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hector rondon cubsYou may have missed it, but yesterday’s win was the second in a row for the Cubs. A win today would give the Cubs their first three-game winning streak on the year, and cinch their first series win. Against the Cardinals. At Wrigley. Come on, man. It’s fate!

  • Ryan Sweeney got an MRI on his hamstring yesterday after he left the game with a leg injury, and I’d imagine we’ll get word of the results at some point today when the Cubs make a roster move. And there could be a huge number of roster moves coming today …
  • The Cubs have got to make a move today anyway to accommodate the return of Jake Arrieta, so we could actually see a series of moves. If the Cubs elect to bring up someone like Chris Coghlan, as Carrie Muskat believes they will, then the Cubs will have to bounce someone from the 40-man roster to add Coghlan (or will have to transfer Kyuji Fujikawa to the 60-day DL, which might make sense at this point). It’s conceivable that the Cubs could waive someone from the bullpen, which would open up a 40-man spot for Coghlan, open up a 25-man spot for Arrieta, and keep the bullpen at an already-robust 13 (because Carlos Villanueva is heading to the pen, which would otherwise take it to an unthinkable 14). Best guess? Fujikawa to the 60-day DL, Coghlan added to the 40 and 25-man, Sweeney to the 15-day DL, Arrieta to the 25-man, and Brian Schlitter back to Iowa. If I get all of that right, I’m playing the lottery today.
  • The baseball-wide belief that batters in the two-hole are supposed to be slap, contact hitters who frequently give themselves up to move a runner along remains one of my pet peeves. It’s actually optimally filled by the best overall hitter in your lineup, one who understands that his job isn’t to move runners over by making outs – his role is to do what a hitter should always do: hit the ball hard and get on base. Managers still haven’t caught up, however, as this FiveThirtyEight piece explains. I know it was something of a flap last year, but it’s still true: the best hitter on the Cubs’ roster for that two-hole is Anthony Rizzo (even moreso this year). I’m not complaining about where he’s hitting, mind you, because the differences in lineup construction don’t net a whole lot of extra runs, and because he’s killing the ball where he is. I’m just saying that, your best hitter should bat second, and Anthony Rizzo is the Cubs’ best hitter.
  • Speaking of Rizzo and his awesomeness this year, he’s really taken to new hitting coach Bill Mueller. Rizzo told Cubs.com: “Bill’s done it, he did it for a long time. He knows how to calm myself down personally and other guys. It’s not just mechanical, but he deals with the mental side as well.” There’s some secret sauce in there, and Rizzo/Mueller aren’t giving up the goods. That’s just fine.
  • Kerry Wood and Ted Lilly are both out scouting pitchers for the Cubs, and will be with the front office in the draft room this year (Cubs.com). It sounds like there’s some grooming going on there, and I like it.
  • Jose Veras will begin a rehab assignment with AA Tennessee soon, according to Carrie Muskat. He’s been out with a strained left oblique after a brutal start to the season.
  • Whenever Veras returns, he may not have a shot to win back the closer’s job, especially if Hector Rondon takes it and runs with it. It was just two games, but, given the way the score and innings shook out, it was clear that Ricky Renteria was planning to use Rondon as the closer yesterday and on Wednesday against the Reds (that one wound up not being a save opportunity, because the Cubs added on in the top of the 9th). Does that mean he’s now “the closer”? We’ll have to see. It’ll be interesting if there’s a save opportunity today, which would have Rondon pitching back-to-back days, and three out of four (after already having a fairly busy April). As a closer, that’s the kind of thing you’re expected to do regularly. Rondon clearly has the stuff and the numbers to justify being given the closer job at this point – he was lights out in the second half last year, and saw his velocity tick up as the year went on. This year, his numbers are fantastic: 0.63 ERA, 26.8% K rate, 7.1% BB rate, and no home runs in 14.1 innings.
  • Something I really liked about Rondon’s appearance yesterday: although it was just a one-run game, he trusted his stuff enough to attack hitters in the zone immediately. They even got some decent wood on the ball (Matt Adams really sent a liner to left), but his defense got the outs – which they’ll do for you some 70% of the time. When you walk a guy, he gets on base 100% of the time.

 

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    I disagree on best hitter batting second. I still think your best hitter should bat third. I’m not endorsing that the two hole batter be a slap around guy, mind you. But I don’t want my overall best batter (in our case, Rizzo) batting two batters after the pitcher the whole game. Your best hitter needs to protect your most powerful hitter (in our case, IT’S THE SAME GUY).

    Granted, if we wanted to shake up lineups and do more crazy than LaRussa…

    • CubFan Paul

      Yeah, these two-hole guys(nerds?) are fighting an uphill battle

      • bonger0493

        I agree with you dumbledore. I think your 3 hitter needs to be a combination of your biggest power threat and your “best hitter.” I think your 1 and 2 hitters need to have high OBP so they’re on base for the meat of your order. I just don’t think Paul goldschmidt, Andrew mccuttchen, Joey votto (long term), rizzo, buster posey, Miguel Cabrera, Stanton, Matt Holliday, Jose abreu, joe mauer, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Dustin Pedroia, etc, will be 2 hitters as they remain the “best hitter” on their roster

        • CubFan Paul

          No manager in his right mind would bat those guys 2nd

          • DocPeterWimsey

            That is more a comment on the poor quality of managers’ minds than it is about the tactic. A *smart* manager in his right mind would do this! Remember, much of managing borders on superstition: “it is known” that you do things, so you do it. That’s why guys like Earl Weaver and Dick Williams did so well: they actually *thought* about things. Now, they didn’t think of everything: but no intellectual advancements happen all at once. (The fact that we are arguing about a tactic that will be good for about one win a year shows the level of scraps over which we are arguing now!)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          And yet you’ll score a few more runs each year batting one of those guys in the #2 slot. Not a ton of runs: but maybe enough to mean an extra win or two each year.

          One of the big problems is that too many people still think of RBI as a thing in themselves rather than what they are: a by-product of the game. The value of a HR is that the batter scores: and if it pushes home people in front of him, then that’s pure gravy. The biggest value of a double is that it makes it easy for the batter to score: and if it pushes home people in front of the batter, then that’s more gravy. Ditto that for the walk. Out-walk, out-double and out-homer the opposition consistently, and you get at least 3 more games every year.

          • CubFan Paul

            “One of the big problems is that too many people still think of RBI as a thing in themselves”

            Too many people = Managers and Front Office staff

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, that’s not true of many FO’s anymore. And it’s not even true of all managers: Tito certainly knew that when he managed the Sox, and Maddon has made comments along the same lines.

              However, I’m sure that it is true of a lot of managers: they still talk of “run producers,” etc. Remember, the game still has not entirely weeded out the managers who think that speed is the most important criterion for the #1 hitter rather than OBP!

              • CubFan Paul

                “Actually, that’s not true of many FO’s anymore. And it’s not even true of all managers”

                Then why do 12 of the 13 players listed above bat 3rd/4th?

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Because the managers with the mental acumen to grasp this probably have not had time to really digest this. Eventually, they will. Remember, baseball is only just getting rid of the managers who think that speed was more important than OBP at the top of the order: 40 years after Earl Weaver first started emphasizing that!

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “Because the managers with the mental acumen to grasp this probably have not had time to really digest this”

                    False. Flat the efff out false.

                    Those guys go home with homework, come in & pour over information and more than likely probably have more up to date baseball data pouring out their ass than all of us combined.

                    “baseball is only just getting rid of the managers who think that speed was more important than OBP at the top of the order”

                    False (again (& i’m tired of seeing you say it to others all the time)).

                    There’s been a shit-ton of front office and coaching staff turnover since the sabr age and even moreso the last 5-10yrs

                    • mjhurdle

                      ““Because the managers with the mental acumen to grasp this probably have not had time to really digest this”

                      False. Flat the efff out false.”

                      why? because CubFanPaul says so, thats why!

                      and don’t ask him to back it up, he will tell you that’s not his job, and to stop changing the topic, and that you are an e-jerk.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      mjhurdle, I did say why. bl*w me ;)

                      go meddle eslewhere.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I forgot that “more than likely probably” is solid reasoning for saying something is “Flat the efff out false”.

                      it might be probably likely that perhaps sometimes occasionally often times that is actually just a load of BS. :)

                  • Crockett

                    Sorry you got yourself into this Doc. These baseball fans are not ready for things like “numbers” and “facts” and “reality”.

              • bonger0493

                I think we can all agree that your 1 and 2 hitters, regardless, are better than your 7, 8, and 9 hitters even in the American League. I personally would rather have my best hitter coming up after 2 high on base guys at the top of the order. You say having your best hitter batting second gets him about 18 more plate appearances per year with the ideal situation being your 7 and 8 hitters are on base. What is more valuable? Having your best hitter get 18 more plate appearances in an entire season, or having your best hitter coming up to bat with theoretically more runners on base in front of him

                • half_full_beer_mug

                  They have all said that the 3 hitter should be the best combination of power and OBP. If that happens to also be your best hitter (strictly OBP) then you have a decision to make.

                  The days of the 2 hitter being a “move the runner up” “slap the ball the other way” hopefully will come to an end before my time as a baseball fan is up.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              If by front office staff you mean Ruben Amaro then sure, otherwise these guys understand that RBIs are not a great individual statistic

      • DarthHater

        “Yeah, these nerd-comment guys(assholes?) are fighting an uphill battle”

        FTFY

    • Ivy Walls

      Ah Sandberg, Fisk, mind you. And best hitter is not just the statistical but the total package. Cubs do not have a full MLB roster or should I say balanced and complete everyday roster so this is moot, or muted…either way, it will evolve as the system and trades of adding materialize a better lineup.

    • Drew7

      This really is made into a bigger deal than It should be.

      Sure, the data tells us a few things: The 3-hitter sees the Most PA’s w/ 2-out, nobody on, your best hitters should bat 2 & 4, the pitcher should bat 8, etc. All of these things will lead to extra runs.

      The mistake most people make is thinking that a perfectly optimized lineup adds 5-10 runs over how the lineup is *currently* constructed, or that simply moving your best hitter from the 3-hole to the 2-hole will add a win or 2 by itself. What people forget is 1) the extra 5-10 runs is compared to the least optimal way of constructing a lineup (P leading-off, best hitter batting 9th, etc), and no manager has ever constructed a lineup that way. And 2) all of these changes *together* would account for the added runs.

      So the question then becomes, are the extra 3-4 runs this season you’d get batting Rizzo 2nd worth making him bat in a spot where he’s uncomfortable?

    • Kyle

      Advanced lineup analysis has taught us that the No. 3 spot is rather counterintuitively unimportant and not a good spot for your best hitter. It has an uncanny knack for coming up with 2 outs too often.

      • gnjaxon

        Can you provide a link to an article for this?

        • CubFan Paul

          google.com

          • Drew7

            Seriously? Talk about being an “e-jerk.”

            • CubFan Paul

              Yep, it’s 2014. The internet isn’t hard Mr.I.can’t.wait.to.call.out.Paul.

              • Drew7

                You’re right: it’s way to tempting to call out Mr. I-would-never-be-such-a-smartass-condescending-asshole-to-people’s-faces-because-I’d-get-my-ass-kicked-so-I-do-it-on-the-internet.

                Kyle is the first person ask for a source from someone making a claim he thinks may be unsubstantiated, since he knows the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. I’m sure he’d be happy to give the guy a link, but you just couldn’t resist being a dick.

                I challenge you, Paul, to go 2 weeks without posting something snarky. I know you can do it – I’ve seen it before. I even thought, “wow, Paul is a pretty smart guy.” If you could do that without your next post being, “uhh, cause I actually watch the games, nerd” I promise not to call you out anymore…for a while :)

                • CubFan Paul

                  Challenge not accepted.

                  I’m not here to impress you. How you perceive it or read into it is whateves.

        • Kyle

          Most of it comes from the published work of Tom Tango (aka Tangotiger) in his books. (He is now a Cubs employee, btw).

          Here’s an article summarizing it:
          http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by

          • Drew7

            Well, waddya know…

  • JL82

    I would definitely tab Rondon as the closer. He’s not walking batters and he’s showing a lot of confidence out there on the hill. As for Veras just release him and eat the money.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “But I don’t want my overall best batter (in our case, Rizzo) batting two batters after the pitcher the whole game.”

    Yes, you do, particularly if you have decent OBP at the bottom of the order. The pitcher is pretty much given as an out. If the bottom of the order gets on base, then you’ll hugely increase the probability of the best hitter on the team batting with those guys on base if he’s batting #2. On average, you also will get your best hitter an extra 18 or so plate appearances over a season batting him #2. (That alone is why you want to do it on an AL team.)

    Now, this will add only a handful of runs over the season: but it will *add* runs, not subtract them!

    The protection issue is moot: no matter who is batting behind your most powerful hitter, the pitchers are going to be targeting your most powerful hitter’s blue zones. We have ample data on that over recent seasons: how pitchers attack guys like Braun, Miggy, etc. is the same regardless of who is behind them. Maybe this was true before the 1990′s (but maybe not: pitchers always talked about how they’d try to get guys out with no reference to who was behind them; it is batters who believed in “protection,” not pitchers!), but now it’s basically like saying you need space in your property to house the horses for the carriage!

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-spot-in-mlb-lineups-where-managers-are-still-ignoring-sabermetrics/

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Whoops: I just realized that Brett actually posted the link! *looks sheepish* (But of course he would….)

      Still, a good read: the more links to it, the better! (*Still looks sheepish*)

      • CubFan Paul

        “Yes, you do, particularly if you have decent OBP at the bottom of the order”

        We’re talking about the Cubs

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, true: but it holds regardless. If absolutely nothing else, then the 18 extra PAs a year makes it worthwhile.

          • CubFan Paul

            But we’re talking about the Cubs, so your point is moot

            LOL@ bottom of the order OBP

            I’d have to quit my drinking game

            • Jason P

              “your point is moot”

              The one about 18 extra plate appearances? No it isn’t.

              • CubFan Paul

                “No it isn’t.”

                Not the point I was referring to Johnny Come-lately.

                Be a dick elsewhere.

    • dumbledoresacubsfan

      Still doesn’t convince me that the best hitter should bat second. In an ideal world, you have *at least* 5 solid batters in your lineup. In that case, I could see some lineup jiggering to put some high OBP guys at the bottom and a more productive batter in the two hole. But I’d keep my best hitter batting third.

      But let’s be completely honest with ourselves. Batting Rizzo in the two hole solves nothing on this team. And I guarantee Miggy will never even be considered to bat in the two hole because he can’t drive in as many runs in that spot.

      Now, if we started jiggering the lineups around like LaRussa…………

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Who cares if Miggy drives in more runs? The goal is for the Tigers to score more runs.

        But, again, if you are looking for this (or anything else) to hugely improve the Cubs offense, then it won’t. Batting Rizzo 2nd would probably garner the Cubs an extra 5-10 runs a year. That’s maybe a victory. However, it should improve the Cubs runs-scored by a small amount.

        Does the rest of the lineup need to be improved? Of course: but that’s a separate issue. What to do with your best batter is always a separate issue from how to replace your worst batter.

  • josh ruiter

    I’m all in on the best hitter batting 2nd argument, and not to “buy in to the Bill James bullshit” but the best hitter is the guy who gets on base. Do I care if its a hit or a walk? Pete? “No, you don’t”. I also endorse the best OPS guy hitting 3rd for more optimal production opportunities. In this case Rizzo is both, but because of the stark difference in OPS and relative closeness in OBP, I would like to see Valbuena hit 2nd as a .370 OBP guy, and Rizzo bat 3rd as a .915 OPS guy. I really wish we had a better 4 hitter so Castro could slot in to the 5 spot with Welly at 6, but we don’t so we deal with it. But honestly Bonifacio, Valbuena, Rizzo, Castro, and Welly have an avg. OBP of .373. I haven’t done the homework but I dare say not many teams are featuring five regulars with an avg. OBP of .373.

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    So close Brett, rosscup to Iowa instead of Schlitter

  • TommyK

    Baez went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts yesterday. I wonder what the BN posts will be when he gets sent back to AA. Probably something about how it’s nothing to worry about for some reason. Cause everything is awesome!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Irony defined.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Troll defined

      • baldtaxguy

        I’m concerned that Baez is falling too much in love with the HR after last season. I’d like to see some box scores where he makes more contact.

      • TommyK

        Where is the irony? It’s not ironic that Baez went 00 for with 3 strikeouts. That’s been very common this season. It’s not ironic that I pointed out concern over that line, because that also has been common this year. I suppose it might be consideted ironic that. I posted something slightly critical of the website given that I check the website multiple times a day. I really like this website, but I do think you guys tend to view things through Cubs colored glasses.

        As for me being a troll, I’ll just roll my eyes. Having a negative take does not make me a troll.

        • Funn Dave

          I couldn’t identify the irony, either.

        • Soda Popinski

          The irony, there, Tommy, is that you were bashing people on this site for being too optimistic, when you are absolutely overreacting to a small sample size. The fact that you now think Baez will go back to AA after a slow start is ironic because of the exaggerated negativity you have after pointing out that we are overly optimistic.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That’d be it.

    • Ivy Walls

      I watched Baez live in Colorado Springs. Here is my take along with a brief conversation with a minor league scout a few days later about my observations, (he is on the road 5 days a week now, a neighbor), Baez is being humbled. He needs to develop plate discipline and pitch recognition and this is a process, he is seeing (rightfully so) mostly breaking balls and often pitches not in the strike zone and still swinging, (Question, how many Cubs on the MLB roster are in this category, let me see; Lake, possibly Olt), so Baez is young and needs time to season.

      I then talked about Vitters who looked totally lost and dejected, and the answer is he probably is after not making the club at ST, he had better get out of the blues because never know if and when opportunity knocks, (look here Sweeney is now on the DL). Vitters was never developed by a system that didn’t actually develop players, coulda, woulda, shoulda—new scenery and new slate would do wonders.

      As for my excitement regarding Alcantara, (he was 5-7 at the game I witnessed), this is a kid who was developed, has above average talent that he and the program are developing, he could be something special within the ‘ceiling’ he possesses—smarter than most people perceive—responsive to game situations—clutch.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        “He needs to develop plate discipline and pitch recognition and this is a process”

        It’s pretty distressing to read that scouts still think that this is a “process.” It’s not 1990 anymore: scouts really should know that things like basic pitch recognition rarely evolve much in individual players, even in the minors. Yes, there was Sammy Sosa: but he represents the extreme tail in the distribution that we’d expect just by chance. (In fact, he is the extreme over the last few decades!)

        Ditto this for Vitters: there isn’t a system that would have “taught” him to recognize pitches. Instead, there were systems that probably wouldn’t have drafted him in the first place because they value pitch recognition. The teams with lots of high OBP guys in their minors are that way because they *draft* (or otherwise sign) players who show good pitch recognition while young.

        • cubzfan

          Well, let me combine this with your comment below, that you don’t succeed by hitting the breaking stuff, you succeed by laying off of it. We don’t really know that Baez can’t recognize pitches well, because it’s also possible that he thinks he can hit breaking pitches, so he swings at them. So far in his career, while he’s probably done most of his damage against fastballs, he has also seen a lot of weak breaking stuff. Now he’s facing pitchers with better breaking balls. So, while it may be very difficult to learn pitch recognition, it’s possible that all Baez needs to learn is a little humility, as in “there’s a breaking ball coming from a guy I know has a good one” and decide not to swing. It sounds to me like that’s what Ivy’s friend was saying. Baez needs to learn to lay off certain pitches. When does an observer know the difference between poor pitch recognition and poor batting approach? I guess as a coach, you’d know from talking to the player. As a fan, it seems AAA is a pretty good test. One that Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, and Mike Olt never passed in a way we hope Baez will.

        • Kyle

          I don’t know how many times you intend on ignoring how much Vitters’ plate discipline *has* improved in the last five years.

    • Voice of Reason

      Bryant will be the first of the four to arrive and he will stick around and be solid.

      Its hard to say about almora as he is still green. Baez is too raw and soler has fukudome written all over him.

      In 5 years Bryant and almora will be up with the cubs. That’s what my gut tells me.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        I’d like to know what you think Soler and Fukudome have in common??

        • Ivy Walls

          they like to eat fish tacos

        • Voice of Reason

          Fukudome was a highly touted import who never developed into the player that he was regarded as.

          I see soler riding that same rail.

          Out of all these prospects from alcantera to villanueva only a small hand full will make it and stick with the big team. That’s just a fact. Maybe up to 3.

          I believe Bryant is a can’t miss. I also believe almora could be something special.

          Baez is only 21 but I’m just not sold on him. He is the #4 prospect so there are plenty of people who do. It might take him another 3 years to get to the majors? He is no where near ready right now. I could see him back in double a if he doesn’t get squared away soon in Iowa.

          • CubFan Paul

            “never developed into the player that he was regarded as”

            Sure about that?

            • Voice of Reason

              Fukudome was just very average as a cub. He was expected to be better than very average.

              • CubFan Paul

                Fukudome was an *above average* player, just not by your standards

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Re: Soler and Fukudome, Fuk was 31 when he came over, Soler was 20, they aren’t even close to comparable. Like Paul said, Fukudome turned into a player pretty close to what many thought he would be, great on base skills, good defense, but not much else.

            Re: Baez, you realize he’s played 3 weeks of AAA ball right?? There is also more of a chance of me playing 3 years at AAA for the Cubs than there is of Baez doing it.

            • Voice of Reason

              How do you know how long Baez will be in the minors? You do understand that some spend 5+ years in the minors and never get promoted.

              Since the season just started isn’t it obvious that Baez has only played about 3 weeks in triple a. But, thanks for the breaking news, captain obvious.

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Many do spend that much time at AAA, but it’s very rare that a top 5 prospect in all of baseball spend that much time at AAA for the same organization. 3 years from now, Baez will either be in the majors for the Cubs or with another organization, and I would wager quite a bit of money on that.

                • Voice of Reason

                  It is very rare, but remember Baez is just 21.

                  There are top 10 prospects who are 24/25 and could be a year away. That would make them 25/26.

                  So, in 3 years Baez will be 24. Referencing my point that he could spend 3 years more in the minors.

                  Does that make sense?

                  • Drew7

                    “There are top 10 prospects who are 24/25 and could be a year away. That would make them 25/26.”

                    There are? I can’t think of any, but I suppose a late-blooming prospect drafted out of college could fit that description.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Guys who are 24 and just make it to the majors don’t become stars. The player we think Baez is going to be gets to the majors at 21 and proves he belongs. Trout, Harper, Machado, Bogearts…Baez was being talked about as the best prospect in baseball. If he doesn’t make it up this year it’s a disappointment.

                    • benjamin

                      What’s the difference if Baez makes it at 22 and it equivalent? I’ll take it.

          • ssckelley

            Fukodome came over late in his career, he was 31 in his rookie season. I am not sure what the expectations of him were but he was a career 5 WIN player in 3.5 seasons as a Cub. His career .369 OBP (as a Cub) would look really good in the Cubs lineup right now. I think he would have had a lot more success in the majors if he had come over when he was 27 or 28.

            • Voice of Reason

              Fukudome are both outfielders and both imports. Just the fact that they’re both outfielders can lead to comparisons. Jesus Christ its simple conversation

              • mjhurdle

                ya, and they are both humans. and they both eat food. and they both need water to survive.

                basically they are exactly the same

              • Jon

                Fukudome was imported as a ready to go MLB player.
                Soler was imported as a teenage prospect.

                Now Fukudome failed to live up to expectations as Soler may ultimately do the same, but it’s literally the dumbest comparison.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Both are outfielders. Fukudome was very average and soler is heading down that path of being very average.

                  Unless your cub fan Paul who thinks fukudome was a above average. Lol

                  • Jon

                    When he plays his #s are pretty good. He’s heading down a path of injury plagued career not underperformance on the field. I have no idea what you are talking about to be honest

                  • ssckelley

                    Wouldn’t the 5 WAR in 3.5 seasons suggest that he actually was above average?

                    • Drew7

                      Average > replacement level

                    • Kyle

                      No. As a good rule of thumb, average is 2-2.5 WAR per year.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “Unless your cub fan Paul who thinks fukudome was a above average. Lol”

                    the “Voice of Reason” always forgets how to use fangraphs and baseball ref

                    • Drew7

                      Well, FG has him at slightly above average in 2009, but that’s it.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      & baseball ref has him with an above average ops+ 3 of the 5 years he got significant playing time (89 & 98 in the other two).

                    • Jon

                      I hate to play the arbitrary endpoints game, but we all know the story with Fukodome. He was out of this world for the first couple of months in 2008. The the league adjusted. And that was that

                  • roz

                    His wRC+ in 2008/2009/2010 were 91/110/118. So while he was 9% below average in 2008, he was 10% and 18% better than average in 2009 and 2010. His 3 year total wRC+ was 105, so yea, he was slightly above average.

                    • Drew7

                      All wRC+ tells us is his bat was above-average relative to the rest of the league offensively. I doubt those numbers were average among RF’ers.

                    • roz

                      27th among RFs, 17th among CFs, and tied for 57th among all OFs. So yea, not great.

              • ssckelley

                Jesus Christ is a little much……ssckelley is fine along with ssc or kelley.

            • mudge

              Fukudome should have led off for the Cubs and his signing would have made more sense.

              • CubFan Paul

                Funny.

          • mjhurdle

            [img]http://postimg.org/image/72ww0dnpr/[/img]

        • Medicos

          Both Soler and Fukudome are both fluent in speaking Japanese.

        • mjhurdle

          “soler has fukudome written all over him”

          this was one of the funniest things i have read in awhile. had me literally LOLing.

          • Voice of Reason

            So you think fukudome was as good as expected from him?

            Or you think soler will be something special?

            • Patrick W.

              Soler has Ichiro written all over him. They’re both imports they both play outfield. Soler will be Ichiro.

              • half_full_beer_mug

                I’m trying to figure out how either of you have been close enough to read his tattoos.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Man catching up with comments is fun…

      • Ivy Walls

        Alcantara, Bryant, Almora….

        Baez is a huge decision, Soler appears to be trade bait

        • Voice of Reason

          Baez can’t hit a hook. All the pitchers know that. So, he will always see the curve until he proves otherwise.

          He.might not ever be able to hit it. If he can’t, he obviously won’t make it to the bigs.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Batters don’t’ make the big leagues by hitting curveballs; you make the big leagues by laying off of them.

            (That is why pitchers who can throw the curveballs for strikes consistently are worth their weight in platinum. Hell, mithril!)

  • Ivy Walls

    So taking this data and applying it to the Cubs the lineup should be:

    Bonafacio
    Rizzo
    Castillo
    Castro
    Schierholtz
    Olt/Valbuena
    Kalish/(Ruggiano?)
    CF (Sweeney? Lake?)

    • CubFan Paul

      Castillo isn’t a middle of the order guy

      • Ivy Walls

        I understand that on the traditional whole, but Rizzo and Castro are your 2 best hitters and Castillo has been clutch lately, who would you put in there, Schierholtz or Valbuena?

        Roster not set

        • CubFan Paul

          Rizzo would be 3rd or 4th in my theoretical lineup with Bonifaco and Valbuena up top (or Bonifaco&Castro).

          Welly would be 6-9 depending on the day, no matter his clutch-ness.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Take their ZIPS projections and run it through this: http://lineupsimulator.com/Default.aspx.

      There was a program out there that would do this AND compare it to what the best lineup would do. However, either that one is moved or gone.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Zimmer wanted Sandberg to bat 3rd but refused to do it. Rizzo does not want to bat 2nd and he won’t.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Rizzo also said that the job of the #2 guy was to ground out to the opposite side of the infield to advance runners. What you need is a manager like Tito who told every batter that he had the same job: get on base, preferably by driving the ball.

      • CubFan Paul

        Tito’s best hitters bat 3rd and 4th.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Probably because Tito hasn’t digested this stuff yet.

          • CubFan Paul

            Lol@people who get paid to know&execute the game knowing less than bloggers and commenters

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Which means that guys like Tito probably will get around to realizing this: after all, it takes time to figure out these things. (Tito is very good at this stuff for a baseball manager: it would be optimistic in the extreme to assume that he’ll understand probability models as quickly as someone like me.)

              • CubFan Paul

                “it would be optimistic in the extreme to assume that he’ll understand probability models as quickly as someone like me”

                He’s rich and has resources. He could learn at any pace

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  That in no way follows. Picking up on probability models is analogous to picking up pitches or judging flyballs: some minds just do it much more quickly than others. Moreover, there simply are limits for most people: there are intellectual Gordian knots that they just cannot get past.

                  (For me, it was whatever the hell that math was 3 years after dif eq! It all went from “See Dick Run, See Spot Run” to Charlie Brown Teacher “Wawh wawh wawh….”)

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “some minds just do it much more quickly than others”

                    & baseball wasn’t created yesterday.

                    Just because Front Offices (and our “smartest front office”) aren’t implementing what you want, it doesn’t make you smarter at the sport that they are paid to learn and execute.

                    Theo&Co had their computer system in Boston and they’ve done the same in Chicago by *SPENDING MILLIONS* on technology, Bloomberg, and personnel.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      There is no “at the sport” aspect here. It’s all about probability. In any game of chance, there are tactics that maximize beneficial outcomes. Here, the beneficial outcome is scoring runs.

                      Remember, it’s all just X’s and Y’s: changing it from “runs” and “PAs” to “extinctions” and “species” or anything else doesn’t alter the logic or math.

                  • Mike

                    You say that like baseball is the same as the lottery and there is no skill involved. Sometimes I wonder if you even believe what you are saying.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Exactly Mike.

                    • half_full_beer_mug

                      What? If that’s what you get from Doc’s post you really just ought to not read them, because I’m pretty sure you don’t understand them.

  • Cizzle

    Bill Mueller was a great hire as hitting coach. I hope he sticks around to coach the kids who are about to come up. Great approach, great contact hitter and apparently he can teach it too!

  • ssckelley

    IMO I want the best on base guy to be in that #2 spot so that way the best hitter is coming up with either a runner in scoring position and/or 2 on. To me it makes more sense to have someone that can go deep into counts giving your leadoff hitter a chance to steal second if he gets on base.

    In looking at the Cubs roster my ideal #2 hitter would be either Valbuena if he is in the lineup or (gasp) Castillo, he has a career .343 OBP.

    • CubFan Paul

      “or (gasp) Castillo, he has a career .343 OBP”

      I think you also have to factor in baserunning ability for the two hole also.

      • ssckelley

        Speed is nice in that #2 spot as well but OBP > Speed in that 2 spot (IMO). Valbuena is not all that fast either.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Where speed really helps is at the bottom of the order. Speed will create more runs that otherwise would not have scored in front of bad hitters than it does in front of good hitters. Moreover, getting thrown out on the base paths hurts more in front of good hitters than it does in front of bad hitters.

          (We saw that with Hamilton and the Reds last series: his caught stealing deprived the Reds of a run whereas his SB came in sequences where he would have scored anyway OR didn’t score in the end.)

          • ssckelley

            I was not thinking base stealing at all for the #2 hitter, if my best hitter is coming up at #3 personally I am not sending them. But the speed is nice if my best hitter hits a double or for going from first to third on a single.

            IMO, if I have my best hitter at the plate nobody is running (even the leadoff guy).

        • CubFan Paul

          “Speed is nice in that #2 spot as well but…Valbuena is not all that fast either.”

          I never mentioned “speed”. that’s totally different.

          • ssckelley

            Speed is part of base running ability so I am not sure what you mean by “totally different”.

            • CubFan Paul

              “so I am not sure what you mean by “totally different””

              Yes, speed is a part of base-running, but you don’t have to be fast to be a good base-runner.

              My point is: Welly is a below average base-runner and that should be factored in when looking at the two-hole

              • ssckelley

                and you say that because Castillo is slow, correct?

                I think you meant to say “smart” baserunner, but I have never heard (or seen) Castillo be a bad baserunner other than the fact he is not fast.

                • CubFan Paul

                  “and you say that because Castillo is slow, correct?”

                  No. As i said above: I never mentioned “speed”. that’s totally different.

                  “but I have never heard (or seen) Castillo be a bad baserunner”

                  There’s a stat for that also.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Base-running not going to be that important, unless the guy is like Theriot or something. The bigger issue for Castillo is whether he’s really a 0.343 OBP guy: he projects a little lower than that, and this year’s numbers represent small sample sizes still.

    • Ivy Walls

      sense is thw math

  • Spoda17

    I am not a fan of your “best” hitter batting second. I think your best OB hitter with less power bats second. I still think your power needs to be 3-4-5. If Rizzo had less power, than maybe I would put him second (joey Votto?).

    The game always starts with a leadoff man… and so forth. So to make the argument, the second place best hitter has to wait one cycle through the line up to drive in “these” extra runs. I have never seen any data that suggests that the second hitter is the RBI guy. In a perfect world, maybe it makes sense if you are counting on your 7-8-9 hitter getting on base 25-30% of the time, but that is just not reality. If your bottom of the line-up is hitting .285-.300, then the lineup strategy is pretty much moot; you are scoring runs regardless who is batting second.

  • berselius

    The Reds should have given Brian Price a contract extension as soon as he replaced Dusty Baker favorite Zach Cozart (career wOBA .291) in the second spot with Joey Votto.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Dusty was one of the last of managers who firmly believed that you choose your #1 & #2 hitters from your SS, 2B & CFers, with the odd-guy out batting 8th.

  • mjhurdle

    No mention of one of the best parts about the game yesterday. Cardinal fan falling and possibly taking a ball off the dome while trying to catch foul ball. (its ok to laugh because apparently he was fine :) )

    http://wapc.mlb.com/cutfour/2014/05/02/74116482/cards-fan-showcases-midwestern-toughness-in-failed-foul-ball-catch

    • ssckelley

      That was awesome, hard to see how in the heck he got in that position to begin with.

      I also liked the Cubs guy coming over, it almost appears like he is going to offer him a Cubs hat and then he pulls it away when he noticed it was a Cardinals fan.

  • Jon

    There is actually a lot to like about Soler. He doesn’t strike out nearly as much as Bryant/Baez and walks more than Baez/Almora. There is a lot of “safe” about him. He just has to stay healthy for more than 5 minutes

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