cubs bunt tournamentHow many extra innings is the equivalent of a 5OT basketball game like that Notre Dame – Louisville game yesterday? It’s gotta be over 20, right?

  • Spring Training is technically just a few hours old, and we’ve already got some magical news. In the second annual Spring Training Bunting Tournament, which will kick off after positional players report, manager Dale Sveum realized he had a problem with just 63 participants in the field. Who would fill that 64th spot? Well, he nailed the decision: it’s going to be someone from the front office. They’ll compete to be the 64th man, and Theo and Jed will face each other in the first round of that sub-competition. I can’t tell you how excited I am that they are embracing the divine ridiculousness of the bunt tournament – hopefully the media covers it as assiduously as they did last year. Still no TV coverage, though, I’d imagine. Last year’s winner – David DeJesus – went on to attempt three bunts in 2012, all sacrifices, and only two were successful. BUNT TOURNAMENT!*
  • In that same round-up piece from Carrie Muskat, we learn that Kyuji Fujikawa isn’t looking to steal the closer’s role from Carlos Marmol, but he does want to “get outs” and make the closer decision tough on the Cubs. We also learn that the Cubs will hold their organizational meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, so, among other things, we may start getting word on where various prospects will begin the season.
  • Cubs Scouting and Development Chief Jason McLeod was on MLBN Radio with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette (an appearance that was helpfully transcribed by the CCO), and shared some interesting thoughts: (1) the fact that Jorge Soler hit so well against live pitching last year after not having played regularly for almost a year is extremely impressive (I got the “don’t sleep on Jorge” feeling from the response); (2) Jason sees no reason why Javier Baez can’t play shortstop at the big league level, which surprised him, based on what he thought coming into last season; (3) it seems pretty clear that the Cubs view Junior Lake as a super utility player if he’s going to make the bigs at all – he’s going to play all over this year; (4) adding to that, though, Jason said Lake’s “primary” position would probably be third base … what happens to Josh Vitters?; and (5) the changes to Brett Jackson’s swing have been positive, but now the Cubs have to see how he can transition that into live batting practice and Spring Training games.
  • Patrick Mooney looks at the the five big picture questions facing the Cubs as they enter Spring Training, including a heavy focus on the health risks – mostly among the arms. He rightly points out, though, that if Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro should go down with a freak injury, well, the season could be toast before it begins (assuming it isn’t already).
  • Paul Sullivan ups the ante with six questions, one of which is the pervasive: seriously, who is getting dropped to make room on the 40-man for Scott Hairston already?
  • A reader sent to BCB a video of Dan Vogelbach taking batting practice out on Mesa, and those reports of him losing a significant amount of weight? Yeah, I’d say the proof is in the (lack of) pudding. Check out the video at the top of this post. The young man looks great.

*You might have trouble discerning whether I’m being sarcastic. I’m not. Sure, I think the tournament is absurd, but in a good way. It’s like those hamburgers where you use a Krispy Kreme donut as the bun. That’s ridiculous and silly and stupid. But it’s awesome.

  • HoustonTransplant

    Theo & Jed can only participate in the bunt tourney if they wear suits while doing it. Just gotta up the absurdity a lil’ bit.

    • Joker

      ^^^ This

      Preferably in wing tips and Ray Bans too. Eye black is optional.

    • Joker

      Or, even better, they need to be dressed liked Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker.

      • Brett

        I just clicked the like button.

    • Jimmy James

      Jed played in college correct? I would think he would have a leg up on theo…though I believe it was as a pitcher so maybe not

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, learning how to bunt with an aluminum bat is going to be of little help when bunting with a wooden bat. The ways that you want to bunt with an aluminum bat will result in an easy double play chance for the catcher with a wooden bat, whereas the ways that you want to bunt with a wooden bat produce a check swing double play ball with an aluminum bat.

        • Jimmy James

          True, it has been so long since I have even thought about an aluminum bat

    • justinjabs

      I can’t decide whether I prefer this suggestion or the Jeff Baker/Reed Johnson suggestion.

    • Cub Fan Dan

      They also have to have bluetooth earpieces in as well.

      • THEOlogical

        Also, they can not take bunting tips from A.J. Burnett…

  • Die hard

    Devotees of Billy Ball frown on the bunt- so this contest is akin to a dis- information campaign among baseball spies. Intrigue to start the spring season is a nice diversion. Now if Sveum will announce all 25 positions are open ( even if dis- information) it will take some of the dull out of spring training

  • cubchymyst

    Vogelbach looks good in that video, wonder how that will translate to the field. If he proves he isn’t a liability in the field and takes some pressure of his bat his prospect ratings could sky rocket.

  • brobots

    Brett, I had a dream that me, you, and Theo were friends. And it was awesome. We may have solved crimes too.

    • Internet Random

      If one ever has dreams in which he doesn’t solve crimes, he needs to keep sleeping till he does. This is just common sense. Of course, that’s not so common anymore.

  • justinjabs

    Theo and Jed in the bunt tourney is squeel-worthy. Keep obsessive updates coming!

  • Idaho Razorback

    My Hogs have won two 7 overtime football games. What’s the equivalent to how many extra innings that would be? 30+?

  • Spencer

    The bunt tournament is cool. Too bad the Cubs were terrible at bunting last year though.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, the only terrible bunt is one laid down by a position player before the 9th inning.

      • TC

        hahaha, completely agree, Doc

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        Seriously? If a starter can’t reach .700 OPS, then he better be able to wreak some havoc with the bunt, especially if he is overmatched by a particular pitcher.

  • Future Mr. Ashley Chavez

    Here we go, my 2013 roster prediction. As the roster stands now.
    1) DeJesus CF
    2) Barney 2B
    3) Castro SS
    4) Rizzo 1B
    5) Soriano
    6) Hairston/Schierholtz RF
    7) Stewart 3B
    8) Castillo C
    9) P
    1) Garza
    2) Samardzija
    3) Jackson
    4) Baker
    5) Wood/Feldman
    Bench: Navarro C, Valbuena INF, Sappelt OF, Hairston/Schierholtz OF, Gonzalez/Lillibridge INF
    Bullpen: Villanueva, Wade, Camp,Takahashi, Russell, Fujikawa, Marmol

    There are a lot of wild cards in this Cubs offense. Castro’s continuing his development, how can Rizzo produce in a full season, how the platoon will work out in right field, the two that I think that are the most important are to see how Stewart can play fully healthy, and how Castillo can handle the full-time catching job. I was kind of disappointed they didn’t get anyone who can spell Rizzo here and there, but I think if everything clicks, this probably can be a decent offense and probably can flirt a little with the final wild card spot of the pitching and defense are strong and the offense is just mediocre.

    • nkniacc13

      If your right thats 3 more 40 man spots the cubs have to open correct?

    • fromthemitten

      Reasonable lineup but I’d bat Barney 7th, bumping everyone up a spot.

      • Kygavin

        Agreed with Barney hitting 7th, also hope its Lillibridge on the bench. Career 430 SLUG vs LHP and can play everywhere

    • Spencer

      Speaking of, Brett, are you doing the lineup competition thing again this season? It’s pretty hard though.

      • Brett

        Hmm. I’ll have to get on that, if I am.

    • HCS

      I may be wrong (It happens a lot) but isn’t one of the Japanese relievers expected to be recovering from injury this year? I could just go back and search, but that seems like too much work for a Sunday.

      • Njriv

        I’m pretty sure that was the Korean pitcher they signed, Chang-Yong Lim.

    • Mirky Waters

      Dale had Rizzo in the three spot all last year, I don’t see any reason he would change that now. My guess would be Castro in the five hole again for much of the season.

      • Kygavin

        MIne would be:
        Dejesus CF
        Castro SS
        Rizzo 1B
        Soriano LF
        Hairston/Schierholtz RF
        Stewart 3B
        Barney 2B
        Castillo C

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The statheads in the FO might convince Sveum that you actually maximize run production by flip-flopping the traditional ideas of #2 and #3 hitters. That would get him to put Rizzo #2. Castro would slot better in #3.

        The sad truth is that this lineup has a real chance of being an OBP nightmare after DeJesus, Rizzo and Castro, so bunching those guys together would do even more to improve possible run production than typical for an MLB lineup.

        • Kygavin

          Going by OBP I could see that but Castro’s BABIP was 30 points lower than what it was in his first 2 years (not saying he is going to be a 345 BABIP guy his whole career but you would think there would be a bit of an uptick). If he adds even 20 points to his BABIP they have basically the same OBP. I do get what youre saying though since it would get Rizzo a few more AB’s

  • Kevin

    Did Theo or Jed conduct a bunt tournament before coming to the Cubs?

    • Njriv

      I’m pretty sure that was the Korean pitcher they signed, Chang-Yong Lim.

      • Njriv

        Sorry, posted this response in the wrong spot.

    • Brett

      No. Pretty sure it was Dale’s idea from the get-go.

  • HateDemp

    I have a novel idea for the Bunt Tournament – have Matt Garza field each bunt and throw to a base

    • Kygavin

      Might be a liability for the team. Could lead to many an injury for spectators/teammates

  • Blublud

    Considering that the Cubs have not made a move yet, and that I believe Campana is already in camp, I’m almost certain Campana will not be DFA’d for Hairston. It seems the FO places more value in Campana then we thought they did.The funny thing is even I was certain that it would be Campana is we signed 2 OFers, though I never though one of those OFers would be Schierholtz.

    So now the question is who is DFA’d. Is it Sappelt. Dont know if he’s in camp yet. I think Campana is better but I doubt he’s DFA’d. Theo just traded for him, can’t imagine he would drop him so soon with his cheap price and years of control. Plus we need his right handed bat. IDK. All I can come up with Dolis. We actually have a surplus of relief pitchers and actually starter types too in the majors and at AAA. I said surplus, I didn’t say they were all good. I believe it will be pitcher removed from the 40 man for Hairston.

    • Kygavin

      Id say its Dolis or a Marmol trade with Dolis being more likely

    • Jim L

      CSN already reporting Campana is being DFA’d.

      • Kygavin

        Saw that too. Good thing i went out on a limb there and was right like always…….

    • Hansman1982

      Frankly, if the FO DFA’s Sappelt over campana I will be disappointed.

      Sappelt has a similar wOBAs to campana but has incredible value agains lefties (.347 last year) and is a solid defender at the corners.

      I imagine we will find out in the next week.

      • MoneyBoy

        Agreed !

  • Westbound Willie

    That is sound reasoning and likely to be the case.

  • ncsujuri

    Ok, hopefully I didn’t miss it but I didn’t see it anywhere else in the comments. Brett, as a lover of the saber I am astounded that you would so lazily assume that 5 OTs would = over 20 innings, for shame! (Let’s hope I got my math right)

    In each of the 5 OTs there are 5 minutes which is equal to 25 total extra minutes of game play, or .625 of a full game (25/40), therefore if you multiply a 9 inning game by 1.625 you’d get 14.625 so a 5 OT game is equal to a Cubs walk off win in the bottom of the 15th. To go over 20 innings (2.2 games) the Louisville v. ND game would have had to go 9.78 OTs.