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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Soler

For those who didn’t see it last night, Soler left the game in the 3rd inning after a single.  He pulled up rounding first; earlier in the game he’d made a great defensive play on a running/jumping catch at the wall.  Jorge has a history of hamstring problems, and is getting an MRI today.  Rumors are that if Jorge has to go on the DL, Almora would get the call.  I would hope that means he’s coming up to play - and preferably CF, even though I really don’t expect that - and not just watch occasionally.  This is a pretty bad break for Soler, especially if it turns out to be serious, because he’s really been playing well lately.  Since bottoming out at .174/.263/.267 on 5/14 and being berated by calls from the Gonfalon staff to be demoted, he’s hit .318/.434/.591 (14 starts in 17 games). 

With Soler having turned things around, there was one less thing to complain about this season.  Even Heyward has started to come around, with 2 HRs off lefties in a week and a modest .250/.308/.472 line in his last 10 games.  Grimm had another disastrous outing yesterday, and Rondon allowed his third run of the year.  Richard and Federowicz are both still shockingly on the roster.  The rotation is still pitching unreal this season:

Christopher Kamka ‏@ckamka 12h12 hours ago
Updated #Cubs starting pitching this season:
2.33 ERA, 360.0 IP, 253 Hits, 348 K, .200 Opp BA, 0.978 WHIP

Christopher Kamka ‏@ckamka 12h12 hours ago
#Cubs starters last 11 games:
1.32 ERA, 75.0 IP, 44 Hits, 83 K, 4 HR, .172 Opp BA, 0.813 WHIP #Good

On the farm, Willson Contreras is still on fire and his line is up to 343/.436/.590.  Both Murton and Alcantara have started hitting, one of whom will hopefully replace Federowicz soon.

Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:24 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:12 AM (#5238027)
Almora has actually already made the trip to Philly and will be ready for tonight if Soler goes on the DL. If Soler avoids the DL, Almora goes back to Iowa.

I wonder how conservative the Cubs will be with Soler. If he doesn't need a DL trip but needs some rest, shouldn't they still consider keeping Almora and launching Federowicz into the Atlantic? They're already essentially playing with a 23 man roster, no need to hamstring (not intended) themselves further.
   2. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:58 AM (#5238071)
If Almora's glove is all that's advertised, it'll be hard to keep him out of CF.

Hasn't been an issue yet, of course, but Fowler seems like the sort who could/would move if necessary... and Joe did move Castro to 2B to get Russell's glove at the place where it has the most use.

Two months of dWAR is practically useless - but bbref does actually have Fowler at +0.6 in CF, with a +5 Rfield. At least to my eye, it does seem like he's better out there. Len and JD made a point earlier in the season that the Cubs brass has made a conscious decision to play the OF deeper than last year and has we've kicked around before, it's one possible reason Fowler seems to be having a career year with the glove. It's a rare thing - the Clementes, the Mays, the prime Andruw Jones - to have an OF that's just such a natural flycatcher he can play shallow and still cover deep. Maybe Fowler just isn't that guy and keeping him back puts him in a better place.

Fangraphs has the Cubs as the 2nd best defensive team in baseball (behind Texas) this year -- between the offense flirting with 6 RPG, the rotation doing a collective CYA impression, and the bullpen being pretty good beyond the occasion hiccup, the D has been largely overlooked.... but it's been extremely good. Only Rizzo (surprisingly) and Zobrist have been subpar per FG -- neither terribly so.
   3. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 12:07 PM (#5238082)
Hasn't been an issue yet, of course, but Fowler seems like the sort who could/would move if necessary... and Joe did move Castro to 2B to get Russell's glove at the place where it has the most use.

It took a couple of months before Russell took over for Castro, and only did because Castro was getting benched for not hitting. Fowler is hitting, and his defense does appear to be better, and he's a FA after the year. I think Joe might defer to Fowler for now (and as long as Fowler is still playing decent enough defense, I don't think it would be a mistake).
   4. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 12:09 PM (#5238085)
I have been thinking most of the year that Rizzo was having a bad year defensively at first, and seeing Javy play 2nd when Zobrist is off doesn't do Zobrist any favors - he just looks like he's moving in quicksand in comparison to Javy.
   5. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2016 at 12:46 PM (#5238120)
I like Soler, it's frustrating that he might have to go on the DL right when he's starting to hit, and one never roots for injuries regardless, but I have to say I wouldn't object to seeing what happens when your starting OF is Fowler/Almora/Heyward (at least defensively).
   6. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:19 PM (#5238149)
If Almora gets called up I'm sure he's playing so I'm just a touch disappointed that Szczur wouldn't get the opportunity. It's a tiny sample but he's had a great year and otherwise fits the late bloomer archetype.

Also, I think Almora is not likely to succeed given his inability to control the strike zone.
   7. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:27 PM (#5238161)
I think both Szczur and Almora are most likely 4th OFers.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:36 PM (#5238172)
Moses, does your new handle mean you're now breeding sex fowl?

EDIT: Not that I want to place an order or anything...it's for a friend...
   9. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:42 PM (#5238184)
This game raised a couple of questions related to scorekeeping for me.

First, on Szczur's successful squeeze I noticed he gets credited with a sacrifice and no hit. But he didn't really sacrifice himself as everyone reached base safely. In fact, the bunt looked good enough to possibly go for a hit regardless of the play at the plate. Is a squeeze bunt always a sac or is it the official scorekeeper's discretion?

Second, on Rizzo's pop foul they announcers said it was generous to not charge an error on that play. Fine, but what happens if they do charge an error and he continues the AB? Does he get credited for a subsequent walk or HR or whatever, or does it go as an 0-fer regardless of the outcome after the pop foul error?
   10. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:46 PM (#5238194)
Moses, does your new handle mean you're now breeding sex fowl?

Last week, Bruce Levine sent out a tweet about Fowler missing a game that had the fun typo of naming him "Sex Fowler". So, my handle means whatever you want it to mean.
   11. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:50 PM (#5238202)
First, on Szczur's successful squeeze I noticed he gets credited with a sacrifice and no hit. But he didn't really sacrifice himself as everyone reached base safely. In fact, the bunt looked good enough to possibly go for a hit regardless of the play at the plate. Is a squeeze bunt always a sac or is it the official scorekeeper's discretion?

I'm not 100% sure, but when the ball was fielded it was thrown home, so I guess the scorekeeper considered it a fielder's choice. I doubt they had any shot of getting Szczur at first.
   12. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5238211)
It's hard not to root for Szczur - beyond the fun last name - there was missing a year of college ball recovering from donating bone marrow to a stranger suffering from leukemia (Villanova had a registration event and Szczur came up as a match ). It almost certainly cost him in the draft - he was still a 5th rounder, but without missing the year, may well have gone higher.

He did make at least one or two top 100 lists back in his prospect days.

But yeah - both him and Almora are basically the same player... Szczur has a bit more speed, Almora perhaps a bit more offensive upside. Both can go get it in the OF.

   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2016 at 02:06 PM (#5238247)
First, on Szczur's successful squeeze I noticed he gets credited with a sacrifice and no hit. But he didn't really sacrifice himself as everyone reached base safely. In fact, the bunt looked good enough to possibly go for a hit regardless of the play at the plate. Is a squeeze bunt always a sac or is it the official scorekeeper's discretion?


It gets credited as a sqzcz.
   14. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 07, 2016 at 02:51 PM (#5238301)
Second, on Rizzo's pop foul they announcers said it was generous to not charge an error on that play. Fine, but what happens if they do charge an error and he continues the AB? Does he get credited for a subsequent walk or HR or whatever, or does it go as an 0-fer regardless of the outcome after the pop foul error?


Rizzo gets credited with whatever he does, but it affects the earned-ness of any runs. In other words, if Rizzo hit a HR after a dropped foul pop that was charged as an error, Rizzo gets credit for 1-for-1 w/ a HR, but the run is unearned because he would have been out but for the error.

I'm pretty sure the choice of hit vs. fielder's choice is at the discretion of the official scorer.
   15. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 02:58 PM (#5238310)
Baez rolling K rate. He's really getting better.
   16. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 03:35 PM (#5238347)
Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 6m6 minutes ago
MRI confirms strained hamstring for Jorge Soler. #Cubs activating Albert Almora with Soler heading to DL.
   17. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 07, 2016 at 04:25 PM (#5238410)
In case you guys aren't tired of reading about how f'in awesome the Cubs are*, here's a couple more: Rany at the Ringer and 538.

*Yeah, the fear is finally starting to creep in. The "who cares if they don't win the WS and man we'll be upset" fear.

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