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tsuyoshi wada cubsKnocking on wood gets you only so far. The Little Boy appears to be sick once again, so I’ll be taking him to the doctor this morning, and then taking care of him today. That may limit things around here a little bit, depending on his temperament/diagnosis.

  • Tsuyoshi Wada continues to dominate the PCL (we need a stronger word than dominate – domihumiliate?): 2 ER in 31.1. innings, 16 H, 4(!) BB, 37(!) K. Speaking with Tommy Birch, Wada credits a grip change at the end of Spring Training for helping things click. Somehow, some way, the Cubs are going to give him a look, rather than losing him for nothing if he’s got an opt-out date coming. Because I’m sure there are other teams out there that would love to give him a shot in their rotation. Of course, the Cubs are already facing a mini pitching staff crunch, with a 13-man staff in place (probably one more than you’d like to see), and Jake Arrieta set to return this weekend. Obviously you’re not going to root for an injury to open up a spot somewhere for Wada, but maybe an early trade or something. Remember: although Wada is 33, there are reasons to believe he could have success for several years in MLB, and he would be under cheap team control during that time. When you talk about possible “future pieces,” Wada could be one, despite his age.
  • Keith Law chatted, and mentioned that he wasn’t worried about Albert Almora’s lack of a walk so far this year. He also said he’s heard some off-the-record explanations for Anthony Rizzo’s improved approach at the plate this year, and believes it will be sustainable. That’s awesome.
  • Kris Bryant talks about his successful start to the season, and says all of the things you would expect him to say about a promotion and getting to the bigs. He’s just trying to play well.
  • The Cubs’ 1920s homestand starts today, with all kinds of cool stuff this weekend.
  • CBS and Minor League Baseball have agreed to a Game of the Week deal that will feature a minor league game each week on CBS Sports Network each Thursday night throughout the Summer. The Iowa Cubs will be on TV on May 29.
  • Mitch Maier wound up back with the Royals on a minor league deal, in case you were wondering what happened to the outfielder the Cubs signed to a minor league deal, but who didn’t really play in Spring Training.
  • Your holy-adorable moment for the day, wholly unrelated to baseball or sports: dogs annoying cats with their friendship.
  • Jon

    6 man rotation?

    • Sandberg

      Piggy back starts? ;)

    • CubFan Paul

      Since no one is setting the world on fire, why not

      • dwest9cubs

        Still gotta build up that samardzija trade value.

  • pinkstonaa

    Best of luck with your son, Brett. I don’t have kids, but I have dogs and I know how crazy I get when one of them is sick. I can only imagine what it is like for a child to be sick.

    • Unlucky 13

      Yeah, best wishes to your little guy. I’m a stay-at-home dad with 2.5 year old and 12-week old girls. I know how scary your kids getting sick can be.

  • CubChymyst

    Any idea when Wada opt out date might be? Maybe the cubs can resign him to a minor/major league deal. It is likely a few starting spots will open up come the trade deadline.

    On a different note, Rizzo performance being sustainable would be awesome.

  • CubFanBob

    Anyone know what channel on DirecTV CBS Sports Network is on ?

    • DarthHater
      • Aaron

        LMGTFY might be the best thing on the internet. You know, besides Google.

    • Unlucky 13

      221. Right there with most of the other sports channels. I never watch it, but I will for the Iowa game.

      • CubFanBob

        Thanks not sure if I have it or not. Must be part of the “sports package”

        • Unlucky 13

          I have the mid-tier “Choice Xtra” package.

          • CubFanBob

            i keep changing my package, will check tonight when home..thanks Unlucky13

            • Voice of Reason

              You keep changing your package? lol

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m guessing that new MiLB Game of the Week will be blacked out on MiLB.TV. Hope that guess is wrong, but that seems to be the pattern.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Any speculation as to the “off-the-record explanation” for Rizzo’s improvements? Personal problems? Ill-ness? I’m really curious

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Probably just some mechanical or approach adjustments that he doesn’t want other teams knowing about.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, they know the important part: that some blue zones from 2013 are red zones now. However, a big part of Rizzo’s “improvement” is a greater proportion of not-well-hit balls dropping for hits. Regression said that this almost had to happen.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Steroids

      • Darth Ivy

        Aliens

  • DarthHater

    Regressive alien steroids.

    • frank

      Regressive aliens on steroids.

  • Karl Groucho

    Interesting article on “expected run differentials” — as expected based on wOBA differentials — by Dave Cameron. Basic idea: taking Pythagorean as some “true W-L” measure has itself some noise, which we can (somewhat clumsily) iron out by capturing the truth behind RA/RS.

    He has us at “overperforming” our wOBA differential by 10. Calculating our Pythagorean as a 94 RS/113 RA team, we should have won about 10.6 games — that’s a 17% increase over our current figure.

    • Karl Groucho
      • DocPeterWimsey

        You can do the same thing with OPS. Basically, just take a teams net OPS, multiple that by 1.3333 and add 0.500. That predicts well over 80% of the variation in winning percentage.

        • Karl Groucho

          I like the conceptualization more than anything else. “Expected W-L” gets too much play compared to its value; coming up with an “expectation” approach to the underlying data shades it in much the same way Pythagorean itself shades the on-paper record.

          • DarthHater

            Wins and losses are worthless stats. :-P

            • Karl Groucho

              I look forward to the day…advanced baseball analysis, as I have before said, is the locomotive of history.

              • DarthHater

                And here I thought revolutions were the locomotive of history.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            What I like is that it acknowledges a second level of “luck.” Teams can have runs where they win/lose more games than you expect given their run differential. That usually is unsustainable. However, teams can also have runs where they score/allow more/fewer runs than you’d expect given wOBA (or OPS) accrued / allowed. That also is going to be unsustainable.

            The Cubs did that last year. By the end of May, they were “on pace” to lose 20 more games than predicted given their net OPS. They wound up losing 9 more games than expected. Given that they were 7 down by the end of May, that meant that they missed expectations by all of 2 games over the final 4 months.

            • Karl Groucho

              What surprises me is that the Brewers aren’t overperforming their wOBA differential. We talked a bit about their situation the other day — and wOBA isn’t going to account for lucky BABIP/inflated LOB%/etc. on either side — but it does seem like they’re just getting a fair amount of high variance right now.

  • Rebuilding

    When was the last Cubs team to grind out at-bats like this one? Has there been one? Maybe when the Sarge was walking 100 times a year. Kaspar said we are leading the league in pitches seen per plate appearance

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The ’08 Cubs led the NL in walks drawn by a fairly comfortable margin. They actually were second in MLB, which is hard for an NL team: only the Sox drew more walks.

      • Rebuilding

        Hmmm…interesting. Thanks for looking

      • Voice of Reason

        The original post speaks of pitches seen, not walks.

        Kind of a difference there. I agree walks are big.

    • Voice of Reason

      Shows you how irrelevant that stat is.

      • DarthHater

        The 2008 Cubs won their division and the 2008 Red Sox were the AL wildcard team. So it actually shows no such thing.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Indeed, net walks is the second biggest correlate with winning: only net HR have a higher correlation.

          At any rate, the Cubs aren’t doing great here: they still have -9 net walks. The correlation is a little wonky this year, largely due to the Brewers having the best record in baseball with -10 walks. That will no doubt even out over time.

      • Drew7

        You really should consider changing that name of yours.

  • npnovak

    those dogs are just trying to get some pussy

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