Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

starlin-castro-batWell, that wasn’t a particularly competitive National Championship Game. Of course, that doesn’t mean the BCS “got it wrong” – without the BCS, Notre Dame may have played a lesser team in a bowl, finished undefeated, and been voted a unanimous national champion. That’s not me defending the BCS, mind you, and I look forward to the baby-steps version of a playoff in the coming years.

  • Yahoo’s Andy Behrens takes on a handful of pressing questions about the 2013 Chicago Cubs from the fantasy baseball perspective – but, buried within are interesting nuggets of more universal interest. For example, on the bounce-back possibilities of Starlin Castro: “Castro’s fantasy value dipped slightly last year, thanks to a 24-point drop in batting average (and a 29-point drop in BABIP), but he still finished at No. 85 in the overall ranks. Nobody lost their league because they spent an early pick on a 14-homer, 25-steal shortstop. Remember, Castro is actually seven months younger than Rizzo. There’s growth potential here. And even if Castro never makes the jump to the top tier at short, he’s already a respectable contributor across all five categories, relative to position averages.¬†I’d be surprised if Castro’s batting average doesn’t climb back to the .300-.310 neighborhood this season, with his power and speed numbers holding steady. His batted-ball rates didn’t really change substantially from 2011 to 2012, so there’s no obvious reason to fret about last year’s .283 AVG. The guy can hit. He’s never been an on-base machine (.336 career OBP), nor is he a defensive whiz, so it’s fair to think of him as a player who’s perhaps more valuable in fantasy than real-life.” The fantasy stuff doesn’t much matter to me, but I do know that fantasy pundits are going to dig deep into the peripherals of the peripherals of the peripherals before forming an official position on what a guy is going to do next year. So, if Andy says there aren’t any reasons to believe that Castro’s BABIP dip last year was much other than bad luck, then I’m excited to see just how much better he can hit in 2013.
  • Former Cubs closer Lee Smith is trying to keep cool about his 11th time waiting on Hall of Fame voting results.
  • Carrie Muskat on Sammy Sosa and the Hall of Fame.
  • Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs educates you about that one time that Michael Bourn hit a 456 foot homer. Seriously. That happened.
  • Although sickness claimed last week’s BN Podcast, never fear – we’re on schedule to record tonight for publication tomorrow. Catch up on old episodes if you’re just breaking into the podcast thing.

  • Speaking of podcasts, I don’t watch ‘The New Girl’ on FOX, so I can’t vouch for this Jake Johnson fella, but he appeared on Grantland’s Andy Greenwald’s Hollywood Prospectus podcast¬†yesterday, and, he goes into a long, insightful, and kind of foul description of what it’s like to be a Cubs fan. They start into it at about the 4 minute mark. It’s pretty great.

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