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Day Three of the Draft kicks off at 11am CT today with the final 25 rounds. We’ll have more on some of the Cubs’ early picks, as well as their top pick Albert Almora, later this morning. Until then, Bullets…

  • I love Ryan Dempster’s response when asked about the perfect game he took into the sixth inning last night. “I was thinking about a perfect game, for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I knew I didn’t have anybody on base. It’s the second best thing, a win. Five innings is five innings. You don’t get too worried about it.” Honest.
  • Geovany Soto is expected to begin a minor league rehab stint this weekend, which means he could be back by late next week. Regardless of your opinion on Soto’s poor performance thus far this year, his return is good news for the Cubs. By coming back and playing well, he’ll at least give the Cubs *a chance* to shop him in July. He helps no one on the shelf.
  • Dale Sveum backed off his “last straw” comments a little bit about Starlin Castro. “Was it a big thing? Of course it was,” Sveum said. “But veterans do the same things too sometimes, so it’s not a case of being young and all that. Everybody on this team and everybody who’s 22 years old still has played a lot of baseball. There are certain things that happen that people get embarrassed by, and he feels horrible about it. But there’s no [excusing it because of age] or anything like that. You’re not going to bench a guy for something like that. You’re going to bench guys for not playing hard or not preparing, things like that. It was just an unfortunate thing that happened that you try to eliminate.”
  • Alfonso Soriano is helping Starlin Castro out after his latest mental lapse. “It’s all right to make mistakes I told him, but it’s not all right to make them a second time,” Soriano said. I also said to him that as a shortstop you have to be the boss out there. All the other players watch the shortstop and depend on him. He is young and he can make a mistake but he must learn …. I told him you have to watch the scoreboard every pitch and tell the other guys how many outs there are after an out is made. He knows all of this and he will get better at it because he cares about his team and teammates.” Soriano is a good teammate. He just is. He also has the most homers in baseball since May 15, by the way.
  • Speaking of the Draft, teams did what many of us were speculating they would do yesterday: took some tougher-to-sign types early, and then took a whole bunch of easy-to-sign college types in rounds 6 through 10. The Cubs did it, too, so lets hope that means some of the players they took in rounds 11 through 15 (and then more today) are tougher-to-sign types (which is my proxy for saying “better than the round in which they are selected”).
  • Since he came to the big leagues, Starlin Castro is the worst defensive middle infielder in all of baseball … according to one metric, which kind of punishes guys for playing a lot of games and having a lot of chances. Basically, there’s a stat that counts the number of errors and “misplays,” and Castro’s got the most (171) among middle infielders by a country mile (Ian Desmond is number two with 131, and Rickie Weeks is third with just 106). Shrug. He’s made some mental mistakes of late, but my eyes tell me Castro is a vastly improved defensive shortstop this year. I might even go so far as to say he looks “above average.”
  • An interview with Anthony Rizzo, which focuses mostly on his experience dealing with cancer, in case you needed reminding of Rizzo’s character.
  • MLBullets at BCB note the Diamondbacks’ owner absolutely shredding Stephen Drew for not having played yet this year.
  • Fishin Phil

    Best thing about Soto coming back will be waving goodbye to Koyie Hill.

    • BD

      I can’t believe we have to say that….again.

  • magilljl

    Those stats on “misplays” need to include some sort of condition of excessive range. By that I mean, a fair number of Castro’s errors are the result of getting to a ball that a lot of shortstops wouldn’t get to and trying to do too much. Once he learns (with time) that holding that guy to a single instead of a possible double is better than attempting the off balance crazy throw, I think we’ll see those “misplays” go down. He still gets a couple more years before a great determination is made, in my opinion.

  • Fishin Phil

    I really hope some AL team is paying attention to Soriano’s recent production. I would love to see him go to an AL team where he can play his proper position, DH. It would be best for the Cub’s long term interest, and it would be best for Alfonso’s poor crippled knees. It pains me to watch him try to get around in left field.

    • rcleven

      If the Baltimore Orioles are still in the running in the next month perhaps the Cubs can complete the spring trade that Sorri was rumored to nix.

      • Cyranojoe

        It’s not looking good for Baltimore right now, though…

  • BD

    I love what Campana brings to a team- but not in CF, and not leading off.

    His arm should have him in LF, and his light hitting should have him down in the order when he does play.

    • ColoCubFan

      I really like the idea of Campana batting 9th. I know that goes against the “norm” but I think in his case it would really pay off.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Sounds like the front office got to Sveum and told him to back off.

  • swaz46

    According to Baseball-Reference.com, Castro currently is third in Defensive WAR:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/castrst01.shtml

    Your eyes tell you he’s been better, and so do the numbers.

  • Rynomite

    Defensive metrics are not exactly the gospel truth, but according to baseball-reference.com’s dWAR stat, Castro is the 8th most valuable defender, not just at SS, but in ALL of MLB. Some guy named Darwin Barney (who by the way has an OPS above league average) is 4th in dWAR and far and away our most valuable player this year according to overall WAR.

    In fact, Barney is 10th in all of MLB with his 2.6 WAR accumulated so far this year.

    • Noah

      Castro’s UZR/150 is also in the Top 30 of all MLB players this season, and fifth among all shortstops.

    • Cyranojoe

      Holy crap! I like D-Bar, but dang!

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      Been trying to tell people to direct their angst, and need for change, away from Darwin Barney…

  • mark

    Soriano comments made a lot of sense.

  • Cedlandrum

    Castro’s defense is far improved. It is almost unbelievable. I could be wrong, but it has been almost a month since he has had an error. Maybe not, but I think so. Anyway when he makes the easy plays you start to see how great he can be, because very few SS cover as much ground on pop ups or plays in the hole.

    • djriz

      he made an error last week on a throw to the plate. it was a tough play, the throw faded and hit the runner. it was not one of his ‘have all the time in the world, overthrow the 1st basemen’ type of errors.
      to me, castro has improved 10 fold on defense, and my bet is he’ll be in the top 25% of shortstops in feilding percentage this year.

      • Cedlandrum

        Oh right. I remember that now.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I’ve never liked the errors on thrown balls hitting baserunners.  In almost all cases, it means that the throw was where it needed to be: it’s just bad luck.  Errors should reflect throws that miss the base altogether.

        • djriz

          totally agree, but i think the error was given because the throw allowed the hitter to advance to third.

  • Frankum

    I wish we would just trade Castro. I hate watching him play. I especially hate his approach at the plate. Hitting .300 is great but swinging at every pitch is moronic. It’s impossible to win a championship when your best hitter has an OBP of .329 and walks 20 times a year. He will never be able to take us to a World Series.

    • Nathan

      I know a Green Bay Packers fan that hates Aaron Rodgers…you must be him

      • K Rock

        perfect response haha

      • Cyranojoe

        LMAO, nice.

      • baldtaxguy

        :)

      • hardtop

        does he hate him for the strap on dildo move he does every time they score?  thats why i hate him.  why do you think aaron needs a strap on dildo? was it a boating accident? or is he just impotent?

    • djriz

      He may not ‘take’ us to World Series, but he won’t be why we dont get to one.
      Castro is a very valuable member of this organization. How many other teams have a 22 year old kid as their best position player? Can’t think of any. Anybody?

      • Frankum

        how many other teams are the worst team in MLB?

        • TWC

          Currently just one:  the Padres.

          • djriz

            And the Twins, Astros and A’s are in the team picture.

      • FrankAndBeans

        Miami – Giancarlo Stanton

        • djriz

          good call.

    • Kevin

      So, you want to give up on our best hitter after 2 years? He is still only 22, one of the best hitters in the game. I would say get rid of Rudy and his swing first attitude and see how that helps Castro. That view of yours is very short sighted.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Nobody takes his team to the WS.  However, a team of 8 Castro’s would probably post an OPS of 0.735, which would be in the top 5 in runs scored in the NL.  (I’m assuming league average production from the #9 slot.)  It would also have above average defense (especially on range and arm strength) at most of the position.  (You’d need a couple of backups at catcher!)  Combine that with league-average pitching, and you have a playoff contender right there.  Combine that with good pitching, and you have a playoff team (barring injuries) right there.

    • Jared

      you are an idiot…

  • Frankum

    Yeah, because Castro is the equivalent of Aaron Rodgers…..or not.

    • djriz

      Of course not. Aaron Rodgers was on the bench at 22! Castro’s starting. Rodgers didn’t make his 1st allstar game until he was 26. Castro may make his 2nd at 22.

  • art

    Soriano is the last guy I’d listen to. didn’t Henry put Castro under Soriano’s wing? where do you think he got his bad habits/attitude from?

    • djriz

      Soriano is supposed to be a top notch teammate and an extremely hard worker. Just because he signed a huge contract he didn’t live up to, and just because he seems laidback, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be a leader for Castro.

    • King Jeff

      Really, if you ask me, Soriano is gutting out some pretty rough knees to help this team right now. There hadn’t been much offense lately before yesterday, but what there was came from Soriano. I’ve seen him limping and miss a few plays, but I’ve also seen him dive and extend on some plays that had to cause him more pain. I might question Soriano’s production sometimes and his bloated contract, but I don’t think any of us can question Soriano’s effort on the field or his influence on team mates this season.

      • Cyranojoe

        It’s been almost terrifying to see Soriano take to the air — from the way he runs, you know those knees are frigging killing him. As a guy with a crap knee, I twinge HARD when I see him leap, even as I get really excited to see him give up his body for the team — and the fans! You know he probably wouldn’t be doing that if we all hadn’t been giving him shit in public/the media for years now.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Sori’s “bad attitude” is a sports talk radio fiction  File it with hobbits and unicorns…..

      • Kyle

        People get their non-white hated players all mixed up into one big lump of brown and bad.

        A guide, everyone. Memorize it:

        Aramis Ramirez: Bad defensively, known to loaf on the basepaths, great all-around hitter, fairly hard worker off-the-field.

        Alfonso Soriano: Okay defensively overall but prone to awful gaffes, overpaid, clear flaws in offensive approach but considered great teammate and plays hurt.

        Starlin Castro: Young, talented but impatient hitter, prone to mental lapses and mistakes.

        Carlos Zambrano: Terrible teammate, prone to emotional outbursts and didn’t always take conditioning as seriously as he should, but played very hard on-the-field and was productive when he wasn’t suspended.

        • ProfessorCub

          perfect

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, ESPN reported about a study a couple of years ago looking at the correlation between players ethnic backgrounds and how they were described in fan posts, blogs and sports-talk radio commentary.  Sadly, there was a huge correlation between the amount of melanin the player had and the tendency to describe a guy as lazy, unintelligent, etc.

          It is sad how far we have not come….

      • Leo L

        I also wonder soriano’s work ethic. his feilding is better this year but my impression is that it took new management to get him to work on his fielding. obvoiusly i dont see what he does every day but why didnt he work on his fielding before or it did it jsut click more so this year. I think it is the former. he finally started to work on it because he was told to.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      I don’t think you can say that just because Soriano’s knees have failed him and because he can’t hold up on a low and away slider doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a good work ethic and is a bad influence on younger players such as Castro. I can’t be sure of this, but in my opinion, I always felt like Castro would end up picking up more bad habits from Aramis than anyone else. Aramis played right next to him on the infield and his nonchalant demeanor was not what Castro needed to see on a daily basis.

      This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Soriano stepping up and talking to a fellow teammate about a mistake they had made. I believe during one of Zambrano’s blowups, possibly the one with him and Derrek Lee or the one where Zambrano walked out on the team, I remember hearing about how Soriano followed him down to the clubhouse and chewed his ass and told him it was unacceptable to conduct himself like that.

      Regardless of what Soriano can provide on the field at this point in his career, I think he at least deserves to be respected in our clubhouse as a hard worker and quality teammate. I’m not saying it makes up for him not living up to his contract, but on the other hand it’s no reason to shred the guy about every aspect of his game.

      • Cyranojoe

        Agreed. Aramis’s impact on Castro scared me much more than the possibility that Soriano’s occasional holding back will encourage Starlin to do the same.

    • Eric

      you literally know NOTHING about what goes on off the field and in the clubhouse. Every single person who is close enough to the players knows that Soriano has incredible work habbits and works really hard. He is a great role model, it’s just that he’s not a very good hitter any more. That has NOTHING to do with how much he cares, and how hard he works. Please actually fucking KNOW something before you irationally hate on someone who doesn’t fucking deserve it.

      • hardtop

        How is everyone so certain of this?  I dont recall any Erics on the Cubs lately, Are you Eric Karros?  Oh, wait you didnt play with Soriano.  How is you have enough first hand experience to lay into someone like this?

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “nonchalant” = “cool,” “composed” and/or  “professional” in many people’s books.  It is all in how you spin it.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      Exactly. I know Aramis “cared”. In the sense of wanting to hit a Grand Slam every time he came to the plate. But when I used to watch Aramis on the field, he always came across as nonchalant. In the sense that he never wanted to look like he was trying too hard. Like he never wanted to be embarrassed. You know that saying, “Never let em see you sweat”. That’s what he reminded me of. Because if you make a fool of yourself trying really hard at something and then you fail, it makes you look “less cool”. Whereas if you fail but it looked like you weren’t even trying in the first place then you can kinda have that attitude that portrays like, “I could have done it IF I really wanted too.” I’d rather a guy give it his 100% and look ridiculous trying to make a play or swing at a pitch, than have a guy give his 75% and look cool, calm, and collected.

      Shawn Camp is nonchalant (cool, composed, professional). Aramis was more like nonchalant (unconcerned, indifferent, or unexcited).

      • DocPeterWimsey

        These are purely your subjective views tainted by your emotions regarding players and cultural preconceptions about how people are “supposed” to act.  I reject them out of hand: people who think that they can read other people’s reactions are called “Happy Meals” at the poker table…..

        • Cyranojoe

          The game isn’t poker, though…

          • DocPeterWimsey

            In this aspect, all of life is poker.

  • MaxM1908

    To all my favorite baseball geniuses out there: I just had a guy in my fantasy league contact me about a trade. Would you give up Bautista, Pedroia, and AJ Pierzynski for Harper/Posey/Michael Young/Cespedes. This is a keeper league so obviously, the guys I’d get would have value beyond this year. I’m leaning toward pulling the trigger, but am I overvaluing the young talent and undervaluing my established producers?

    • djriz

      In a heartbeat!
      DO IT!
      NOW!

      AJ has to come down to earth at some point. Posey, Cespedes, and Harper will only get better, and Young will have the same stats for about 30 more years (so it seems), plus he plays in Texas.

      • MaxM1908

        Thanks. That was my thinking too. Just wanted to make sure I didn’t have the wool over my eyes about some obvious flaw.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    If this is a keeper league, then make that trade.  Posey will produce great numbers of a catcher (WAR is a very valuable concept in fantasy ball, too) and Harper is going to be awesome.  I would hate to let Peddy go, but if this is a league that has SS and MI (which lets you move a second SS to “second” just like a real team would), then you’ll have a better shot at making up his production.  (Young might qualify for MI now, but he won’t much longer.)

    • MaxM1908

      Thanks Doc. I hate losing Pedroia most among the three, but I think can make up his production. We have a 2B/SS slot and a 1B/3B slot. Hey, I can always slot Barney in there, right?

  • LWeb23

    I’m really glad somebody supports Soriano. I wish more people were drinking the same kool-aid that you and I are drinking, Brett.

    • Toby

      I’m with you LWeb23, I cheer harder for Soriano than anyone else on the team. I believe if his contract wasn’t as big then Sori wouldn’t be getting as much crap more or less the scapegoat in all the Cub shortcomings. Some fans forget how good Sori was before the leg problems and was a 40/40 player.

  • Jp

    Brett, sveum backing off his “last straw” comment I knew would be retracted IF there’s a chance they might be shopping him much to the same reason your paranoid soler thought crossed your mind. This regime doesnt trash assets when they are trying to build maximum value for them and you don’t get that by calling Castro an idiot and he’s about to get benched if he doesn’t keep his head in the game. it’s all about max value with Jestein and company.

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