I had one of those classic “rough nights” as the parent of an infant, which is both fine and to be expected (though I’m tired as all get out today). It did afford me the benefit of being online quite late last night, so I wrote about Albert Almora’s broken hamate bone, as well as threw up some video of Reggie Golden and Dan Vogelbach from BN’er Eric. In case you missed those two posts due to their lateness, now you can un-miss them. I’ll have more on Almora’s injury later this morning.
- Lefty Chris Rusin is a legit candidate to make the bullpen out of Spring Training, and he had a legit outing against a legit Dodgers lineup yesterday. When it comes to a guy like Rusin, who will always need to be a “control” guy that hits his spots to be successful, I love hearing that he knows who he is (per Carrie Muskat): “I didn’t know where it was going to go after [I walked leadoff man Mark Ellis on four pitches]. I settled down, started throwing strikes, and just worried about location instead of trying to throw it by hitters because I’m not that kind of guy.” Rusin’s raw stuff and velocity are not going to allow him to be a guy – as a starter, anyway – who strikes out a ton of hitters. That means, to be successful as a back-end starter, he’s going to have to precise in his location around the plate, while still not ever walking anyone. He’s had incredible control throughout his minor league career, so it’s possible.
- If you’re coming to the home opener on April 8, your starter will be Edwin Jackson, who follows Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.
- The Cubs are doing the split squad thing today, playing the White Sox in Glendale and playing the Japanese WBC team. Team Japan is very good, so you’ll have to gird yourself for a split-squad to get blasted.
- While I’m not looking to put anyone on blast just for the sake of doing it, I do feel compelled to correct something in the most recent Tribune piece about the construction of the bullpen, since it is a fact that is salient to the evaluation of lefty Hisanori Takahashi. In the piece, Dave van Dyke says of Takahashi, “While he has experience, he certainly doesn’t overwhelm batters with his power and he is no more effective against left-handed hitters than righties.” Given that I’ve frequently noted Takahashi’s attractiveness as a bullpen option because he can be used as a LOOGY in addition to being a long-reliever, I think it’s worth pointing out that righties have hit .252/.321/.418 off Takahashi in his three MLB seasons, while lefties have hit considerably worse: .238/.283/.381. His K/BB ratio against righties is 2.12, while it is a lofty 4.14 against lefties. He’s quite clearly been far more effective against lefties than righties. And that matters.
- The Kane County Cougars’ blog – something you’re going to want to follow this year – dropped an interview with Cubs Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod. He talks about the relationship with Kane County and the progress in the front office.
- The Cubs’ first base situation is the 5th best in baseball, according to FanGraphs. That’s pretty amazing, all things considered. Viva Rizzo. He’ll be back with the Cubs today (though maybe not into a game until tomorrow), and it sounds like Dale Sveum is glad Rizzo had the experience he did in the WBC. You can’t really duplicated outside of a playoff run.