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  • So, why did the Cubs designate Michael Bowden for assignment on Tuesday if they knew Shawn Camp had a toe injury on Sunday (the Cubs put Camp on the disabled list yesterday, a day after he blew Tuesday’s game)? Because the Cubs didn’t know Camp had a toe injury. Er, what? Actually, the Cubs didn’t know the extent of Camp’s toe injury until Wednesday, when Camp explained the severity. Apparently he’d been dealing with the injury for a month, and only just started getting treatment on Sunday. The Cubs felt he could pitch through it. I can understand all of that, and it certainly explains why things played out as they did, even if it doesn’t justify anything. Given Camp’s performance – including decreased velocity – it still seems like it would have been perfectly reasonable and laudable to DL Camp on Tuesday rather than DFA’ing Bowden. Dale Sveum even admitted that, had they known about the severity of Camp’s injury on Tuesday, they would have DL’d him and kept Bowden. In other words, Camp may have cost Bowden his job (not that virtually every other athlete wouldn’t have tried to play through the same injury).
  • Let’s keep in mind, too: if the Cubs absolutely loved Bowden, they would have figured out another route on Tuesday. So, even if Camp played a role, we can’t ignore that the Cubs chose to risk losing Bowden. That’s telling.
  • Jesse Rogers notes that the Cubs are just 4-10 when facing left-handed starters this year, which, well, shouldn’t surprise you too much when you think about how the right-handed sides of the platoons have been faring.
  • Reliever Chang-Yong Lim, 36, whom the Cubs signed this offseason and who is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery, could be ready to join the Cubs as soon as mid-July (just one year after his surgery), according to his agent. The Cubs have control over Lim through 2014, so whatever he shows this year is really more of an audition than anything else.
  • Patrick Mooney ponders how long the Cubs will have Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza as a 1-2 at the top of the rotation.
  • Cubs pitchers, collectively, are tied for the team lead in RBI this month.
  • Dave Cameron writes about the Mariners’ needs for changes, which, at first blush has no relevance to the Cubs. But, reading the piece, I think you’ll see the applicability and the interesting lessons therein. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that, right now, the rebuilding plan remains the best approach for the Cubs, given the state of the organization. (h/t to Danny)
  • @cubsfantroy

    Camp was sleeping with Bowden’s wife, thus waited til he was cut to say anything. It was all part of his master plan to screw over a young player. – As the Cubs turn.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Seattle (and KC for that matter) is a good example of what could go wrong with prospects, no matter how highly rated they are.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed. It makes you hope that there is a developmental/selection problem for those organizations, and not just bad luck. Because at least then, if the Cubs have good people in place, maybe there will be a difference here.

    • João Lucas

      So THE Dave Cameron from Fangraphs also writes for a Mariners blog? Or is this another Dave Cameron?

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        The same…that site was pre-Fangraphs.

  • Jp3

    On the platooning issue, when is the SSS a non factor with Hairston? I’m tired of the “well he’s been better than average against lefties over his career” argument, mainly because at some point sluggers can fall off rather dramatically (pooholes). Dude is hitting about .100 and that’s against mostly lefties, he’s just not seeing the ball well with all the Ks he’s racking up. Also I love that we have the best hitting pitchers on the second Tuesday of every other month that starts with a J, a point that is hopefully moot in a few years when the NL adopts the DH😃

    • Kyle

      Hairston is striking out 15.3% of the time, below league average and well below his career average.

      Hairston is hittting fine. His only problem is bad luck and the .067 BABIP that goes with it.

      • Jp3

        Somehow it seems like more, maybe it’s just whenever I get to see him on WGN he seems to K more and I could have a skewed perspective. You’re right on that and I stand corrected on the K issue but you can’t be serious that he’s hitting fine. You can break down obscure stats all you want but the fact is every 10 times he comes up he gets a base hit or better once…and gets on base barely better seeing he has 1BB to go with his 9Ks at a .136 clip. Something isn’t right with him

      • Rich H

        You beat me to mentioning those same stats Kyle. Good Job. Now the question with this is the BABIP problem bad luck or is Hairston’s regressing in his speed to the point that he is not longer going to be able to maintain his career average.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          He could be slow as Dioner Navarro and you wouldn’t expect the BABIP to slip under .200.

        • Kyle

          It’s bad luck. Even the slowest guy in the league should have a BABIP 3.5 times what Hairston’s is.

          • hansman1982

            That guy has a .364 BABIP this year. (50 internet points if you can get the name)

            • SirCub

              I’ll guess a Molina. There’s a bunch of them, and they’re all pretty slow.

              • hansman1982

                Yup, Yadier who clocks in at a blazing 19 minutes to first base.

                • SirCub

                  Somehow that guy steals bases. Maybe the opposing catchers get nervous that he’s going to be too judgmental of their throws, and get performance anxiety?

                  • hansman1982

                    Ya, I’ve seen him stand at 2nd waggin his finger at the catcher for poor throws…

                    I think most of it is pitchers ignore him and he isn’t afraid to get monster jumps.

                    • SirCub

                      Yea, he’s probably just one of those “intelligent baserunners.”

                      Man, I hate the Cardinals.

          • Rich H

            The reason why I mention that it could be speed related is because if it is then we can expect an adjustment period before he get even close to his career average which is .273 to begin with. When you use to be able to move at x speed and you try to do things with expectation when you regress in speed there is going to be a period of time to have realization that you can not do things the same way and make the needed adjustments.

            In 2010 his BABIP was only .235 so if he needs to make an adjustment that is where we may see the high water mark at.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Right, but BABiP is only poorly correlated with speed in the first place: metrics like stolen bases or estimate base-running runs created explain less than 5% of the variation in BABiP among baseball players last year. Both SB and BsR are heavily correlated with speed, so they should correlate strongly with any other variable correlated with speed.

              The closest correlate is with line drive rates, and that explains less than a quarter of the variation in BABiP among players. Moreover, the variance in LD rates just from chance factors is nearly 5% each year (over 2.25% on either side of career expectations), so you really are dealing with compound variation from :
              P[BABiP | LD frequency] x P[LD frequency | LD rate].

              • Rich H

                And my statistics class from college goes screaming through my brain. LOL. Doc thank you for making my day turn into variables of consistent approach to breakfast.

                Definitely an illuminating look at the variables available in any stats.

          • Jp3

            So how about the 1.7 BB rate? Can we please stop with the Hairston excuses? I’ll eat crow when he pulls out of a slump and hits well for a bit. I have no doubt he’ll hit a little better as the season progresses because mainly it’s hard to do worse than he is right now.

            • hansman1982

              Part of that is an artifact of the sample size. Right now, if he were to just have 3 more walks (which is a couple blown calls by an ump), he’d be sitting at 6.7%.

              To put it another way, even the WORST players dont have a sub-.1 BABIP and a BB% that is 5 percentage points off their career norms.

            • Kyle

              What you call excuses, I call a superior understanding of statistics.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Put another way: I think that Hairston has all of 15 starts right now. So, how many regulars were putting up horrifically bad numbers through mid-April? How many regulars were putting up mind-boggling great numbers through mid-April? How many of either can you remember now after another month of regression to the mean?

                Answers: a) lots; b) lots; c) few, if any.

      • randy jones

        Kyle,Hairston has been a piece of crap. Bad luck good luck, doesnt matter, piece of crap..

        • terencemann

          Hairston has 59 plate appearances. A regular starter gets twice hat number of appearances per month. Hairston has less than 1 month’s worth of numbers to work off of.

          • Jp3

            1bb and 9ks. 59 PA. Haven’t looked at how many hits but it must be around 6… That’s terrible. Guarantee that if his agent on his next contract brings up his “bad luck” BABIP stat or some other obscure stat he gets laughed out of the room… There are a lot of guys that make a lot of contact and have low BABIP because they don’t drive the ball well, the make contact but not overly hard contact. He could be falling off, it happened to pooholes so it’s not out of
            The realm of possibilities that the mighty Scott hairston’s career could be wrapping up.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              So, put the binomial error bars on those numbers. Notice anything about them?

              And the last GM who would have laughed at the BABiP issue got fired in the summer of 2011.

              • Jp3

                Oh the last one that took us to the playoffs?

                • hansman1982

                  You’re going to defend Hendry?

              • AB

                don’t confuse him with fancy, complex words like “binomial”

                • Jp3

                  I won’t defend Jim H I’m just saying that WE were all happy about going to the playoffs when he was here so let’s not beat the man and his methods too harshly. Back to the point, Hairston has been terrible. It’s been fun with the debate this morning but unfortunately my looks won’t pay my bills😄

            • hansman1982

              “Guarantee that if his agent on his next contract brings up his “bad luck” BABIP stat or some other obscure stat he gets laughed out of the room…”

              I am sure there are some GM’s out there that would. I’d be willing to bet they also get a lot of scrappy guys on their team and flop on their face.

              ” There are a lot of guys that make a lot of contact and have low BABIP because they don’t drive the ball well, the make contact but not overly hard contact.”

              There is a difference between a BABIP that is low and a BABIP that is unsustainable. For his career he is a lower BABIP guy but not this low.

              Now, if he is a weak hitter that should show up in LD/GB/FB percentages. For his career his LD% is a tick below average, his GB is WELL below average and his FB is WELL above average.

              For this season he has more FB than last year along with fewer GB he also has fewer LD; however, since his FB% is up and not his GB% it just means they are still getting hit hard.

              Now, does this profile scream weak hitter?

              • Jp3

                Oh hansman you’ve almost convinced me but this series of unfortunate events he’s stumbled upon for whatever reason this year is not helping the cubs win any games. This is the only thing I care about his struggles.

                • hansman1982

                  You are 100% correct. Regardless of the reason, he isn’t getting it done; however, based on what sabermetrics tells us, we shouldn’t expect this level of suck to continue.

      • cubmig

        sorry Kyle……but if the guy (any guy) isn’t performing, why do the numbers matter? In Hairston’s case, he is not an added value just because his K rate is low. The risks of his contributing when it counts (platooning) remains a nail-biting hope. Numbers explain the aggregate of performance, shed light on tendencies, but in the moment—– they mean nothing. At least what I see tells me that.

  • TampaCubsFan

    As the Cubs Turn….Now that gave me a good laugh this morning!!

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Doesn’t matter what Hairston has been, only matters on what he’ll be.
    And he’ll be fine.

  • Bilbo161

    I don’t know if I have faith in batting average on balls in play. Seems like a useful rationalization tool sometimes. If you are really bad like the last three hitters last night you put weak little floaters and pop ups that are in play. That was not bad luck. It was being over matched and poor contact skills. That is not bad luck. I was watching! Statistics are very useful, but that vas bad hitting!

    • Jp3

      That’s what I’m talking about!

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      That was 3 hitters.
      BABIP over a full season/career is kind of different.

    • Kyle

      Ignoring BABIP is a useful rationalization tool. The players who inspire bad emotions in us are very hard to evaluate objectively. Notice how jp was convinced that Hairston has been a strikeout machine when that wasn’t the case?

      No hitter is capable of consistently making weak contact. If you are good enough to put bat on ball solidly enough to put it in play, you will hit some line drives. Hairston’s line drive percentage this season is 14.6%, not significantly different from his career of 16.5%.

      • Bilbo161

        No hitter is capable of consistently making weak contact? OMG has this gone to your head? You are so stubborn in your stances. You may have to use both fists to spell rationalization.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Kyle phrased that awkwardly. A better way to write it is that non-pitchers who consistently make weak contact don’t get out of the minors.

          • Kyle

            If you can’t make better than weak contact, then you’ll be missing the ball way more than the average player and won’t make much contact at all.

            Imagine a continuum from “wild swing and a miss” to “perfect line drive.” On that line, “weak contact” is actually much closer to the good side of that line than the bad.

            If you’re a bad hitter, you’ll miss a lot. If you’re a good hitter, you’ll hit a lot of line drives. But it’d be a very odd hitter who is good enough to not miss but bad enough not to hit a decent amount of line drives.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, at this point in the season, even the regulars are not deviating from their career numbers, never mind the righty platooners. For example, people are worried that Castro’s LD% is at 16.5%, down from 20.1%. However, the error bars on Castro’s LD *rate* still go 1% higher than his career average: after all, Starlin has only 6 fewer line drives than we expect. The error bars on Hairston are going to be so big as to be totally meaningless. (Give him another liner and he probably would be above his career mean!)

  • Tim

    David dejesus is quietly having a fantastic year. .297/.366/.507. His BABIP is right around his career mark at .321. Walking 9.2% striking out 13.7%. Yes it almost certainly has to do with this platooning because he’s at .319 vs righties and only .158 against lefties. But oh my how much would a playoff team love to have him on their roster? He probably won’t bring much by himself but he would be a fantastic piece to bundle with a pitcher. Perhaps the cubs send Scott Feldman back to Texas with dejesus?

    • Rich H

      Now again we are getting into sample size but I totally agree Dejesus is having a good start to what could be a memorable season for him. Before the season he was rated as one of the top OF’ers available in the trade market by Buster Onley and his season so far has only increased his value. If you don’t think that Dejesus will bring back a top flight return we can always keep him and exercise his very affordable option. I for one would not have a problem with keeping him around for the kids to see how a Pro goes about his business. Especially if we find a buyer for Soriano.

  • willis

    13 IP, 1 ER the last two nights from the starters. 0-2 is the team’s record. That’s almost hilarious.

  • Bilbo161

    I don’t know about anyone else but for a team with supposedly no pitching depth organizationally, the cubs seem to be able to find starters somewhere. I’m starting to agree with Mr. Logic regarding the Cubs first pick. The cubs real problem is lack of hitting. Bryant is looking pretty sweet to me right now.

    • hansman1982

      Well, the only starters we have that we can attribute to our farm system were acquired quite some time ago and it appears we won’t have any come up in a year or two from our current farm system.

    • Rich H

      I for one would be in agreement with Team Theo’s approach to the draft so far. Go position player first then go for waves of pitching. That being said there is no sure things in this draft. There are some scouts that say it is the weakest top of the draft in years. So lets just take the player that you think grades out the best with the highest ceiling and floor and not get stuck in the sexiness of this or that being graded at an 80 because when you get down to it they are just projections and mistakes get made all the time.

      • ssckelley

        I am hearing the exact opposite, that this draft is extremely top heavy and the talent drops significantly after the top 3 (Appel, Bryant, and Gray). If the Astros do what everyone thinks they will (reach for a player to save money) the Cubs may have an extremely difficult decision.

        • hansman1982

          Well, both of your statements can be correct. It might be an extremely top heavy, but weak, draft.

    • Kyle

      Huh?

      The 2011 and 2012 Cubs would like your attention. Both teams fizzled due to lack of starting pitching depth.

  • TSB

    Could everybody stop using the cliche of the year, i.e., “small sample size” for awhile? Or at least agree on when (all-star break, end of August, etc.) the sample size is enough to make some actual determinations? It’s getting more tedious than the other Cub clichés, like “let’s hope (fill in name) gets hot so we can flip him for prospects…”

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Depends on what statistic you’re referring to for sample sizes to become large enough to be meaningful.

    • JulioZuleta

      As Yogi said “It’s getting late pretty early out there.”

  • Bilbo161

    Sample size is the only thing standing in the way of tree that blocks the forest. If it were not for sample size there is nothing holding the statistics geeks from ruling the roost with their myopic view of things. :-)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      But that’s the difference, isn’t it: statistics summarizes forests, not individual trees. Indeed, in many ways a forest *is* a statistic: it’s a collection of individual items. And what we would call a forest vs. what we call a grove is, fundamentally, a statistical difference.

      • Bilbo161

        Agreed.

    • Bilbo161

      I’ll explain what I mean. I’ll reiterate a previous post. Statistics are incredibly useful. But they by their very nature were never meant to useful in single instances say like a decision to swing at a pitch in a certain game situation. They are good for telling what usually works best in a given situation but that does not mean it is the best decision for this or that exact instance of that situation.

  • Rebuilding

    Awfully convenient for Camp that he reveals the extent of his injury after Bowden gets DFAd. Much like Stewart’s “injury” during spring training was convenient for him. Both seem sketchy

  • JulioZuleta

    The Marlins have a team OPS of .599. That’s 121 points below MLB average. This is pretty mindboggling: their team SLG% (.317) is lower than the MLB average for team OBP (.318). If I was Stanton I’d be demanding a trade ASAP. Like, as soon as I returned and hit respectably.

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    I want to know the reason why they decided to keep a 37 yr old pitcher with am 86mph fastball and a 6+ ERA, that is the real questinon. Camp has been atrocious and should be released.

    • Rebuilding

      In addition to the above, I think they should cut him immediately to send a message that withholding information when roster decisions are being made won’t be tolerated. It arguably cost us a game Tuesday

  • Fastball

    This is the biggest BullShit Story I have ever read. This also tells me that nobody knows what the hell they are doing. This tells me that nobody knows what the hell is going on. This tells me that more than one person ought to be sent packing. Whether they like Bowden or not I could care less. The guy lost his job because of a guy who was to selfish to tell anyone he has a boo boo on his big toe. What’s really funny is this story was actually told and it made into print. It tells me that these guys running this organization are so out of touch with reality and they think Cubs fans are so stupid. These guys are fine with floating a story like this. Dale Sveum is an idiot if he believes this crap and his an even bigger idiot for telling it. I would tell Camp when he gets to the disabled list to keep on going and don’t look back or I’ll kick his ass toward the door again.

    ( if they knew Shawn Camp had a toe injury on Sunday (the Cubs put Camp on the disabled list yesterday, a day after he blew Tuesday’s game)? Because the Cubs didn’t know Camp had a toe injury. Er, what? Actually, the Cubs didn’t know the extent of Camp’s toe injury until Wednesday, when Camp explained the severity. Apparently he’d been dealing with the injury for a month, and only just started getting treatment on Sunday. The Cubs felt he could pitch through it. I can understand all of that, and it certainly explains why things played out as they did, even if it doesn’t justify anything. Given Camp’s performance – including decreased velocity – it still seems like it would have been perfectly reasonable and laudable to DL Camp on Tuesday rather than DFA’ing Bowden. Dale Sveum even admitted that, had they known about the severity of Camp’s injury on Tuesday, they would have DL’d him and kept Bowden. In other words, Camp may have cost Bowden his job (not that virtually every other athlete wouldn’t have tried to play through the same injury).

  • Fastball

    If I was the manager and one of my relievers who can’t throw an 82mph fastball on his best day isn’t throwing but 65mph it would dawn on me that this fool has something even more wrong with than the fact he sucks and can’t pitch to begin with. The bottom line is Sean Camp is worthless. His fastball isn’t close to Garza’s change up. Sean Camp is your new Koyie Hill folks. I am going to accept it for what it is and move on.

  • Die hard

    What are we paying pitching coach for?

  • Pingback: Cubs Outright Michael Bowden to AAA Iowa – We’ll See if He Accepts It | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

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