back (exactly) to when the Cubs acquired Chapman so possibly not being the closer is having some effect but that dramatic drop in K-rate suggests injury to me.

On first-round opponents, I don't care ... and the jinx gods are always big on giving you what you wish for, so don't risk it!
   54. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2016 at 10:10 PM (#5306769)
Hey, just noticed the Cubs have a Spanish language broadcast for tonight's game (WRTO). Is this brand new? Or have they been doing weekend or "big" game broadcasts all year? I've been surprised for many years that the Cubs didn't have one.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2016 at 02:43 AM (#5306877)
OK roster. I was pretty sure we were going with 3 Cs even before Montero's resurgence, it seems certain now.

P -- Arrieta, Lester, Hendricks, Lackey, Chapman, Strop, Rondon, Wood, Montgomery, at least one of Edwards/Grimm/Cahill for sure
C -- Montero, Ross, Contreras
position -- Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell, Bryant, Fowler, Heyward, Baez, Soler, at least one of Coghlan/LaStella (probably CC)

That leaves me with 3 to play with. Options are Hammel, other 2 of Edwards/Grimm/Cahill, other of Coghlan/LaStella, Szczur, Almora ...

1. Can I magically discern anything from the Sept usages of Edwards/Grimm/Cahill. Not really. 8 appearances for TC, 7 for the other 2. Cahill about 9 IP, Edwards 7, Grimm just 5 suggesting maybe he's more of a ROOGy? None is pitching particularly well or poorly although Edwards is bringing the Ks big time. Cahill has 2 high lev appearances and 3 quite low ones; Edwards 2 high and 2 low; Grimm 3 high and no particularly low ones. But one of Cahill's and one of Grimm's high lev were in extras when Maddon was running out of arms. So I'll name Edwards as the guaranteed guy.

2. Hammel -- there's really not much need for him on the postseason roster but it would be weird to exclude him and I'm guessing wouldn't please him very much. Hammel fills more of a Cahill role than a Grimm role I think.

3. Similarly I personally don't think you need 12 pitchers for a 5/7 game series but I suspect Joe disagrees and, unless I missed a very important phone call, it's his choice not mine. That last position player spot may depend on pitching match-ups. Szczur is really just emergency Fowler injury insurance and the Cubs can just shift Heyward over if it comes to that. Nobody really needs defensive replacement but Soler/Coghlan but if either is in the game then probably Baez is on the bench so that solves that problem. Nobody but Montero/Ross _really_ needs a PR and worst-case scenario they can probably use Contreras or yesterday/tomorrow's starter for that. Looks to me like the closers/set-up guys are mostly RHP so an extra LHB on the bench seems a good idea.

Last 3: Hammel, Grimm, LaStella. But I'm a bit of a LaStella fanboy. I'd personally give consideration to Almora over Hammel but it's not gonna happen.

Something I hadn't realized: Cahill is still only 28. He's been around long enough I had him in that 32-33, trying to get the last few innings out of his arm category. Which probably would be the case if he'd been a college pitcher but he was drafted out of HS and made the majors fairly quickly.

Extra factoid: Since a big game on Aug 12, Szczur is hitting 106/176/128 in 51 PA.
   56. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 26, 2016 at 10:43 AM (#5306990)
I highly suspect that the last 1-2-3 guys are going to depend on the opponent --

Team Splits:

SFG
Batting - 256/330/395 against RHP; 253/319/389 against LHP
Pitching - 238/298/385 against RHB; 253/315/415 against LHB
Posey and Pence from the right side; Belt, Crawford, Panik from the left. Bumgarner and Moore as lefties in the rotation. The Giants bullpen is a mess, of course, and their two LOOGYs/lefties have both been pretty bad (both Lopez and Osich have FIPs over 5)

NYM
Batting - 240/311/410 against RHP; 254/325/432 against LHP
Pitching - 253/306/392 against RHB; 256/319/402 against LHB
The Mets have a lefty-thin staff with their injuries - just Blevins, unless they keep one of the flotsam lefties like Gilmartin, Edgin, Smoker, etc... Granderson's probably the only guy you want a LOOGY for - the other Met lefty bats haven't been all that good.

STL
Batting - 256/327/448 against RHP; 249/317/417 against LHP
Pitching - 259/316/407 against RHB; 252/323/392 against LHB
The Cards do have two nice LOOGYs - well, Siegrist is more of the prime setup guy - in Siegrist and Duke. Carpenter, Adams, and Moss hit from the left side, with Grichuk, Yadier, et al on the other side.

Against the Giants, I might think you want to carry BOTH Coghlan and TLS. Against the Cardinals - I would think you might keep only one of them and perhaps take either another pitcher or maybe Almora. The Mets - maybe you want to swap Montgomery for a righty or take another bat.

   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2016 at 10:47 AM (#5306997)
Had reason to take a peek at Rondon's splits today and there's real concern there. 50 K in his first 151 BF but only 5 K in the last 36 BF. Arguably it goes back to late July -- just 7 Ks in 50 BF. And he's been getting shelled. That included the trip to the DL in the middle of that but it seems he's still not right. It also dates back (exactly) to when the Cubs acquired Chapman so possibly not being the closer is having some effect but that dramatic drop in K-rate suggests injury to me.

I was surprised not to see Rondon warming up at any point during last night's game, leading me to think he's still hurt. If Strop is OK, I would probably leave Rondon off for at least the Division Series.
   58. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: September 26, 2016 at 11:04 AM (#5307008)
Well, Rondon had pitched Saturday (26 pitches) and got smacked around pretty good -- but he seemed perfectly fine before Saturday... 5 Ks in 3 and 2/3 IP - the only hits he gave up in the Cincy game were both cheapies, IIRC.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2016 at 11:15 AM (#5307022)
Well, Rondon had pitched Saturday (26 pitches) and got smacked around pretty good

Ah, I didn't see or hear the end of Saturday's game.
   60. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 26, 2016 at 11:21 AM (#5307031)
Maddon has also said the last week is scripted, at least as far as pen usage. So I think we'll get a better idea of the pecking order, or what competition there is based on how/when guys throw.

   61. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 27, 2016 at 10:35 AM (#5308090)
1. Division by 20: Up 19
2. +250 run differential: at 250 today
3. Hendicks sub-2 ERA: 1.99 today. Probably starts Sunday.
4. 40HR/100RBI KB: 30HR, 101RBI. Still at 35 doubles. .295, so .300 still a possibility, though unlikely
5. 35HR/100run Rizzo: still at 31HR. Only 91 runs.
6. 25HR Russell: still at 21
7. 10HR Ross: check. Still only 7 for Montero.
8. Heyward .300OBP: sitting pretty at .305. Hitting a robust .216/.289/.297 in September, so he’s ready for the playoffs. In all seriousness, Joe really should consider benching him and just using him as a PR/defensive replacement for Soler. Unfortunately, Soler is only hitting .182/.308/.364 this month, mixed among days off for various tweaks. There isn’t a great answer here.
9. 15BB Baez: check. He’s at 14HR, so maybe he can finish with a coveted 15/15 season.
10. Sub-3 ERA Arrieta: 2.85. His last start was really encouraging.
11. Sub-1 ERA Chapman: 1.09 with the Cubs. Possible with a couple more scoreless appearances.
   62. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: September 27, 2016 at 10:45 AM (#5308094)
I also am worried about Rondon. The velocity seems down, the stuff seems less crisp. Someone mentioned in the game thread that he might be at risk of missing the roster. I guess that's possible if the Cubs think he's still not 100%.

We mostly have been assuming 12 pitchers in making our projected rosters. But:

The Cubs are leaning toward carrying an 11-man pitching staff for the best-of-five National League Division Series.

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Monday the Cubs have discussed a 12-man staff but said: "It's probably going to be 11 and 14 (position players). Probably the optimal situation to be in."

Maddon said the days off between Games 2 and 3 and between Games 4 and 5 allow teams to "reset" in a best-of-five series, lessening the need for a 12th pitcher.

"And you may need something that you can do more maneuverable on the field itself," Maddon said. "That's where I would lean.

"Going into this short series, everybody is going to be well-rested," Maddon added, referring to the four-day break before the start of the NLDS. "I don't know that lack of rest will be a concern."

Maddon's bigger concern is losing a player to an injury early in the series.

"If you're not protected against that, how does that play out for the next day?" he said.


I *think* that means Almora has a shot. I'd expect him to play quite a bit this week, and probably in each OF spot. The last bench spots come down to 2 of LaStella/Coglan/Almora. I've all along been assuming TLS over Coghlan, since Baez is the only other IF (Coghlan hasn't played 2b or 3b with the Cubs this year, so I doubt that'll start again in the playoffs). I really didn't think they'd take all 3 lefties (Montero, plus those 2), unless Montero is the starting catcher (for all non-Lester starts) - and I have to admit that's a real possibility right now - which would mean they would probably take all 3 and Contreras is the other righty off the bench. So, I really can't guess with any certainty. I think I'd have Heyward on the bench, which would mean less need for the PR/DEF of Almora, but I don't think Heyward is getting benched (or PH for, unfortanately, unless it's an extreme situation - like multiple on, down late, with a lefty on the mound). So convolutedly today, I'll say both TLS and Coghlan are in.

As for which pitcher gets left off (from my prediction up top), it's gotta be Hammel. Even though I haven't put Cahill on the roster, I don't think Joe would use Hammel over Edwards or Grimm. If Rondon is hurt, I'm thinking Cahill is also ahead in the pecking and Hammel is still on the outside looking in.

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