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tsuyoshi wada cubsYesterday Tsuyoshi Wada had his worst start of the season.

Now before you start burning your Wada jerseys (you do own a Wada jersey don’t you?), let’s set that bad start into context.

Over six innings Wada needed just 87 pitches. He allowed three runs (that’s not so bad) on six hits and two walks and only struck out one (ouch). And he allowed two home runs (double ouch) in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the Pacific Coast League (if you’re prone to panicking, this would be the place to do it).

But, really, once you get past the word “worst,” Wada’s start wasn’t awful. Compared to the rest of his amazingly good campaign it was bad, but set into the context of fairly typical PCL pitching performances it doesn’t really stand out.

In fact, his worst start just goes to highlight how ridiculously good he has been this season. Even after yesterday he still has an ERA of 1.21 over 31.1 innings. Even for a rather veteran ‘prospect’, that’s impressive. If he can put up anything close to those results in Chicago when he is called up, the Cubs are going to be very happy indeed. His ERA could triple in the bigs and it would still be solid.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - It took eleven innings, but the Cubs won 5-4.
Tennessee - The Smokies scored all their runs in their final three innings and won 4-1.
Daytona - Cubs picked up a run in the seventh, but they needed more. The Cubs lost 5-1.
Kane County - Kane County took the early and often approach to scoring in this game, and it led to an 8-2 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] After Wada left the game, Carlos Pimentel, Zac Rosscup, and Marcos Mateo all turned quality innings in relief.
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters has definitely broken out of his slump. He hit 2 more home runs in this game and has now homered in 3 straight games.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez, on the other hand, is still slumping. He finished 0 for 4 and struck out twice. He did draw another walk, though, his 5th in the past week or so.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant left after one at bat, but it turned out to be due to a mild stomach illness. The Smokies radio man says he should be fine and back in the lineup today. Interestingly, today is All-You-Can-Eat Wednesday. There is a probably a joke in there somewhere.
  • [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno is on a remarkable run. After yesterday’s 3 for 3 performance, Bruno has now doubled in 5 straight games. He was walked twice and struck out twice in that span.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva, believe it or not, walked twice. He has now drawn a walk in two straight games, and in 5 of his past 8 games. Over those 8 games he has more walks (6) than strikeouts (5). Aberration? Sample size fluke? An amazing infusion of patience? We’ll see as the season progresses.
  • [Daytona] Albert Almora walked, doubled, and stole his second base of the season.
  • [Daytona] Starling Peralta pitched 3.1 innings of relief. He allowed 2 hits, a walk, and struck out 6.
  • [Kane County] Catcher Will Remillard keeps on hitting. He finished this game 3 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk. In his last 10 games he has 6 (!!!) multi-hit games and just 3 strikeouts. For the season he has as many doubles as he does walks and strikeouts at 8 apiece.
  • [Kane County] Daury Torrez did not strike out many, but he did not allow many chances either. Over 6 innings he gave up just 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out a pair. Jose Arias struck out 3 in 2 innings of relief.

Other News

  • In the Iowa game, the pitching Win went to Zac Rosscup. Rosscup pitched one very good inning, but got the win simply because he happened to be the last guy on the mound before the Cubs took the lead.  This is a perfect example of why wins as a pitching stat tell us nothing. What is so special about this inning pitched by Rosscup that it gets a W when other, equally effective innings don’t? The fact this inning happened to precede the Cubs taking the lead, an event in which Rosscup played no part. That’s what. This is just another example of why pitching wins are quite possibly the most arbitrary and entirely useless statistic in all of professional sports.
  • Jose Veras pitched one inning and struck out one in his first rehab start in Tennessee.
  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Luke, I agree that pitcher wins, especially in the bullpen, mean nothing. The best is what a guy blows the save, but his team bails him out and he gets the W.

    However, as I’ve said before, I’m pretty sure they still matter to starting pitchers. Especially guys like Shark that seem to lose lots of them due to a lack of offense or faulty pen work.

    When a starters W/L record and ERA are not longer listed in the daily probables, then we’ll know the entire baseball universe is catching on.

  • jp3

    Ha, Vitters last 4 hits have been homers but his last hit before those 4 was over 20 ABs before that little streak. I was thinking how much he was struggling something must have been wrong physically. Looks to be on a roll now though.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      As much success as Vitters has already had in Triple A, it would not surprise me if his recent dry spell was something mechanical getting a little out of whack.

      It happens.

      • jp3

        I agree Luke, I was just waiting during that off period before the homer binge started to hear he had a shoulder problem or oblique strain or something that was hampering his swing because he’s not been this bad at AAA since he first came up to Iowa.

  • jp3

    As dumb as that stat is (W/L) “20 Game winner” used to be the gold standard on pitchers. I think at a glance near the end of the year if someone is a 20 game winner you know they were probably pretty good. The late Jose Lima was a great case study on this. In 1999 he was 21-10 with an era of 3.58 and FIP of 3.76 while in 2000 he was 7-16 and had an era over 6 and his fip was 6.12. W-L record at the end of the season could be a snapshot at least in determining what a players year looked like, most of the time barring terrible luck like shark has had.

    • Chad

      To be a 20 game winner you have to be a good pitcher or have excessive luck on an amazingly good team. Max Scherzer is in fact a good pitcher. However the flip side is a guy like King Felix who only has passed the 15 win mark once and he is probably a top 5 pitcher in the game. the W/L tells you oh so very little that it’s still pointless. The W/L should be left to the team and team only.

      I always think why go to the pitchers, the Rosscup example is a perfect one, as is the blown save one previously posted, but what about position players. If a guy goes 4-4 shouldn’t he get a win if his team wins, but if he goes 0-4 should he get a loss if he loses, but what if he goes 0-4 and they win? A no decision? W/L for an individual player is just pointless. They are not individual match-ups like in wrestling where you can win as an individual but lose as a team etc. It’s strictly a team sport.

      • jp3

        Goodness I’m saying it is still a snapshot of how a players year went just like king Felix as you mentioned lost more than he won only twice and one of those years he had an era over 4.5…. Not a good year will that make. I agree it’s almost a worthless stat but AT THE END OF THE YEAR I feel like it’s not terrible.

  • itzscott

    Wada ya think was wrong with him last night?

    • http://obstructedview.net Myles

      I see everyone playing on the fact that his last name is Wada, and NO ONE is saying that Tsuyoshi laid an egg yesterday. It rights itself!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Believe me, I was tempted. So very, very tempted.

  • http://obstructedview.net Myles

    Writes, not rights. I’m braindead.

  • CubChymyst

    Bruno might turn into a solid prospect in his own right if he keeps it up.

    • another JP

      I’m certain to be in the minority but I think Bruno is the best pure hitter in the organization.

      • Brocktoon

        I don’t think Bruno himself is in that minority

  • jp3

    Well that start he made last night is over…it’s wada under the bridge

    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

      Wada you want out of Wada?

      Wanta less minor glory more MLB story, glory.

      We need Fozie Bear…to crack jokes. I suck at it. ;)

    • Spriggs

      I almost swallowed my wada chaw after the 2nd homer he gave up.

      • DarthHater

        Wada ya gonna do?

        • Spriggs

          Just wadded up my scorecard and went home.

  • AA Correspondant

    It was great to see Anthony Giansanti hit a home run to break a tie yesterday which led to the Smokies 8th victory in the past 9 games. When you have seen as many minor league games as I have you realize very quickly that guys like Anthony Giansanti seem to be the type of players that every team needs. I call them “glue guys” as they are the glue that keeps teams together. He keeps the team loose. Has a passion for the game and has versatility that makes him an asset to his manager. He has played outfield, 2nd base and even filled in as an emergency pitcher this season. Jonathan Mota and Nate Samson were the same way the last couple of years. Again, these guys get over looked as prospects, but their versatility, attitude and professional approach is something I personally enjoy watching as much as anything else. The stats don’t jump off the page with some of these guys, but when a “glue guy” homers, and the team rushes to the top step to congratulate him, you realize just how respected and well liked they are in the club house. The Smokies have lots of high ceiling prospects coming through this season, and I believe we are in for a fun time at Smokies park this season. Congrats to the glue guys who continue to show up everyday, prepare for their opportunity and make the most of it when they get to play.

  • V23

    Bring Vitters up when he’s hot. Get him in the lineup everyday. Throw Lake, Olt in there everyday, and let’s see what happens.

    Can it be WORSE than the offense now? Please, please please no more Barney!

    Seriously, by next year, will the Cubs even know what they have with Olt, Lake, Vitters, Baez, Bryant, Alcantara or any other higher organizational hitters?

    How does the team act in the offseason, if they don’t even know WTF they have???????????

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

      Olt and Lake are both guys that are going to struggle making enough contact to be productive major leaguers and, barring a major turnaround, they both are the RH bat in a platoon.

      Baez and Bryant might not get a look this year if the FO doesn’t think they are ready. With that said, I’m guessing they both get looks this year.

      Bringing Vitters up when he is hot isn’t going to change anything regarding his chances of success in the bigs. At 24 he is pretty much the hitter he is going to be and a hot streak doesn’t change that nor does it help his chances of success as it has no predictive ability.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        True, but if he is the hitter his Triple A line suggests he is, he’s got a pretty good shot of putting up decent numbers as a left fielder.

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

          Ya, I didn’t mean that as a negative. He appears that he could be a league average-ish LF.

          • Spriggs

            A league average-ish LF’er isn’t much to look forward to in the majors… especially one that appears to have significant defensive flaws.

            • Sandberg

              Better than what we’re trotting out there now.

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

              Very true but if we could get 1.5-2 WAR out of LF it’s a decent stop-gap.

      • V23

        Hasman- Olt has an extremely limited major league amount of time to judge. However, you feel you already know enough, even though he just had an eye injury hopefully solved in the offseason.

        But ya, keep having 30-year old scrap heap guys pollute my tv.

        Olt takes walks and has power. Give him a fricken chance.

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

          We have far too limited of major league time to know if he takes walks and hits for power.

          I suppose we could look at his minor league numbers which always suggested he would struggle to make a lot of contact.

          Carlos Pena is about the limit of what a guy can do when it comes to success in the majors while having struggles making contact and he only K’d in the minors 20% of the time. (Which translated to a 26% MLB K rate)

          It’s the reason I am so low on Bryant and I worry mightily for Baez.

  • SenorGato

    Isnt the whole pitchers W/L thing more about how people dont understand stats? How they try to read more info out of it than the number actually offers? How people keep searching for one God number that sums everything neatly?

    • jp3

      I think there are more definitive pitcher numbers to examine during the season to see how he’s pitching currently during the season but I still think W/L record can at least give you an inkling if his other more accurate stats such as era, fip, whip are any good. Shark has had terrible luck this year at 0-3 in 7 starts. Last year he was 8-13 with an era 4.34, with a better team I guess his record is close to .500 maybe a few wins over? I think he was great for half the year and not that great in another and that’s why his record wasn’t good.

      • SenorGato

        There are definitely better, more telling numbers than W/L and generally speaking it is a stupid number. OTOH I’ve seen people make really shitty arguments using WAR (Garza vs. Randy Wells is embedded in my mind forever)…To me this comes down the tendency to take more out of a number than it offers. There’s lots of info on MLB players these days but you rarely see most of it put on the table in discussion.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I’m curious… what does a pitcher’s win total tell you about the pitcher?

          Not that he is a good pitcher, because bad pitchers often get wins.
          Not that he is a starter, because the same stat applies to starters and relievers (although with different rules).
          Not that he pitched well in a particular game, because even in a 22-21 contest, some pitcher had to get the win.
          Not that he able to miss bats, or get ground balls, or avoid home runs, or avoid walks, or any other per-batter attribute of a good pitcher.

          I honestly don’t know what looking at the win total for a pitcher tells me. When I say it is meaningless, I am speaking literally and not exaggerating at all. I do not see anything that it actually means.

          • SenorGato

            Completely isolated and by itself? Absolutely nothing. I still think the bigger issue is that people don’t use all the info for one reason or another, probably rooted in the human tendency to be a little lazy.

            • Norm

              Does it tell you anything even when used with other stats?

              250 innings pitched
              2.30 ERA
              1.10 WHIP
              8.5 K/9
              2.5 BB/9

              If you have all that, what does the W/L record add?

              • Drew7

                TWTW

            • SenorGato

              It’s also pretty well beaten into the ground over the past decade how worthless W/L record actually is when analyzing and predicting a pitcher’s performance today. OTOH I probably don’t mind it being part of someone’s HOF case for instance – it’s still not an easy thing to compile. No reason to eliminate the number or anything, it’s just a tool that a smaller and smaller number of people use and significantly overvalue.

  • half_full_beer_mug

    Hasn’t this W/L stuff been beat enough. Everyone knows that it’s flawed, everyone knows who wants to get rid of it, and everyone knows who wants it to stay. If you don’t like the stat don’t look at it got somewhere else where all those other stats reside and read numbers until your eyes cross.

  • TommyK

    Unless I missed something, that’s 10 strikeouts and 0 hits in Baez’s last 17 plate appearances.

  • CubsinCarolina

    Have you thought about doing a prospects that have surprised/disappointed so far into the year for a week in review?

    • jp3

      He already did grades to this point, do you mean how they are doing every week? If so I don’t think like likes doing thing with small sample sizes and dissecting every week’s wperformance would be exactly that. I could be wrong though

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        “I don’t think like likes doing thing with small sample sizes”

        You are absolutely correct.

        • jp3

          Dang it, “I don’t think he likes doing numbers with small sample sizes” is what I was really trying to say. Sorry I fubared that.

      • CubsinCarolina

        whoops didn’t see the article from last week, must have missed it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’ve been doing quite a bit of that sort of thing with the Sunday article lately.

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm
  • DarthHater

    Almora’s really piling up those walks now.

    • jp3

      Yeah I heard he’s practicing meditation at the plate and that how he’s been able to not swing occasionally at the plate a couple times in the last week.

  • V23

    If Olt can’t play everyday, why in gods name is Schierholtz? No power. Terrible OPS, terrible ONB…..

    Just don’t get the selective nature of Ricky’s rules

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      We screwed up las year when we didn’t move Schierholtz before he trade deadline. Stll he plays better than average defense IMO.

      • Jon

        Schierholtz recents spits (OPS)

        2013
        July .733
        August .781
        September .503
        2014
        April .492

        He’s been quite awful for a 1/2 season now. The FO sure did think they pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes this offseason with the Schierholtz/Ruggiano platoon.

        • Jon

          Who is RR going to player over Schierholtz though? Have people seen the garbage ass 25 particularity the outfielders? Why blame the manager?

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

      ONB?

  • Mr Gonzo

    It appears that Baez might need a slump-buster sent to his hotel room.

  • willis

    Soler in the lineup today for Tennessee. That is awesome. Let’s just hope he can have a stretch of healthy play.

    • JB88

      Jon, paging Jon …

      :)

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

      Over/under: 3.5 PA before his next DL stint.

      • JB88

        I’ll take the over.

        *Crosses every appendage on his person*

  • willis

    Baez with two hits today and only one strikeout. Boy is that lovely to see. And Vitters with another couple of hits. Dude is on fire these last few days.

    • another JP

      And Rusin with a no-hitter into the 6th inning….

      • willis

        I purposely left that out. I’m insanely superstitious about those words :)

        • another JP

          Gotcha… now going to the 8th inning and guess what??

          • willis

            Oh I’m watching.

            • another JP

              3-5 for Baez today and he made a fine play to keep no-no intact for Rusin.

              Sounds like Rusin to be pulled in 9th- bummer. With over 100 pitches and what happened with Shark the other night I’ll bet a conservative approach was stressed or else.

            • another JP

              Uh- correction… Rusin coming in for bottom of 9th-

          • another JP

            Last 9 inning no-hitter by a Cubs AAA pitcher by Reggie Patterson in 1984…

            • college_of_coaches

              Great reference. I remember Reggie as a September call-up in 84 and 85. I seem to recall that he’d occasionally throw a knuckleball.

            • another JP

              Yes!! Sczcur with diving catch for the no-no!

              • cubbiekoolaid2015

                +1!

      • J. L.

        He did it!

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