Chris Rusin Knows Who He Is and Other Bullets

chris rusin cubsI 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.

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

40 responses to “Chris Rusin Knows Who He Is and Other Bullets”

  1. Stevie B

    As a life long fan, it seems as if we have always had a “face” of the club…

    Who is it now?? Who will it be?

    I started with Ryno, then went to Grace, then Sosa, then onto Woody ….now???

    1. Jared

      I think right now it’s actually Theo. Soon enough it will be one or more of Rizzo, Castro, Soler, Baez, etc. With them being the face, I think Shark would definitely be the hair of the Cubs.

      1. Seth

        Yeah IMO, it’s definitely Theo. Like Jared said, that might change eventually but right now it’s most definitely Theo.

      2. justinjabs

        I think it’s Rizzo. I would agree with the Theo assessment, but if there’s one player that pretty much symbolizes the new regime (Theo, Jed, etc), it’s Rizzo. That story from BOS to SD to CHC is too good. I feel like the Face needs to be a player … and Rizzo is representative of the face we are all thinking.

        Castro would be a solid pick, too.

        1. DarthHater

          New face of the Cubs:


  2. ETS

    He was who we thought is was! If you wanna crown him, go ahead and crown him, but we had him where we wanted him and we lettem off the hook!

    1. ETS

      Sorry, the headline just made me think of that for some reason.

  3. Seth

    Very cool to see that Rizzo(and company) have the 5th best first base situation in baseball, according to FanGraphs. Being behind only, Votto, Pujols, Fielder and Adrian is saying something. Very excited to see what Rizzo does with a full season.

    1. Seth

      I also find it funny that his backups project to have a negative WAR. If Rizzo goes down at all this year, it could get disastrous.

  4. ETS

    So when is McLeod coming on the BN podcast?

  5. Nate

    Peralta just got returned to the Cubs…hooray!

    1. cubchymyst


    2. cjdubbya

      Not trying to doubt you at all, but do you have a source for this, by chance? (this is good news, and I’m happy to hear it)

      1. Nate

        I saw it on, one of my frequent sites to get me through the work day

    3. Luke

      I’ll have to figure out where he slots into the Top 40, if he does. I suspect he’ll be in there somewhere.

      1. Blublud

        Luke, couple of questions. 1) Where does he get assigned to? 2) Does this mean that he become rule 5 eligible again next year? 3) And if it does, do you think he becomes protect by the Cubs next time around?.

        1. Cedlandrum

          Not Luke but he will probably go to Daytona.

    4. MightyBear

      That’s great news.

  6. Nate

    I saw it on, one of my frequent sites to get me through the work day.

  7. forlines

    Viva Rizzo indeed. Might have to pick up my first Cubbies Jersey soon. Also, Rusin surprised me yesterday against a good Dogder squad. Nice control for sure.

  8. royb

    I am heading to Las Vegas to see the Cubs split squad play Texas Saturday and Sunday. Do we know if it be the same split team as today in Glendale? Also if any other Cub fans are going to either or both games there, let me know. Lets connect and talk Cubs over a few beers…even green ones.

    1. Chad

      I usually go to the Vegas weekend every year (I live just a couple hours away). I’m debating this year. If I had an idea of which prospects would be there, it would help make my decision. The price of the tickets chaps my ass also.

      1. royb

        Yes, a lot more expensive than AZ Spring Training tickets.
        Maybe we’ll know more about who is traveling for these games in a few hours.

  9. MightyBear

    I disagree with the whole Fangraphs ranking. Ryan Howard and the Phillies are 24th in baseball? Don’t be surprised if Howard stays healthy that they don’t end up #1 this year. Even the Sox with Konerko and Dunn at 13 is ridiculous and everyone knows how we feel about the Sox. First is tricky and projections are always hard because you never know who is going to get hurt, etc. but I think this one is a little askew.

    1. bbmoney

      Ryan Howard is…….not very good. He hits for good power. But he makes very little contact, can’t run, and may be the worst defensive 1b in the league.

  10. Kev

    Is he wearing one of them glow necklaces around his neck?

  11. db kyle

    Fangraphs also has us 24th at C, 19th at 2b, and 29th at 3b.

    1. cubchymyst

      At 3B, only the Cubs and Rockies had no one that was projected to be at least 1 win player at the position.

  12. tim815

    Only the Rockies (with DJLM) are worse.

    I think Villanueva or Baez might eclipse the 1 WAR mark.

    1. Luke

      In 2013?

  13. tim815

    aaah, it’s just for 2013. Yeah, we’re screwed there for 2013.

  14. Chad78

    I have to go with darth hater on the podcast guest, or maybe him and db Kyle. I would love to hear a debate between the two.

    1. DarthHater


  15. Chad78

    I have thought more about the podcast, darth hater and db Kyle debating with radioheads lucky playing in the background.