I’m taking the Little Girl to her first dentist appointment this morning, so I’m going to be on daddy duty for a chunk of the day. Hopefully you won’t notice a difference in posting, and hopefully she doesn’t absolutely lose it.
- The Cubs are already getting interest from a handful of college football teams about the possibility of playing a game at Wrigley Field. Recall that, in 2010, Wrigley hosted a Northwestern/Illinois game that was marred by the fact that poor planning and close walls led to the offenses having to go only in one direction (every time the ball changed possession, the teams had to flip sides of the field – like you might see in a backyard game). Now, the Cubs have received approval from the Landmark Commission to make one of the walls near the Cubs’ dugout movable, which will allow for football games without issue. Teams want the opportunity to play in Chicago, on a national stage, and the Cubs want – in part – to demonstrate that Wrigley is a year-round attraction and facility (which could help in their continued quest for public funding on a massive renovation project). And I want to see some college football at Wrigley Field!
- Getting Blanked, a blog on The Score’s site (the Canadian one, not the Chicago one), took a comprehensive statistical look at the defensive performance of catchers throughout baseball, and ultimately ranked them. I can’t vouch for the numbers behind the numbers at this point, but I can say that the eyeball test at the top of the list looks legit (in other words, it seems like the right names are at the top, including (sigh) Yadier Molina in first place by a wide margin). The Cubs? They did not fare so well. Out of 116 ranked catchers, the Cubs’ top offering is … Koyie Hill at number 30. And then there’s Anthony Recker at 32. Maybe Recker is legitimately a great defensive catcher, but it’s an excruciatingly small sample size. I’d probably throw that one out. Then there’s Blake Lalli at 66 – he’s gone to the A’s now. Where are the guys who are or were the actual, like, starters for the Cubs? Welington Castillo shows up alllll the way down at 104. Geovany Soto is shortly thereafter at 106, and Steve Clevenger is at 109. Ouch. Most of Clevenger’s bad score comes from baserunner problems, whereas Castillo’s and Soto’s problems were mostly on the error side. That all said, the rankings should probably be taken with a grain of salt: while Chicago Soto was near the bottom of the list, Texas Soto ranked 25th. Obviously there’s quite a bit of flux in these numbers, not unlike many defensive stats/rankings.
- Each of the A’s and Giants won last night, moving their series to 2-1 against the Tigers and Reds, respectively. They play again today, as do the O’s/Yanks and Cards/Nats. Starting at 12pm CT today, if you want to watch baseball, it’s on. (The Cardinals and Nationals are at 1pm ET (MLBN), the Giants and Reds are at 4pm ET (TBS), the Orioles and Yankees are at 7:30pm ET (TBS), and the Tigers and A’s are at 9:30pm ET (TNT).)
- As noted, the Arizona Fall League kicked off yesterday, with some Cubs seeing action (more on that in a surprise EBS). Keith Law says that, of all the prospects in the prospect-heavy AFL, he’s most excited to see top Cubs prospect Javier Baez. From Law: “The ninth overall pick in the 2011 Rule 4 draft out of a Jacksonville, Fla., high school, Baez has huge raw power due to very quick wrists that allow him to drive the ball to all fields, but was widely seen as a candidate to move off shortstop in pro ball. Improved instruction and increased effort on his part now have that flipped around, with pro scouts who got their first looks at him this year giving him a good chance to stay at the position long-term.”
- If that’s true, Baez is now an uber prospect of the likes the Cubs haven’t seen since, well, maybe that brief half-year window when folks realized that Starlin Castro was ridiculously good? Since Mark Prior? A bat like Baez’s that can actually play capable big league shortstop is supremely valuable. And, I know where your head is going: what about Castro? It’s still too early to worry about that – Baez has another couple years of development before that bridge would have to be crossed – but there are many ways to incorporate both players (the better glove sticks at short, the slightly worse one hopefully becomes a very good defensive third baseman or second baseman). Worst case if they both develop? You’ve got at least one absurdly good trade chip.
- Positional reviews continue, with Doug Padilla looking at the bullpen, and Paul Sullivan looking at second base.
- The ivy is pretty in the Fall.
- The MLBullets at BCB note the tightening divisional series, and the insane traffic problems that DC might face with its first playoff game in 79 years.