Well, it’s here: the day the Hall of Fame voting results are released. For you, that means one of two things: either (1) it’s the day you finally get to find out about something you’re deeply interested in, or (2) it’s the day you can finally stop hearing about Hall of Fame voting every single day. Sounds like a win-win. The results will be revealed at 1pm CT today on MLB Network and MLB.com.
- Brett Jackson, barring a cataclysmic rash of injuries (or trades, or a combination of the two), will begin the 2013 season at AAA Iowa. The hope is that his experience in the bigs last year, coupled with contact issues at AAA last year, will have demonstrated just what he needed to work on this offseason, and his reworked swing will help him improve next year. And the improvement is needed: according to a Baseball America piece, Jackson’s 59 Ks in 120 big league at bats last year was the second worst strikeout rate by a position player with 100 at bats in a season … in all of baseball history. Even if Jackson drops that rate by 10%, which would bring him into the 40% range, he’ll have a tough time being a big league regular, if history is any guide. It has tended to be the case that only huge walk, huge homer guys have had success with that level of strikeouts (while strikeouts, themselves, are just another out, too little contact drives down batting average, which drags down OBP and SLG). Jackson will always take a ton of walks, but he’s not going to have huge power. For him to take advantage of all of his physical gifts, and to have consistent big league success, he’s simply going to have to put the ball in play more often. I can’t wait to see how he looks in Spring Training and in the early season at AAA. (That BA piece is pretty interesting, and if you want to see all of the other 40ish% strikeout guys, it’s worth checking out.)
- The Cubs Convention starts next Friday, and, although we don’t yet have the full schedule of events, WGN Radio will be broadcasting a variety of the panels/discussions/etc., so you can get a sense for a number of the events here on their schedule. I’ll be talking more about the Convention this and next week, and I hope a number of you will be in attendance. (And, so you can starting planning: it looks like we’ll have a get-together Friday night at Timothy O’Tooles, a bar a couple blocks from the Convention hotel; and then another on Saturday evening at the bar in the Convention hotel (the Sheraton).)
- New Cubs color man Jim Deshaies was interviewed by Vine Line for their January edition, and they posted a snippet online. A notable quote, when asked about covering The Kerry Wood Game: “Kerry’s [20-strikeout] game was my second year in the booth. I remember it was grey and misty here. It had kind of a surreal feel. It was the most dominant performance, maybe ever—a one-hitter that could have been a no-hitter. That slider was breaking about three feet at about 90 miles per hour. It was so much fun to talk to the Astros hitters after that game.”
- A Cubs prospect got FanGraphs’ nod as the best prospect performer in the Dominican Winter League … and it isn’t Junior Lake. It’s actually 25-year-old outfielder Nelson Perez, who hit .250/.443/.417, and walked (29) more than he struck out (28). Given that he’s struck out four times as often as he’s walked in his minor league career (2.5 to 1 in 2012, though), I’m thinking we’ve got a bit of a small sample size issue here. Perez split his time between High-A and AA last year, raking in the former, but flopping in the latter. He’s always had intriguing power, but my sense has been that he’s a borderline non-prospect. But, hey, who knows: maybe he developed an insane discipline skill over the past year, and will surprise us in 2013.
- More anecdotal evidence that Sammy Sosa’s HOF vote total today is going to be incredibly low.
- The Dodgers’ new owners don’t just spend from a bottomless pocket of money to bring in free agents, they do it to upgrade Dodger Stadium, too – about $100 million worth of improvements that should be in place by the end of Spring Training.
- A new podcast is on the way later this morning, so go ahead and purchase your listening supplies – beer, Funyuns, Bubble Tape, folding chair – now, so that you’re ready to go when it drops.