AFL Struggles for the Cubs and Other Bullets

Theo Epstein shared a number of thoughts yesterday, which we’ll get to a little later this morning. Until then, Bullets …

  • What started out so well for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League has fallen off of late, at least statistically (and all appropriate sample size caveats apply). Matt Szczur’s line has fallen to .275/.383/.300 … which is the best Cub showing on the team. Javier Baez is now at just .213/.245/.447, and Rubi Silva is at .207/.233/.276. Oof. It isn’t much better on the pitching side, with Dae-Eun Rhee sporting a 6.52 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 9.2 innings and Nick Struck at 7.20 and 2.00 in his 5.0 innings. Only the Cubs’ two relievers in the AFL – Tony Zych and Kevin Rhoderick – are currently having success. Each has an ERA under 1.60, and good K/BB numbers. Rhoderick, in particular, has been dominant, striking out 9 and walking just 1 in his 5.2 innings of work.
  • Doug Padilla looks at the managerial and coaching situation in 2012, and it sounds like it was mostly a positive, despite the terrible record.
  • A little more on those organizational moves yesterday (the addition/promotion of a number of scouts, for example). And a little more on new 3B coach David Bell.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at deposed managers Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine.
  • From those MLBullets, something worth pointing out: Baseball Prospectus offers a brilliant guest piece from Jorge Arangure on the old saw, “You don’t walk off the island.” He digs into what exactly that means for Dominican youths, and what is being done about the problem of plate discipline. A particularly telling segment: “[O]ut of the top 10 leaders in walks last year in each of the 10 full-season minor leagues, only four of the possible 100 players were Dominican. Since 2009, only one undrafted, non-U.S.-educated, Dominican-born player ranked in the top 30 in baseball in walk rate: Cleveland’s Carlos Santana.” It’s really an interesting and informative read.
  • Someone is even more relieved by the Cardinals’ NLCS Game Seven loss than I am.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

21 responses to “AFL Struggles for the Cubs and Other Bullets”

  1. hansman1982

    Hopefully they can convince Baez this is the same struggles he will face in AA, get him to make some adjustments and he tears up A+ and AA next year.

  2. Beer Baron

    On the bright side, if Nick Struck had torn it up in the fall league he very well may have been taken in the Rule 5 draft or forced onto the 40 man roster. Now, since he isn’t really a high ceiling guy who doesn’t appear to be ready for the majors, he should be ok. Makin’ lemonade….

  3. Spriggs

    No one was more relieved about the cardinal loss than I was, but that was a very nice article. It’s like he read my mind for some of the paragraphs.

  4. DocPeterWimsey

    Hmmm, that article places a lot of emphasis on Marmol’s disastrous game last September. However, the Cards still would (almost certainly) have made post-season if they had lost that game: they still would have wound up tied with a Braves team that was (at that point) just awful.

  5. DocPeterWimsey

    It’s not that Dominicans are less culturally inclined to be patient—a notion so stereotypically ignorant that it’s hardly worth mentioning—it’s that they simply haven’t had the experiences that would teach them to play that way.

    I would argue that this might be both correct and incorrect. I agree that Dominican culture is irrelevant here. However, it really sounds like the culture among the trainers, coaches, etc., is to blame. If they actually select against kids with good batting eyes, then they are heavily biasing the pool in favor of guys with great contact skills only. After all, that great batting eye, average contact skills guy (who will generate an above average OBP, especially if he has power) looks bad against a poor batting eye, great contact skills guy if you hold taking pitches against the first player.

    1. The Dude Abides

      As they say “You don’t walk off the island, you have to hit your way off” that may explain the mentality as much as anything. Hard to argue with if your looking to be noticed as a young player.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        It’s not even “look at me!”by the kids: it’s at what the coaches, etc. are seeing. In a sense, all of the kids wearing brightly colored shirts are saying “look at me!”, but the trainers, coaches etc. are colorblind and dissing the kids in the bright red shirts for wearing drab outfits.

        In turn, this is why I think that more games would be important. It’s not the experience of seeing pitches: it’s that then the coaches, trainers, etc., would see the guys drawing walks getting on base & scoring, or keeping the inning going at least. They’d also see that some of their pitchers with great “stuff” actually are walking a ton of guys and that some of their other pitchers are not.

    2. hansman1982

      Its also possible that they never teach what a batting eye is.

    3. cubchymyst

      The article states that trainers and coaches expect players to swing and not look at pitches. So they are not teach batting eyes to these players. As Doc said they are selecting the ones with the best contact skills with out paying attention to batting eye. It is definitely a good read and gives some perspective on growing up playing baseball in the US versus Dominican Republic.

    4. MightyBear

      I agree

  6. rick

    well another 100 losses is staring us in the face for next season just hope its not 3 years worth tickets are much cheaper though on game day if u like haggling with the scalpers which i think is part of the fun in going to a game

  7. Kevin

    It’s taken Theo one full year to set up the framework, making FO changes all the way down to scouting. Hopefully this gives him a strong foundation to start building a solid contender. IMO, any further structural changes within the organization will simply be a continuation stall tactic to buy more time to be competitive. And, btw…….. comments suggesting otherwise will simply be ignored. Some people on this site feel its necessary to debate everyone’s opinion.

    1. Drew7

      “Some people on this site feel its necessary to debate everyone’s opinion.”

      Um…you know you’re on a *blog*, right?

    2. TWC

      IMO, any further structural changes within the organization will simply be a continuation stall tactic to buy more time to be competitive. And, btw…….. comments suggesting otherwise will simply be ignored.

      Oh, noes! Kevin’s got his hands clamped over his ears and is shouting na-na-na-na-nah-na at us! Validate us, Kevin!!! Pleeeeeeeease?

    3. DarthHater

      And, btw…….. comments suggesting otherwise will simply be ignored. Some people on this site feel its necessary to debate everyone’s opinion.

      That means that if someone were to suggest that your statement smacks of arrogant douchebaggery, you will just ignore them, right? Not that I know anyone who would say such a thing…

    4. stillmisskennyhubbs

      “Some people on this site feel its necessary to debate everyone’s opinion.”

      Now there I must disagree with you…..

      Some people on this site feel it’s necessary to debate asinine opinions only.

      1. DarthHater

        True. But unfortunately, this does not do Kevin much good.

  8. TonyP

    “And so it was on. Those bastards made my 89-year-old great-grandma cry. They would always inhabit a dark place in my heart. I just had no idea of knowing how dark it would get.” Best quote of the day.

  9. Kevin

    You people just proved my point to perfection, well done!

    1. stillmisskennyhubbs

      I thought you said you’d ignore us. Can’t you keep a simple promise?

    2. DarthHater

      Right. You were gonna ignore everyone. Help me out here… Who is proving what to perfection, exactly?