Pneumonia Watch, Day Four: The Little Boy was, knock on wood, pretty good yesterday. In fact, he was feeling so much better that I had to work hard to force him to rest much more than he wanted. Early signals suggest today will be similar. He’s currently sitting across the room from me, alternating between a churlish grin and sticking his tongue out to spit at me. And then he makes a quick dash for the stairs.
- Everyone is saying how good and comfortable Starlin Castro looks right now (including Castro, himself). And, so far, he really does look like he’s got a little bit of … something … back. It’s obviously early, and it’s also obviously easy to read in false psycho-babble when a guy has decent numbers over a tiny stretch of games a year after a terrible season. But, hey, maybe Castro really did struggle last year because of the approach changes, because of coaching communication issues, and because of that lawsuit back in the Dominican Republic. With all of that largely behind him, perhaps he can just be himself again. And perhaps that’s a damn good baseball player. He looks the part so far this year.
- (Castro has actually been worth more so far this year – 0.2 wins – than he was worth all of last year, according to FanGraphs, when he was a -0.1 WAR player.)
- And now a word from our friends with revenue: With baseball season underway, and your local leagues starting up, you may be in the market for some pitching machines. If so, that there link will send you to the magical land of all kinds of pitching machines. There’s even one that can throw you curveballs, which is pretty fancy.
- We may see the first non-platooned start of the year for Mike Olt and/or Junior Lake today against Gerrit Cole. That’s what Ricky Renteria hinted to the media after last night’s game (Tribune), which saw Olt rip a homer off of a left and add another hit off of a righty. I’ll dig more into it when the lineups come out, but, here’s the thing: the reason I’ve been pro-platoon for these guys all along is because I knew eventually, they would see time against righties. So, although I’m massively pro-platoon, I’m also totally fine with them getting in there against some righties.
- Hector Rondon has a 13-inning scoreless streak, which is actually the fourth-longest in baseball right now (Tribune).
- Stats, Inc. says that Emilio Bonifacio’s 17 hits over his team’s first 7 games is the most by a Cub since 1914. He had two more hits last night in game eight – what say you, Stats, Inc.?
- Ricky Renteria won over Jose Veras a little bit when he was ejected arguing about a tight zone that Veras faced the other night. (Sun-Times)
- According to a BP analysis, the Cubs are one of the most improved teams in baseball – at the big league level – in terms of projected output from core players (which is defined by an extremely complicated formula). I won’t get into all of the math, and I’m not sure how much I agree with the methodology, but any signal out there that the Cubs are improving at the big league level is a positive development.
- Dr. James Andrews on why UCL injuries seem to be on the rise for pitchers (they pretty much are, and it’s largely because kids aren’t being properly protected when they’re in high school and playing in multiple leagues, playing year round, and playing up when scouts are in attendance).
- About that, Keith Law makes a good point:
So perhaps scouts should be asking HS and college pitching prospects "how much time off did you take this winter?"
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) April 10, 2014