mesa solar soxYou may have noticed that, in years past, I chat a bit about my fantasy football teams in this space about once a week. Not because you care, but because I like to chat. I haven’t done that much this year. Not because I realize you don’t care, but because my teams suck.

  • The Mesa Solar Sox dropped the Arizona Fall League Championship Game yesterday 2-0, and will now have to live with the shame of having not won the AFL all winter long. The Cubs’ bats did nothing to help the cause, with Kris Bryant going 0-4 with 2 Ks, and Jorge Soler going 0-3 with a K. (Albert Almora did not play, but I saw a stray tweet or two that he was available if needed, so whatever injury – if he suffered one at all – he had in the last game of the regular season was exceedingly minor.) On the pitching side, Dallas Beeler got the start, and threw five excellent innings. He gave up just one earned run on a couple hits and one walk, and he struck out five. He look effective, for those who weren’t able to watch the game, and the Cubs now have a difficult decision to make on him with respect to the 40-man roster. Beeler is eligible this year for the Rule 5 Draft.
  • I’ll soon have a full recap on the AFL for Cubs prospects.
  • Bruce Levine is finally back on the air. Several weeks after parting ways with ESPN, Levine has joined The Score, and will talk baseball every Saturday morning from 8am to 9am CT with Ben Finfer.
  • A fascinating read on what it’s like to be an agent this time of year, with a heavy focus on minor league free agents (that’s the majority of players at this point – it’s easy to get focused on Boras and the superstars, and they’re probably not going to give you an inside look).
  • A look at pre-arbitration extensions for young pitchers, and in the aggregate, they seem to have worked out well. Something to consider as the Cubs plan for the future with respect to Travis Wood, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time next year.
  • More and more pitchers, especially relievers, are averaging 95 mph+ with their fastball.
  • While we’re on the subject, a chart that includes the reaction times a hitter has for each MPH between 85 and 105. There is a significant swing, but it’s all still less than half of a second. Hitters are amazing.
  • EB

    Everyone stay safe today. Make sure you watch the sky and are aware of any warnings.

    • hansman

      Space alien invasion?

      • EB

        Nah; I’m talking about the home run balls Bryant hit in the AFL. They’re expected to land in the Chicago area today.

        • MichiganGoat

          Ha, well here in West Michigan we are under severe storm & tornado warning and latter in the week winter weather advisory. We also are expecting hail which I assume is just Bryant’s HR balls finally falling.

          • Thed4EVR

            Where do you live in West Michigan, Goat?

            • MichiganGoat

              Grand Rapids

          • Austin

            Yea down here in Niles we were supposed to be hit hard with rain but it has pretty much missed us for the most part. However the wind is here and hard. Saw a bunch of branches and some smaller trees already down this morning. Wouldn’t be surprised if more were to come.

            • SUNSHINE

              Here in Florida sunny as ever and 82 degrees out!! 8D

          • YourResidentJag

            Pea sized hail here in Iowa and high winds. With tornado touchdowns south of here. Weird and scary.

    • justinjabs

      Milwaukee has a tornado warning. Buckling down!

  • Die hard

    So Paul Bunyan Bryant has off days?Maybe needs to take his ox for a long walk to rest up for the real season in a few months? Too much baseball is being forced on these kids– need more down time

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah Die hard Sunday morning jokes

    • King Jeff

      Kids playing too much baseball? Is that possible? I am doubtful.

  • bbfan

    so what was the reason for bruce levine leaving ESPN anyway? Is his show on 670 going to be extended during baseball season?

    • MichiganGoat

      They didn’t renew his contract

  • Oswego Chris

    I doubt it as they have Rosenbloom and Grote entrenched on Saturdays…I could see Levine doing Hit and Run during baseball season on Sundays…

    • Boogens

      They may be entrenched but I never listen to them. I listened to “Talking Baseball” instead. Now with Jesse Rogers running the show? Nope, Anyway, Rosenbloom absolutely grates on me. “Snarky” can be amusing in moderation but that and hindsight are the only things he does. It gets old quickly. Let’s hope they expand Bruce’s spot so I have something to listen to again on Saturday mornings.

  • Jason Powers

    Signed C Eli Whiteside, 34-yr old journeyman. Was in Texas AAA last season.

    Swapped JC for Eli.

    Next move: Job for Moses (Alou)


    • ssckelley

      At least he has a ring to flash around.

  • Bill

    Dallas Beeler looked really good I would add him to the 40 man roster.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      He was great last night.

    • Diggs

      Announcers were comparing him to Roy Halladay.

  • Good Captain

    To Bill’s point above, who is Beeler “vying” w/ for a slot on the 40 man roster?

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    If you place the occasional wager on football, bet the under in the Bear / Raven game today. With the wind and rain expected scoring will be almost impossible.

  • IndyCubsFan

    Could we be in on Wieters? Read that he could possibly be up for grabs!

    • kq

      I think wieters will be to expensive, but they will look into it

      • Professor Snarks

        Isn’t he still a Boras guy?

  • Blublud

    I typed this up last night and was curious what people think about it.

    That’s what I mean to the over all game. MVP should be determined by the value that each player provides to his team. Not by the value of their performance, relative to other players on teams not even in the conversation.

    If each player has completely indentical offensive stats, and just for the sake of this aguement, an indentical zero dWAR, then neither player did more or less than the other to help their team win ball games over the course of the season. Player A is only being rewarded a higher grade because the other guys at his position are not as gifted with the bat as the guys at player B position.Just because Player A plays SS, it doesn’t not mean his HR counts for any more then Player B’s HR. They both equal 1 run.

    If you really want a true stat that tells who the MVP is, the defensive WAR, which is still a very innaccurate stat, should only be seperated by 4 categories, P, C IF and OF. This puts every one at each spot on an even playing field and will ever award guys for playing a premium position, because the numbers, due to chances will be higher.

    Also, offensive WAR should be compared across the board, not by individual positions at all. No matter what position a player plays, their offense counts the same. Its not like a SS currently get 1.25 runs per HR while a 1B only gets 1. This will evenly distribute offensive and not award a guy due to other players at his position being weak.

    • Pat

      If you want a stat that shows offensive contribution, not adjusted for position, why don’t you just use OPS+, instead of trying to change a different stat to achieve the same result?

      • MichiganGoat

        Or wOBA

        • MichiganGoat

          Oh wait that’s adjusted for position I think

      • Jono


        • MichiganGoat

          There are many good stats out there to measure a players success and in most of these Miggy did better than Trout. I really have no problem with him as the MVP and this year was easier than last year, if it wasn’t for the Triple Crown I believe Trout would have won, but to worry about the MVP is a lost cause. It’s part popularity part statistics.

          • Jono

            I really wanted the tigers to get in the WS. I love watching the biggest stars on the biggest stage. Although, Ortiz did not disappoint!

          • caryatid62

            That’s the thing about it–if it wasn’t the BBWAA who voted on it, you wouldn’t hear much about it.

            The whole process is pretty much mental masturbation for writers–in the grand scheme of things, no one really cares about the MVP, nor do most even remember who the MVP was 5 years after the fact. The writers need something to write about, so they create this “controversy” every year, and every year the fans willfully dive into it.

            • MichiganGoat

              It’s also about who will sell the most merchandising. I can he’ll Yogurt now saying “Merchandising, Merchandising, Merchandising.”

              • MichiganGoat

                He’ll = hear stoopid edit button

              • Jono

                Haha, nice reference

                • MichiganGoat

                  Glad somebody got it, I was afraid I was dating myself. I bet I quite that movie daily… “When will them be now?… Soon”

                  • Jono

                    That should be the Cubs slogan, at least until then is now.

          • Blublud

            Thanks Goat, that’s the point I was trying to get across. Trout added 9 more wins to his team than a replacement level CF/LF, but it does not mean he contributed more overall wins to his team than Cabrera. If MVP is going to go to a player, it should go the the player who contribute the most overall, not the most relatI’ve to other players.

            • Kyle

              How could you *possibly* define what a player contributes if not relative to other players?

              • Blublud

                Ok. I’m a SF in the NBA and I average 20 pts, 5rbs and 5 ast. And the next best SF in the league doesn’t average half that, that doesn’t make me a better player then a point guard who averages 25pt 6rbs and 10 assist, just because every point gaurd in the league averages 20 pts 4rbs and 8assist.

                It means I’m twice as valuable as the next best player at my position but I did more do more then the PG to help my team win.

                • Kyle

                  It makes you a more valuable player, whether it makes you a better player or not.

                  The best way to imagine this is as a card game where you have two slots.

                  If one slot you can get anything from 1-7 with equal frequency, and one slot you can get 19 or 20, and the most total points wins added up between your two slots.

                  What is the most valuable card in the game?

                  • Blublud

                    It makes me more valuable because everybody else at my position sucks. So you would punish a PG and not give him the MVP, who clearly contributed more to his teams performance, because the players at the other guys position sucks.

                    • Kyle

                      Only children talk of “punishment.”

                      It is not “punishment” to accurately assign value. A type of player who is abundant supply is less valuable than a type of player who is in short supply, certeris parabis.

            • MichiganGoat

              That wasn’t exactly my point arguing WAR is fine but there were countless other measurements that but Cabrera beat Trout if you focus on a larger sample if stats besides WAR and triple crown stats you see a bigger picture and that picture supports why Miggy was the MVP. Arguing over only WAR only is never a successful argument (unless you are arguing a 2 WAR vs 5+ WAR player)- expand your lens and you see more.

              • Blublud

                My whole point was WAR should not be used to decide the MVP. But the arguments from people who think Trout should have won always comes to WAR. Even the people I work with. The don’t look at the other stats that easily show that Canrera had a much better season and contributed more.

                • caryatid62

                  No, they don’t. You’ve created a strawman.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Okay this entire discussion has ultimately confused me I’m no longer sure what the whole issue seas. Miggy won there are plenty of stats to support the win but there will always be people that have counter argument. That’s life.

    • Kyle

      Honestly, this post shows an astonishing lack of understanding of how baseball works to such a degree that I don’t know if I want to take the time to explain it or not.

      I think the easiest way to explain it is that you want to use defensive stats that *are* measured relative to position but offensive stats that aren’t. You see why that’s wrong, right?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Really, the only alternative is to compare how much a guy produces relative to other guys that bat in his spot in the order. However, that is (I think) less appropriate because a team has to stick someone in CF or SS who won’t hurt himself (or his team too badly) playing the position, whereas Miggy is in no more (or less) danger of hurting himself (or his team at all) batting leadoff, 2nd, etc. (This is not to say that you cannot maximize Miggy’s value batting him in a particular place in the order: but he probably is an upgrade over #1…#9 in any lineup.)

        But, yeah, it is mystifying to me: a baseball team wins games based on how each guy at each position (either on the field or in the batting order) contributes to the run-differential in that game. Over the course of 162, the team that gets the most run-differential per position (or per batting spot) wins. You have to run a guy out to SS, 2B, CF, etc.: and the guy that provides the most run-differential relative to his opponents at his position is carrying his team more than any other player out there.

        • jt

          2014 NL Playoff teams: 810 Reg season games
          =5RA means games with more than 4 Runs Against.
          comma sepparated numbers are in form: win,loss
          Team wins / <=3RA / =4RA == total gm's/team
          —————————-where <=4RA
          Reds/ 90 / 71,18 / 14,13 == 116
          Pitt/ 94 / 77,20 / 11,12 == 120
          St L/ 97 / 81,12 / 08,10 == 111
          Atl / 96 / 71,18 / 12,14 == 115
          LAD / 92 / 75,23 / 07,08 == 113
          tot / 469/ 375,91/ 52,57== 575
          These playoff teams allowed 3 or fewer runs in 57.5% of games played
          These playoff teams allowed 4 of fewer runs in 71.0% of games played
          5 teams combined
          all 810 games = 57.9 winning %
          % of games won where <=3RA = 80.0%
          % of games won where =4RA = 47.7%
          % of games won where =5RA.
          A pitcher with a 3.00RA/9IP would allow 2 runs in 6 IP on average. The RP’ers could then allow 1 run and give any one of these teams an 80% chance to win.
          A pitcher with a 4.50RA/9IP would allow 3 runs in 6 IP on average. The RP’ers could then allow 1 run and give any one of these teams about a 47% chance to win.
          If the RP’ing were lights out, any one of the SP’ers could allow 3 runs against and still give the team an 80% chance of winning.
          2013 AL playoff teams 810 regular season games
          Bost/ 97 / 64,18 / 12,14
          Rays/ 92 / 71,11 / 10,8
          Det / 93 / 71,19 / 8,10
          Cle / 92 / 68,14 / 9,8
          Oak / 96 / 68,13 / 9,12
          tot / 470/ 342,75/ 48,49
          When these playoff teams kept the RA at 3 or below they won 82% of the time and they were able to do that 51.5% of their games. Also, these games made up 72.8% of their wins.
          Again, when RA = 4 the win result was really close to 50%.
          High scoring St L had more wins than the average in this RA class
          High scoring Boston had fewer wins than the average in this class
          on the whole both were pretty close
          for the 1620 games played by the 10 teams <=3RA occurred 54.5% of the games.
          They resulted in 74.4% of their winds
          often< more important.
          b) The better players often perform at a higher level against more intense competition. I mean, that is why they are considered better ball players. It is harder to hit a guy who is keeping the score down than against a guy who is allowing a ton of runs. The better pitchers will more often be in low scoring games than those not as good. That is why they are considered better.
          c) Those are games in which the team is playing at its best. That is to say they are less likely to be on the same day as an early morning arrival and so forth.

    • hansman

      I thought your misunderstanding of the importance of positional adjustment dies with the vogelbach debate.

      A 1.000 OPS 1B is far less valuable than a 1.000 OPS SS simply because 1B has a lot of good sluggers wereas SS has very few. An immaculate 69 Chevelle is more valuable than an immaculate 2012 Ford Fusion because there are fewer of them.

      Also, a 0 dWAR SS provides more defensive value than a 0 dWAR 1B. I’m really hoping I dont have to explain that one to you.

      • Blublud

        Yes, in monetary value. But that does not mean the 69 runs better or can out perform the the 2012.

        You make the best point for WAR. WAR is good to use to show what kind of contract a player should recieve. Supply and demand. As a SS who can hit There are less of me so I need to be paid more because if I walk, the guy you replace me with will probably suck. But as a 1st baseman, you can easily replace me so I don’t have the leverage to demand a contract. It does not mean that the SS is a better player then that 1st baseman, just that there are SS who can hit.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Or, to paraphrase what you wrote, the SS is more valuable to the team than is the 1Bman in your example.

          And hopefully nobody can dispute that Miggy Cabrera would be even more valuable if he could play MI or CF, and that Mike Trout would lose value if he could only play 1B.

  • William

    If there was a war in football, what would Robbie Gould’s war be? He’s as good as gold, baby! :-)

  • Sect209Row15

    Can anyone remember a football game with these weather conditions?