Ryne Sandberg is an Interim Manager No More and Other Bullets

ryne sandberg philliesWith the family move and the destination wedding now behind us, activity here should be returning to something close to normal as the Cubs’ 2013 season comes to a close.

  • Ryne Sandberg is the interim Phillies manager no more, having been stripped of the interim label, and inked to a three-year (plus one option) deal. Phillies management and the players sound pleased to be retaining Sandberg for the long haul, and I’m very happy he’s getting this opportunity. It doesn’t project to be a particularly easy job, with the pressures of Philadelphia laying atop an aging, expensive roster.
  • As the season winds down and the playoffs approach, you may want to do a little MLB betting (smart money: avoid the Cubs). That link there will get you what you need … but if you bet on the Cardinals, so help me …
  • Junior Lake did the four strikeout thing yesterday, highlighting the contact problems that portend a serious regression in his offensive numbers in the near-term future. Sahadev Sharma writes extensively about Lake here, and explains why it is probably unreasonable to expect Lake to keep up his productivity unless his K-rate and BB-rate start trending in better directions. Dale Sveum also says he thinks Lake could stand to benefit from playing some winter ball, where he could get more experience in the outfield.
  • Sahadev on the positive signals from Edwin Jackson and Starlin Castro.
  • Dioner Navarro is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, and he gets a whole lot of love from Dale Sveum. He’s in line for a healthy payday after the season, and I expect that he’ll first seek out a starting opportunity before landing somewhere as a backup (potentially with the Cubs).
  • Dale Sveum works to defend Anthony Rizzo’s down season (young player, starting every day, batting third, etc.), which is fine. But I think there’s a lot of truth in his final quote in the piece: “So you analyze the year and it’s not as bad as everybody makes it out to be.” Indeed, and more about that later.
  • Jeff Samardzija says that he’s appreciated Dale Sveum’s work this year, but concedes that nobody knows what is going to happen after the season (per Patrick Mooney).
  • Scouts talk about a variety of players on Baseball Prospectus (including love for former Cub Andrew Cashner), and there’s a pretty money quote on pitcher Jake Arrieta: “It is still easy to change opinions quickly on whether he is a starter or reliever. He is one of many pitchers where the sum is less than the parts. He has stuff, a great body, can get swings and misses, and can put together dominant stretches. That being said, he can disappear with the best of them and look like a walk waiting to happen. He has to be frustrating for them because he has so much promise.” That’s a scout confirming everything our eyes were telling us.

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

121 responses to “Ryne Sandberg is an Interim Manager No More and Other Bullets”

  1. MichiganGoat

    How dare Sveum be critical of Lake, he is winner and the best hitter on the team. Sveum will take his sustainable .380 BABIP and destroy him with tinkering and poor management. Lake should be starting everyday and allowed to hit however he wants… he is our future. Sandberg would never mess with him he would allow him to become a Tony Gwynn/BarryBonds hybrid… he would let him become MechaLake and save all of humanity.

    1. Jono

      sarcasm overload….!!

      1. Jono

        [please read this comment in a robot voice]

        1. MichiganGoat

          is that you MechaJuno

          1. Jono


  2. MichiganGoat

    And how can Rizzo’s season be good or even better than I believe… he’s got a .231 batting average. HE SUCKS and everybody knows it.

    1. Edwin

      Rizzo’s had a better season than his BA has indicated, which makes sense, since BA is a poor indicator anyways. However, I’d still say his season, on the whole, has been disappointing. I definitely wouldn’t call Rizzo’s season a “good” season.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Poppycock… anyone who hits .231 is horrible, Castro had a better season than Rizzo, numbers don’t lie and Rizzo cannot hit his way out of a paperbag. Its simple a BA of .231 = BAD. It doesn’t take a math degree to realize how bad .231 is for a hitter… he is bad. He needs to sit down with Lake and learn how to hit and conference in Campana to assist him with increasing his bellyfire.

        1. ssckelley

          I am sure there is some stat that says otherwise. Whar Hansmann?

          1. MichiganGoat

            His voodoo ninja stats are best served on a hamburger and have no place in baseball. Triple Crown stats and W/L record is all we need to value a player.

            1. hansman1982


          2. C. Steadman

            learn to read sarcasm ssckelley

            1. ssckelley

              uhhhhhh, ok

              1. On The Farm


        2. DarthHater

          Good grief. Somebody got into the horny goat weed and replaced it with sarcastic goat weed. I hate when that happens.

          1. MichiganGoat

            No sarcasm I’ve realized that trying have rational discussion on here is stupid and that I must embrace a new path and therefore I’m joined the other side and will point out the easy and obvious answers to questions. This way I will not argue with anyone and join the growing majority. TOOT is my leader.

            1. DarthHater

              Great, now he’s even being sarcastic about his sarcasm. Somebody, please call in professional help.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Darth you just need to join the right dark side.

            2. Edwin

              Are you upset because you watched that scene from Jurassic Park again?

          2. MichiganGoat

            Oh and Sveum sucks, Ricketts is cheap, and Theo is a failure.

            1. Cubbie Blues


            2. willis

              Well the first one is definitely accurate :)

    2. jt

      Rizzo has sprayed the balls to all fields in the last 11 games and has had a 0.274 BA when doing so. I’m guessing that if he concentrated just on that he could raise that number much higher. His BB rate has decreased and his SLG has only been 0.432 in that period which is only a touch above his season measure even with the increased BA.
      He has spent the year trying to hit the long ball and in 584 AB’s has only hit 22 of them.
      Anthony has had a 0.741 BB dependent OPS for 2013. That is MLB worthy but not much to get excited about. Couple that with his good defense and he has shown himself to be a quality player. But his power stroke has had contact issues and that has become obvious. But that is not to say his power stroke will always have contact problems.

      1. Noah

        11 games is not a meaningful sample size.

        And another way of putting it would be that Rizzo has a .741 OPS despite having a low BABIP, which is one of the stats that can vary the most from season to season.

        In other words, I’d rather have a hitter reach a .741 OPS by going .231/.323/.418 with a .257 BABIP than have a hitter who reaches .741 by going .320/.350/.391 with a .350 BABIP. Regression to the mean would tell you the prior hitter has pretty good odds of hitting better with just a little luck, randomness, whatever you want to call it, going his way. He’s hitting for power and walking. On the other hand, it tells you that the second player is just a BABIP reduction away from being terrible.

        So regress Junior Lake’s BABIP to .330, which is still extremely high for the Majors, and he’s suddenly hitting .250/.290/.410.

  3. CUB5

    The Phillies signing Ryno is the highlight of the Cubs season.

  4. Jono

    Glad to hear about ryno. Does anyone else kind of like the Phillies a little more now? Not that I’m gonna go out and by a Phillies hat, but i’d love to see him reach some level of success.

  5. CubFan Paul

    I think Arrieta will have a Travis Wood-like second year with Bosio. Drops in the FIP & ERA. I believe the same with EJax too, because it takes time to learn how to consistently pound the bottom of the strikezone with confidence/conviction. Both pitchers have bending/sinking fastballs that will play up better next year.

    1. Jay

      Um, Jackson is 30. If he hasn’t figured out how to do that by now, he never will. Which is why we’re seeing what 7 other teams have seen.

      1. CubFan Paul

        Let his new pitching coach do his job. Then overreact.

    2. mjhurdle

      i agree. When Wood first came to the Cubs, he would have games where he looked great, and games where he gave up 4 HRs and got pounded. His second year he has really become much more consistent.
      Arrieta reminds me of the same thing. One game he looks dominant, next he walks a ton and gives up 5 runs. If Bosio can help him get some consistency, i could really see him having a great year next year.

      1. jt

        Wood was good…REAL GOOD (about a 2.5 ERA)… in 80% of his 2012 starts. Yes he was bad.. REAL BAD (about a 12.0 ERA)… in 20% of his 2012 starts.
        A guy who pitches that good, that often has something going for him.
        Although Arrieta has been capable of being dominant at times I don’t think he has yet to show that kind of ratio. Sure, he has a chance to be real good. I just felt a lot better about Wood coming into 2013 than I do as to Arrieta for 2014.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Yeah but Wood hasn’t even won 10 games… how can we say he had a good season? You need at least 15 wins before the word “good” can be used and 20 wins before throwing around “great.”

          1. Satch Dobrey

            On this team. Wood was the best hitter when he pitched. That is why he hasn’t won 10 games…

    3. #23

      I agree completely. I am looking for Arrieta and Jackson to have a strong year in 2014.

    4. Chad

      I expect to see Sveum as manager next year, but if not I sure hope the new manager keeps Bosio around. I like what he has done throughout this staff this year.

      1. willis

        Oh he’ll definitely be back…there is a small chance I guess that an established guy is out there and shows interest, but at the end of the day next year is another big time losing year and the rebuilding is still well underway. He’ll still be in that dugout in 2014. But to your point, I really do like Bosio, so whatever happens I’d like to see him on board.

  6. Larry adams

    Believe Sveum will be Cubs manager in 2014, expect to see a new hitting coach.

  7. Kramden

    Could it be that since the Cub brain trust conceded defeat in trying to change Castro’s approach at the plate, they’ve now moved on to Lake to work their magic?

    I still don’t understand why these “flaws” aren’t identified at the minor league level and are worked on BEFORE a player gets promoted to the majors.

    Seems ass-backwards to me.

    1. Edwin

      Maybe they are being identified, but there’s only so much that can be done. Castro and Lake were already in the system when Theo took over. I think an interesting thing to track over time is the walk rate of prospects over the past couple years, and comparing that to the walk rates of prospects over the next couple years.

  8. ssckelley

    I think Rizzo will be fine in the right role. He has a good glove, nice slugging numbers, leads the team in walks, but needs to make more contact to justify hitting in the #3 spot. It is disappointing that the 2 mainstays (Castro and Rizzo) of the Cubs lineup and future are both having contact issues and are striking out at a higher rate than they did in previous seasons.

    This is where the coaching evaluation comes into play, I don’t think the FO is so much worried about the wins and losses but seeing both of their star players, that they have spent millions to ensure are retained, struggling this year could be why we might see coaching changes.

    1. Edwin

      I think Rizzo is doing well, but his numbers against LHP still need to improve. His BB% and ISO are ok, but they’ll both need to improve if Rizzo is going to develope into more of an impact bat.

      1. Voice of Reason

        How can you say that Rizzo is doing well?
        He has struggled this year! He is young. He has had a full season of major league pitching. It’s obvious that he needs to adjust. I believe he will. Will he ever hit .280 in a season? The early returns are, no! But, there is nothing wrong with a left handed bat that plays a decent first base and hits 30 to 35 home runs with a nice on base percentage. We just need to build around him. If he doesn’t pan out then there are other first basemen in the system that are working their way up.
        The problem is we’re so focused on the few future players on the big league squad that are on the roster right now. So, he is pretty much under a magnifying glass.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          I think most people can agree that Rizzo had a good year last year. So, I will base numbers off of that.

          Based on percentages: he has 2.2% more doubles this year and only .7% fewer HR, and 7.3% fewer singles. If he would have only had half of those singles back this year, he would have a .300 BABIP and a .264 AVG. to go along with 39 doubles and 22 HRs. If he would have had the exact same singles rate he would have been had a .351 BABIP and a .303 AVG.

          That is why some of us are saying he didn’t have a bad year.

          1. Voice of Reason

            If, if, if!

            The bottom line is the season is almost over. That is a true gauge for a player. Rizzo’s numbers are no where near “good”. There are glimmers of hope as you shared, but let’s stop with the if’s.

            If I would have been given a chance to play first for the Cubs and I wouldn’t have struck out almost every time I went to the plate then I would have hit close to .600 for the season…..

            All the numbers are great, but the bottom line is Rizzo has struggled this season! I’m being kind in my analysis as a lot of others would say he has stunk! But, with his age and some stats that are intriguing, we need to let him play everyday again next year which is what management will do!

            1. mjhurdle

              “Rizzo’s numbers are no where near “good”.”

              actually, almost every number apart from batting average is ‘good’.
              Maybe not elite, but definitely not bad at all.

              1. Scotti

                Of the 25 qualified 1B in MLB this season, Rizzo is 19th in OBP, 19th in SLG and 21st in OPS. Of those same 25 1B Rizzo is only 18th in P/PA. He IS 5th in XBH but he’s also 4th in total PA. In a magical world where BA doesn’t matter, his ISOP and BB/PA are still only 12th and 10th, respectively. Collectively, these are bad numbers. Definitely bad numbers.

                He’s also slow as molasses (his Perfect Game time is WAY slower than Dan Vogelbach’s) and struggles mightily against lefties (career OPS around .610 in about 350 PA).

                What Rizzo DOES have going for him is youth, potential and a good glove. He’ll end the year with over 1,200 career PA. He needs to start turning some of that promise into production that befits a 1B.

                1. Blublud

                  I agree 100% Scottie. Anyone who says Rizzo is having a good year is looking through koolaid colored glasses. It doesn’t Rizzo sucks, or will suck going foward, but this season has been pretty bad. I was supporting him early, but the fact that the season is now almost over, and his stats actually got worse as the season passed, eliminates the bad luck to start the season arguement.

                  I’m not calling for Rizzo to be replaced, and I think he will be a good, but not quite very good, 1st baseman moving foward, but he definitely had a bad year.

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    Exactly he’s a worthless bum that couldn’t even play for the right team in the World Baseball Classic. He’s overrated, over hyped, and over used! I’m so glad I’ve finally stopped drinking the Kool-aid and switched to TWTWBellyFireScrap Awesome Sauce. Batting Average tells all and what it tells is the .231 BA is the average of a one eyed one handed greasy meathead.

                    1. Scotti

                      Very odd reply to a couple of posts that are very measured in their critique of Rizzo. Time for the meds? Passed time?

                  2. MichiganGoat

                    No Scotti I have seen the error of my ways and now agree with the other side. You are a genius and deserve to be complimented and agreed with constantly. Sveum needs to be fired, RIcketts is cheap, Rizzo is not core, and Theo is in trouble.

                    I finally see the truth, I hit rock bottom yesterday and TOOT showed me the correct path to Cub fandom.

                    1. mjhurdle

                      you forgot Sandberg.
                      You have to mention that Sandberg would have this team in the playoffs.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      Sandberg would have done the renovations all by himself in a single night and the rooftops would crumble from his powers. Then next year the start of ten consecutive World Series titles.

                    3. Scotti

                      “You are a genius”

                      Depends upon which measure you use (genius is broadly defined) but, yes, I am.

                      “…and deserve to be complimented…”

                      Generally speaking an excellent idea for board members to do with other board members who have put in a bit of effort to research a topic.

                      “…and agreed with constantly.”

                      Generally speaking an ignorant idea for board members to do with other board members, regardless.

                      “…Sveum needs to be fired…”

                      If there is someone available who is better, absolutely!

                      “RIcketts is cheap…”

                      I’m not familiar with this RIcketts chap, but if he is anything like the Ricketts family, the answer would be “No.”

                      “Rizzo is not core…”

                      That is certainly yet to be determined and it will BE determined by his performance (novel idea, I know).

                      “…and Theo is in trouble.”

                      I sincerely doubt that.

                    4. DarthHater


                2. MichiganGoat

                  Agreed he’s a bum and Theo ruined us by handing him a contract after a short season of work and now Sveum is finishing the beating by over coaching him. I just hope they leave Lake alone and allow him to blossom into the superstar he will become.

                  No player that can only maintain a .231 BA should be allowed to start, can Lake play 1B because he will be great.

                  1. DarthHater

                    I like your free verse much better than this dreary prose.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Truthful prose stings

                3. mjhurdle

                  I guess it would depend on your expectations coming in.
                  If you were so excited by his performance last year that you thought he was about to evolve into a top 10 hitter in MLB, then yes, he has had a bad year.
                  If you hoped that he would build off his hot start and compile a respectable first full year in the bigs, then i would say he succeeded.
                  He is top 20-40 in the National League in most every important offensive stat, and he is doing it at a younger age than almost anyone else with the exception of Freddie Freeman.
                  So while i agree with the idea that he is not putting up elite numbers, or even numbers that indicate that he is about to be elite, to say try to say that his numbers are “bad” this year shows more about someone’s unrealistic expectations than the player himself.

                  1. Scotti

                    He’s a 1B. Comparing him to SS, CF etc. in the NL (top 20-40 in NL) is apples and oranges. He should be compared to 1B/LF in all of MLB and then be given credit for his relative youth. I compared him to the 25 qualifying 1B in MLB.

                    I didn’t compare him to last year. I compared him to this year’s 1B. He has promise but the comparison is not favorable. He needs to improve and he needs to own his BA/BABIP and fix it (BA is actually a very important stat, ask Theo).

                    1. Theo Epstein

                      How’s it going, Scotti boy?

                  2. Blublud

                    I’m about to look it up, I will to bet he is not top 20 in any offensive stat except maybe walks and not top 40 in most others.

                    1. Scotti

                      He is 20th in ISOP and 13th in BB/PA but that’s just qualified NL players. Expand that to qualified MLB and he’s out of the top 40 in ISOP and out of the top 20 in BB/PA.

            2. Cubbie Blues

              So, what you are saying is, he should have hit a few more grounders that found holes? That’s what I was trying to explain. His doubles rate is the same, his HR rate is the same and it’s the singles rate that has changed this year. Heck, he even has a better BB% and ISO. Singles (for the most part) are the product of balls finding holes. I’m not playing the if game (as you called it) I’m stating facts.

              1. hansman1982

                YES! He should have hit more balls milliseconds earlier or later, had hit bat millimeters higher or lower or had more TWTW!

              2. MichiganGoat

                All he needs to do is increase his batting average, a .231 BA and that is the average of the Loser of Loserville. Why is it so hard for everyone to understand? Batting Average is the king stat, they didn’t put it on our baseball cards- IT IS THE STAT!

                But nooooo saber ninjas eating hot pockets and drinking monsters decided to destroy the best stat ever. PERIOD.

                The game use to be pure now we use math and science to complicate the essence of the beauty of baseball… well not this goat, not on my watch.

          2. Scotti

            There is no reason to expect that Rizzo’s BABIP isn’t “real” this year. He’s had a sub-.231 BA in five of six months and the outlier (June’s .295) was buffeted by four 3 hit games in 8 days. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was legitimately hot there and that THAT streak wasn’t a BABIP anomaly. I also believe that, after 666 PA (fourth most for 1B), he owns his overall BABIP.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Agreed 100% Scotti, Rizzo has no future and Lake’s BABIP is sustainable he is the real core and Rizzo is rotting.

              1. Scotti

                Definitely med time. Or at least time to stop trolling…

                1. willis

                  This is quite an annoying comment section. Two sides to the argument it seems, both sides are fairly legit. Rizzo had an ok year, not great but not the suck that some think. Rizzo needs to be better for this team to make the strides it wants/needs. He’s a 24 year old in his first full season and had a decent season. I expect next season to be much better. If it is not and the numbers are similar, then I think we can reasonably say he’s an ok player but not a great player. But I expect a much better year next year.

                  1. mjhurdle

                    “Rizzo had an ok year, not great but not the suck that some think.”

                    i agree with this 100%. I honestly have no clue why this debate keeps coming up. Why do we have to anoint him either a bust or the MVP?

                    1. Brains

                      Yeah give that guy a team and some people on base and then let’s evaluate his RBI rate and motivation. Let’s not blame a young player for having no support, or a manager for having no team to manage. It’s like when everyone gets a pay decrease at work and you’re mad at the cubicle next to you. You all live in cubicles.

                    2. willis

                      It’s a lot to do with a post you put up above about super high expectations. If you look solely at the numbers that the average fun looks at-BA, HR, RBI and compare it with what some expected, it’s a disappointing season. If one digs deeper, it’s a decent season. And that’s what he is a this point, a young decent 1B. He’s not terrible and certainly not great. He’s a good 1B. He’ll get better too. I’ll admit my expectations for him were sky high, but I’ve also digested the fact that he is still growing as a player and the best is yet to come.

                    3. Scotti

                      There’s bad and then there’s suck. The only person saying that he has sucked in this debate is trolling and doesn’t believe it.

                    4. YourResidentJag

                      Huh, imagine that kinda follows with Kevin Goldstein’s prognosis of him as a player before he got to MLB.

              2. MichiganGoat

                But Scotti I agree with you and support you assessments. They are better than anything I’ve provided and I’m ready to follow the better posters on here instead of my previous crowd that only confused me with numbers and hamburgers.

                1. Scotti

                  “But Scotti I agree with you and support you assessments.”

                  Not based on your comments.

                  “They are better than anything I’ve provided…”

                  I agree. However, the attempt to delegitimize my comments by making bizarre comments is classic trolling. Usually frowned upon in respectable establishments.

            2. Cubbie Blues

              Actually, there is a reason to believe his BABIP should be higher. His singles rate is what is hurting him this year. If you don’t like using last year’s singles rates (I even halved the difference trying to be fair), we can look at another 1B who has similar numbers to Rizzo this year sans the singles rate, Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez has 3 fewer games, 17 fewer AB, 1 less HR, 8 fewer 2B and has a 20% singles rate. If we only took 10% of that and applied it to Rizzo’s numbers he would have been even better than I posted above. Singles (for the most part) are the product of balls finding holes.
              Link to my post: http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/09/23/ryne-sandberg-is-an-interim-manager-no-more-and-other-bullets/comment-page-1/#comment-402049
              (Note: I’m not saying Rizzo had a great year just not a bad one.)

    2. MichiganGoat

      .231 BA = SUCK

      ***drops mic***

      1. kscubfan

        “Sexual Chocolate” stomp foot

      2. Patrick W.

        Hey Goat, I really am a fan of yours. (No Sarcasm here) but I gotta say, you are kind of acting like all Scotti did was point out BA. He did in fact rank him based on OBP, OPS, pitches per plate appearance, ISOP and walks per plate appearance.

        Seems like you’re taking a shot at the “in a magic world where BA doesn’t matter” and ignoring the rest. I happen to thank it’s the real world where BA doesn’t matter, not a magic one, but it’s still sound analysis to say on many levels Rizzo has been average, on some slightly above average, and others below average.

        I’d say an even deeper dive into his peripheral stats show he’s been pretty good, not great, and it shows a lot of promise that he will be an above average to excellent player as he reaches his peak.

    3. Norm

      Make more contact? He’s got a very respectable K rate; better than Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt and many others…..good enough to hit anywhere in the lineup.
      He needs more help from the luck dragon. Or better fortune from the randomness dragon. Or whatever dragon you want to chalk up a low BABIP to.

      1. Scotti

        At some point, when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck for 666 PA, it’s a duck.

        1. C. Steadman

          not exactly…Starlin quacked for a .344 BABIP in 712 PA in 2011, but now .285 BABIP in 680 PA in 2013….which is the duck and which is the goose??

          1. C. Steadman

            this is why baseball is an awesome and frustrating sport at the same time…stats can tend to “normalize” but year in and year out we can see totally random seasons

        2. Norm

          Like Starlin Castro? He was excellent for over 1200 PA. So he walked and quacked, so you must have thought that was his true talent. And then he was mediocre for 690 PA, so you must have thought, “oops, I was wrong about those 1200 PA, THIS is the real Castro”. But then poor 2013 in 680 PA so far…so now you’re probably thinking “oops, I was wrong again. THIS is the true Castro.”.

          You act like this is your first time seeing season to season fluctuation in AVG/OBP/SLG numbers.

        3. Drew7

          “At some point, when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck for 666 PA, it’s a duck.”

          A quick glance at the players with the highest and lowest BABIP’s this year makes me question that statement.

  9. cubfanincardinalland

    Until he stops trying to pull so many balls, and learns to lay off the ball 6 inches inside, which is where pitchers have been pounding him all summer, he will remain inconsistent.
    Hopefully he was watching Freddy Freeman and his approach at the plate this weekend.

    1. willis

      Dude, Freeman is a monster at the plate. And when you look at his splits, his numbers against LHP are not that big of a dropoff. Surely not what they are against RHP, but something you’d love to see out of a LH hitter.

      1. YourResidentJag

        I see Rizzo on a Matt Weiters kind of trajectory. Same type of hitter, which is totally fine by me.

        1. C. Steadman

          i hope we get a little more offense out of Rizzo than what Wieters has…1B should be more productive offensively due to the fact that 1B is a relative easy position to play so you mainly want to focus on offense there

        2. DarthHater

          Would be more fine by me if Rizzo were a gold glove catcher, rather than a first baseman.

          1. YourResidentJag

            Oh, absolutely that would be great. As far as getting more offensive out of Rizzo, if he becomes more of a complementary player with power (something he currently is displaying), I’m once again ok with that.

  10. Spoda17

    Kinda getting tired of the “he’s young” excuse. I like Rizzo and Castro, but the young tag is getting “old.” Did anyone take a look at Freeman this weekend? He is a month younger than Rizzo and is an MVP candidate.

    I think we sometimes think our prospects are great because we are told they are great and we forget they actually have to perform. I don’t think Rizzo or Castro are a bust, but they did not have a good season. At the moment, they are not displaying that they are elite players.

    1. Norm

      And what’s the difference between Freddie Freeman’s 2013 and Freddie Freeman’s 2012?

      About 30 singles.

    2. Voice of Reason


      It’s Rizzo’s second full year in the bigs and he is 23?

      If he is not young, then what is he?

      1. C. Steadman

        first full year**

      2. Spoda17

        I’m not saying he is old, but to use the excuse of he’s young (yeah, I agree 23 ain’t old) is not a good excuse. You can be successful and make adjustments at the plate etc and still be “young.” He didn’t make the appropriate adjustments this year; has nothing to do with his age or plate experience.

        1. Voice of Reason

          So, all season long you think that every time Rizzo went to the plate he had the same approach and didn’t work at it? You don’t think that the coaches worked with him all season long to help him improve or to “make adjustments”? If you don’t think they did then you are nutso! Some players at 23 just don’t start hitting the cover off the ball. There are so many major league players to reference that it’s ridiculous.

          Under your theory, if he would have had Pete Rose, Wade Boggs and the ghost of Ty Cobb helping him with “adjustments” then he would have won a batting title this year?

        2. Scotti

          23 ain’t old and neither is 24 (Rizzo is now 24)…

    3. twinkletoez

      2 things.

      1. This is Freeman’s third full season it is Rizzo’s first
      2. Freeman plays for Atlanta that has a much better lineup that provides protection for Freeman.

  11. Big Daddy

    Rizzo is a 5 or 6 hitter on a good team. Castro is a 7 or 8. Reality needs to set in.

    1. mjhurdle

      Rizzo may end up a 5 hitter, but i think it is way too early to judge how a player’s career will go based on their first full season in the pros.

      As far as Castro, i don’t think anyone here knows what the ‘reality’ is for him.
      Is he the hitter from his first 3 years or the one from this past year?

      given the circumstances with the team working on his approach, i tend to think he will return to a form more like his first three years. But i can’t say for sure.

    2. Professor Snarks

      For both these guys, it’s been one year of a 10-15 year career (hopefully). They are in a line-up that has 1 or 2 other players who may be in the lineup in the future. There is NO way to tell what place in the lineup they should hold.

  12. Oliver

    Keep Basio.
    Get rid of the rest.

    Bring up the kids and let them swing away.
    Can’t be any worse.

    Maybe I’m the only one with that opinion.

  13. Scotti

    BP on Cashner – “I saw him pitch as well as he ever has this week and he is quickly becoming a legit ace.”


    1. cubfanincardinalland

      Get back to me when he actually stays of the disabled list for more than 4 months and makes 30 starts in a season please. Then we can discuss potential ace pitchers.

      1. Scotti

        I’m sure if you get in touch with BP they’ll forward your message to the scout who supplied that quote…

  14. cubmig

    The talk has been a lot about how “good” Rizzo is as a hitter. I couldn’t help but wonder how he’s hit in the 46 one run games played so far. The Cubs have played (as of 9/22) 46 one run games and have lost 28 and won 18 (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/3/15/4105922/one-run-game-performance-unsustainable-orioles). I wanted to make an argument pro or con in Rizzo’s case, but then see that performance in those games is more random than not — or as a team this year, we are just bad. In a way the latter point gets Rizzo off the hook. And yet I think it’s fair to say, that being in games that close says the Cubs played decent ball to stay in the game (good pitching, good defense, etc.). It may also underscore that offense-wise, that when the situation showed our “good and reliable” (note quotes) batters came up,

  15. cubmig

    …oopppps hit the wrong key!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As I was writing……it was, for the most part (over 60% of he time) as a failure. They couldn’t deliver. Again, we were, and just are a bad team. So many factors weigh in when judging a player, and stats give perspective rather than any assurance of future performance. It’s all an educated guess with risks. Some players choke when they have the game riding on an at bat or a pitching through a situation. Castro, e.g. (while I like the guy) has a propensity for letting his emotional gut reactions get the best of him. That is what I at least observe. It’s an intangible, I know, but it’s as good an explanation as any. As for Rizzo, his season, when looked at in the aggregate, may not look bad, but as a fan observing him, he is too inconsistent at the plate for my money. He does have a “hole” in his swing (inside stuff), and in pressure situations, that really shows up when he’s sucked into swinging at them.

    just my 22 cents. sorry for the busted-up post.

  16. Professor Snarks

    I’m curious. If you extrapolate Rizzo’s numbers from last year, into this years number of plate appearances, how many areas has he improved on? Doubles and walks are two. Are there more (either advanced or counting/traditional)?
    Btw, looking at past performance, is his improved double rate, and his improved walk rate, sustainable?

    1. Cubbie Blues
      1. Professor Snarks

        So, the answer to my first question, is not many. Thanks. Any answer to my last question?

        1. Cubbie Blues

          I gave you his FanGraphs page. It’s all right there. I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

          1. Professor Snarks

            I don’t know what I would do without you. You complete me. Now, again, my last question. Is Rizzo’s double rate, and walk rate, sustainable?

            1. Norm


              1. Professor Snarks

                Okay. Thanks.

                If we want to build someone up to be better than he is, we say all his bad stats are 1) a function of bad luck, or 2). they deviate too much from his ‘norm’, so they aren’t accurate. Then, to further our argument, we say “on the other hand, all those stats he improved on (that are better than the players ‘norm’) are all sustainable.”

                NOW I get it.

                1. Cubbie Blues

                  That’s a straw man. He only has one bad stat, his BABIP. I have already shown where the missing hits came from, his singles. Singles, largely, are a function of grounders finding holes, which is random (or luck if you will). All the other stats fall right where you would expect them to be. So, yes, it is sustainable. Also, you phrased your question wrong. You asked if it was sustainable, not if it was likely. Hope that helps.

                2. Norm

                  The only stat I say isn’t sustainable is his BABIP. But ok…

                  1. Norm

                    And people are saying the same exact thing about Junior Lake…we know he’s going to regress, mainly due to his BABIP. So no, it works both ways. Good and bad.

  17. Jason P

    Here are a couple of factors that help explain Rizzo’s drop in BABIP:
    -More infield fly balls and fewer line drives. Compared to last year, Rizzo is hitting about 3 percent more infield fly balls and 5% fewer line drives.
    -Pulling the ball more. Rizzo has pulled the ball more this year, and consequently, defenses have shifted more. He’s also been pitched inside a lot, which induces some of those ground balls to the right side, and he hasn’t shown he can consistently turn on the ball in.
    -Slightly more strikeouts. 2% doesn’t make a huge difference, but it makes a difference.
    -His BABIP was too high last year to begin with. .310 is on the high end of average for ML players, but given Rizzo’s lack of speed, that number probably should have been closer to .290.

    So given all that, I think we should expect a BABIP increase going forward, but perhaps not as large of an increase as some would expect.

  18. gemeente

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