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mike olt!BP put on a great event at Miller Park yesterday (a hearty hat tip to Adam Brown for the ride to and fro), and it was very cool to meet in person some folks I’d only corresponded with in print before. There were quite a few BN’ers in attendance, too, and it was great to meet them as well. I’m not going to say I had too good of a time, but I will say that the prospect of writing this and then heading out for a six hour drive is less than attractive. #dontwant

  • Mike Olt is starting to feel more comfortable at the plate, telling the Tribune that, “Earlier on, I feel I got myself out a lot. I wasn’t really aggressive in the count. I was letting some good pitches go and and being over aggressive when I was behind in the count. I’m definitely trying to lock in for the whole at-bat, and when I do get a pitch I can drive, I want to take advantage. And when I don’t, I want to be able to lay off.” That’s offensive success in a nutshell, and Olt certainly has seemed to be that guy of late. You never want to put too much stock in tiny samples, but Olt has a .357/.500/1.000 line over his last five games, raising his season line in the process from .156/.214/.359 to .192/.273/.474 (with a spot-on league average 100 OPS+). Obviously you’d like to see the average and the OBP come up, but dat ISO tho.
  • Now that the Cubs have entered a phase of the season where the early-season surprise pretty clearly isn’t going to happen, in terms of their competitiveness, and also now that there seems to be more willingness to play Luis Valbuena at second base with regularity (particularly with Emilio Bonifacio play so much in the outfield after the injuries out there), I hope that we see Olt getting very regular starts at third base. I totally agree with the way he was eased into things, and the way Ricky Renteria utilized platoons early on to maximize the performance of an otherwise thin roster, but, yeah, we’re there now. It’s time to see what happens (when people stop being polite, and start getting real) when Olt is given regular starts over the course of a full month. If he can be a .225/.310/.480 guy (and, from the early look of things, he can be that guy) going forward? You’d gladly take that.
  • Every hit that Jason Hammel gave up last night – seven of ‘em – was a two-out single. (Cubs.com)
  • Jesse Rogers writes about Kris Bryant’s domination, and what comes next.
  • A nice Mother’s Day story about Justin Grimm and his mom, who provided a sufficient kick in the rear to get him where he is today. (Cubs.com)
  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    Dear God I hope Olt can keep his strikeouts below 30%. The HR rate will probably slow down but some of those will turn into doubles and some of his early BABIP woes will reverse.

    Maybe he can be a .775+ OPS guy with solid D at third. If that’s the case it appears the Garza trade was a full on pillage of the Rangers.

  • bonger0493

    What is olts upside? Does he have the potential to be a .250-.260 hitter?

    • mudge

      yes

    • snakdad

      With that whiff rate, it’s hard to tell. But, when he does put wood on the ball, it’s squared up. Like I’ve been saying, worst case—RH Pedro Alvarez. But they have absolutely NOTHING to lose by running him out there every day and seeing what he does when he’s not stressing about every at bat possibly being his last for four games. It’s not like he’d be stealing playing time from anybody who matters.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, the whiff rate is what tells us that Olt is going to have real problems batting 0.250. If you are whiffing 30% of the time, then you have to bat 0.358 when you make contact to bat 0.250. Now, Olt’s HR rate will help there: but even with a good HR rate, he’d still need above-average BABiP to get to 0.250. That’s a lot of sheep to sacrifice.

        But, again: FORGET ABOUT BA!!! Olt is one of those guys who demonstrates why BA can be such a misleading statistic. A 3 True Outcome and a 2 True Outcome player often will have the same (usually low) BA; but the 3TO batter will have a much higher OBP than the 2TO batter, and thus the 3TO player will create a lot more runs than the 2TO. Given Olt’s history of taking a lot of walks, his OBP actually might be respectable, which in turn means that he’ll score runs for the Cubs. (And, yes, it’s a “run producer’s” job to score runs: that is every batter’s job.)

        • Eternal Pessimist

          I would think the number of balls Olt hits hard indicates he WILL havve a high BAPIIP career.

          • JacqueJones

            Not if he hits lots of fly balls, which he does. He will fly to the warning track a lot maybe, but i dont see him lining many singles or doubles with all the loft he puts on balls.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            It’s line-drive rate that has the biggest effect, not power per se. To follow on Jacque’s point, FB from a slugger are good for BA given contact because sluggers have good HR:FB ratios. However, the (big!) subset of FB that are “in play” are bad for BA because they create a lot of flyball outs.

            (Really, it’s line drive rate that helps BABiP: and even then the variance around xBABiP is huge.)

        • TK

          Thats all pretty true and all, but as he does get more regular PT, you can also very reasonably expect a significant decrease in K rate. Its so unfair to a young prospect to project his future performance/production based on platoon splits early in his first true gig in the show. I truly believe that if the 3B shuffle ceases, once and for all, we will all be sold on Olt by Sept. And THAT would be a humongous step forward for this org . . . it would very much clarify that Baez likely will not be a 3B, and would seem to indicate that Bryant’s future very well may be primarily in OF.

        • Funn Dave

          Good points. Although “demonstrates” should be “demonstrate.”

          -Your Friendly Neighborhood GRammar Douche

      • Paddy26

        Worst case Pedro Alvarez is waaaaaaay optimistic. That’s a guy who just led the NL in HR’s, and you are saying that’s his worst case?

      • CubsFTW

        Worst case is Pedro Alvarez?!?!?!? Lol really?? I don’t even think Olt’s CEILING is Pedro Alvarez, let alone his worst case scenario. Not saying Olt is going to be bad but Pedro Alvarez is a very solid player, much better than Olt will be.

    • arta

      Yes, 240/250.

  • Medicos

    Atlanta Prez Jon Schuerholz has been part of one of the most successful MLB franchises during the past 25-years: 17 playoff appearances. His excellent scouting and adminsitrative staff have been able to combine homegrown prospects with excellent FA signings and players acquired through trades to produce a stable winning environment year after year. But sometimes even the Braves screw up a free agent signing. Considering BJ Upton’s previous stats from his days in TB he was expected to produce much more than he has since his 2013 FA signing: 5/$72,500,000.

    2013:

    9 HR
    26 RBI
    .184 BA
    .268 OPB
    .289 SLG
    .557 OPS

    2014;

    2 HR
    7 RBI
    .205 BA
    .285 OPB
    .320 SLG
    .604 OPS

    This could turn out to be one of the worst FA signings in MLB history!!!!

    • college_of_coaches

      I seem to remember that during BJ’s final season w/ the Rays, Doc W produced some compelling statistical analysis that predicted the down-turn in Upton’s career. I can’t remember the details, but the assessment was: the Cubs should stay away from this free-agent.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I think that it was a disturbing declines in his BB:K ratios and fielding range stats that scared me. One common explanation for both patterns when we see them in much older players is declining visual acuity: I was worried that BJ’s eyes had aged prematurely.

        • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

          Ahh, the Upton/Granderson Principle.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Granderson is a bit older, although he’s still a little young to be showing this decline. Also, Curtis was hurt last year, and productive as recently as 2012. (However, the early returns in 2014 are not hurting the “he’s over the hill” case at all: both he and Chris Young [two former "would look great in a Cubs uniform" FAs!] have been pretty underwhelming in 2014, even after you take their somewhat low BABiP numbers.)

            • Jason P

              Chris Young has a 97 wRC+ despite a .265 BABIP. With that in mind, ZIPS is projecting as a 2 WAR player (105 wRC+).

              He’d still be an OPS upgrade over any one of the Cubs outfielders.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Over the long haul, probably. However, the Cubs actually are getting (very marginally) better OPS from both CF and LF than Young has produced for the Mets so far. (Had Young joined the Cubs, then he would have been supplanting those guys, not the RFer.) Moreover, Young is (as you note) not doing much worse than projected by ZIPs.

                Now, putting Young in RF would have been a huge OPS boost for the Cubs: the team’s OPS would be approximately 0.025 better than it now is, which is good for maybe 2 wins. However, although the shuffling caused by Young would have changed the Cubs LF and CF situations, it wouldn’t have affected the RF situation.

                • Jason P

                  “However, the Cubs actually are getting (very marginally) better OPS from both CF and LF than Young has produced for the Mets so far.”

                  Where are you finding this? I’m looking at fangraphs, and it’s saying the Cubs have received a collective .621 and .645 OPS from their left and center fielders.

                  Young’s OPS is .680.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Weird: ESPN has 0.692 & 0.689 from the batters playing LF & CF for the Cubs. (It gives different stats for the players who’ve played both, too.)

    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

      It is a pretty good example of why spending money on non-elite free agents is generally not a good strategy unless it gets a team to 90 or so wins.

      • TK

        It also underscores, once again, how talented the Rays are at evaluating not only prospects, but established players as well. Truly impressive.

        • Javier Bryant

          Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi 20h
          From Rays’ ’08, ’09, ’10 drafts, only 2 players have reached MLB with Tampa Bay — Tim Beckham and Kevin Kiermaier.
          Uhh…

          • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

            Well, for the Rays it showed that budget constraints can be your best friend. Especially when a team has developed a ready, young, cost-controlled replacement for the departing veteran free agent.

          • TK

            Are you just trying to argue with someone?

            Evaluating talent isn’t strictly and exclusively pertinent to drafting, and a subsequent swift rise of prospects to MLB. Regarding your comment, I say SO WHAT?!?!? Are you trying to say they don’t have a loaded farm system? Are you saying they don’t produce successful prospects? Are you saying success in drafting implies a rapid rise to MLB within a 3 year period? And that THAT criteria is the indicator for talent evaluation? C’mon, Man!!!!

            Look at their roster. They purge the right guys at the right times, and always fill the holes effectively. They always field teams that make, or at least compete for, the playoffs. Humor me and analyze the routes Jennings, Loney, Myers, Archer, Dejesus, and Cobb took (various routes) to becoming significant contributing factors to the current team’s success. The Rays infuse talent, period! Whether its drafted, traded for, or signed as FA . . . they get the right guy for the job. And perhaps they just don’t RUSH prospects, and perhaps thats because they HAVE a good MLB team that is competitive every year.

            • Jason P

              Their farm system isn’t loaded, and a lot of the free agents they let go are let go because they can’t afford them, not because they expect a decline.

              Now, they still are good at what they do, but the impact of those empty ’08, ’09, and ’10 drafts will definitely be felt — they’re 15-21 now and having trouble getting the kind of return they need for David Price.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              “And perhaps they just don’t RUSH prospects”

              In the Rays case, it has been because their top prospects have been stalling out in recent years. That’s probably just bad luck, although they were equally (if not more so!) lucky leading up to that time, when an unusually high number of their prospects succeeded.

              (I was surprised that the Rays didn’t kick the tires on Abreu last winter, as both 1B and DH have been big problems for them; instead, they settled on Loney [gag]. However, supposedly they didn’t think that Abreu could survive playing on artificial turf.)

  • Dustin S

    That single up the middle he had Thursday was a good sign, and it looks like he’s more focused on driving the ball lately than hitting a home run with every swing. He did hit .288 at AA in 2012 before his vision problems. But the .220 number Brett mentioned is probably a lot more likely as a settling point with regular playing time. Still, plenty of power plus fine defense and .220 you can live with, at least as long as the rest of the lineup isn’t Baker, Barney, etc.

    As far as the team goes, things were perking up lately before losing 5 of 6. I was looking at the calendar and over the next few weeks between now and June 1 there are 4 games @STL next week (I’ll be at 2 of those woot), and 6 against Milwaukee. The chunky lady is out on the field warming up her pipes and those 10 games are probably the window. But I think after that June 1 game things should be pretty clear, as far as shifting priorities from maximizing matchups to just seeing what guys like Olt can do. They might be at that point already internally.

  • Funn Dave

    So…what exactly were the Bears smoking when they passed on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? I mean, when M.D. Jennings is a starting safety, you know that’s a big weakness…. Musta been the same shit Detroit was smoking when they drafted a tight end.

    • JCubs79

      Clinton-Dix is so overrated it’s not even funny. He was the 5th best safety in the draft. People just see Alabama next to his name and think he’s good.

      • Jon

        The Packers drafts have been pretty bad of late too.

        Nick Perry is their Shea McClellin
        Derek Sherrod is their Gabe Carimi

      • Funn Dave

        We’ll see how the season plays out. I watched a bunch of his footage from last year and he seems pretty damn talented, at least to my untrained eye. As for the Alabama connection, between him and Lacy… Roll Pack Tide!

  • ssckelley

    Giving up on the season on May 10th is not right. This team is still capable of going on a winning streak so I think RR should be starting who he feels gives the team the best chance to win. Right now having Olt in the lineup gives the Cubs the best chance to win, IMO.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Hey, May 10th would be the latest I’ve given up on a Cubs season since 2009!

    • renegade4196

      I agree, this team has shown in flashes that it’s somewhat moving toward success. Best chance to win each night means we should not see anymore John Baker or Darwin Barney at all. This should be the lineup from here on out:

      RF Kalish
      2B Valbuena
      1B Rizzo
      SS Castro
      3B Olt
      C Castillo
      LF Lake
      CF Bonifacio
      Pitcher

      Schierholtz and Coghlan act as pinch hitters, and the Cubs find another backup catcher. Anybody but him would work.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        “Anybody but him would work.”

        Or Kotteras. Or Clevenger. Or… well, the list is rather a long one!

        • renegade4196

          I’d take Clevenger or Kottaras in a heartbeat over Baker.

      • Jason P

        Or Rafael Lopez.

      • TonyP

        Problem is, in a tanked season the the FO doesn’t give a rip about Baker’s offense, he is here to try to improve Castillo’s framing. If it was about optimizing the ML team’s chances of winning, he would not be here.

    • TonyP

      Sadly I gave up on this season at some point in the off-season when they made little attempt to improve the team. :(

  • waffle

    I do think Olt could get to the .250 plateau, at least ongoing. Love that glove.

    Like the Bears 1st rnd. pick, actually.

  • cubsfaninca

    I’d be pretty happy with a RH Pedro Alvarez. If Olt puts up numbers like Alvarez did the last 2 years and has the good glove at 3B we’re good to go. Especially if he’s hitting (eventually) in a lineup with Castro/Rizzo/Baez/Bryant ahead of him.
    And on another note, how many AB are we going to give John Baker before we try another option at backup catcher? I know the backup doesn’t play much and isn’t expected to provide much offense, but it’s bad when 3 of your starting pitchers are hitting higher than he is. Rafael Lopez anyone?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “I’d be pretty happy with a RH Pedro Alvarez. If Olt puts up numbers like Alvarez did ”

      THat’s going to be really hard because Alvarez is a LHB and thus gets to face OHP 2/rds of the time.

    • Funn Dave

      If he’s able to mentor Castillo in the ways of pitch framing, I can live with his utter lack of offense. At least this season.

  • addks

    Olt reminds me of a better version of Mark Reynolds. Lots of homers, walks, and strikeouts. Will most likely sit in the .215 – .235 range. However, he is a defensive assets where as Reynolds is not.

  • E

    I believe long-term, the FO envisions this lineup:

    1. future CF, maybe Alcantara
    2. Castro, SS
    3. Rizzo, 1B
    4. Bryant, RF
    5. Baez, 2B
    6. Olt, 3B
    7. Castillo, C
    8. Kalish, LF
    9. Pitcher (or we can dream of a Vogelbach DH)

    • renegade4196

      I’d be a little scared if Kalish was still a thing in the long term future. Hopefully Almora stops struggling, and I still believe Lake will be a player long term. Alcantara for sure.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Put almora in center and replace kalish with soler and then you have the long term plan

      • willis

        Yep, get Kalish out there and put Soler in there (probably some time next season) and I could see that lineup happening.

    • Rebuilding

      I’m thinking more like:

      2b – Alcantera
      SS – Castro
      LF – Bryant
      1B – Rizzo
      3B – Baez
      RF – Soler
      C – Castillo
      CF – Almora

      Although I have a suspicion they might put Almora at 2 and drop Castro to 7 and Castillo to 8. That lineup is awfully right-handed (why I put Rizzo in between Bryant and Baez), but is top notch if everyone hit to projection (which they won’t). I would rather see something like this:

      CF – Dickerson
      1B – Rizzo
      LF – Bryant
      RF – Stanton
      2B – Baez
      3B – Olt
      C – Castillo
      SS – Castro

      That’s better than a beer league softball team

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

        See you like Dickerson too. How we get him, in your opinion?

        • Rebuilding

          I love Dickerson – he’s my Adam Eaton of this year. In a dream land I hope Hammel pitches well enough and Colorado is desperate enough that we could somehow get him in that flip, even if we have to include a promising bullpen arm. Realistically, it might have to be part of a Shark deal. Although Colorado has so many OFers in the bigs and on the way that maybe their value on him is lower than I suspect. He just rakes everywhere, hits lefty and can play a decent CF (prob more suited for LF)

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

            Colorado staying hot…at the top is a key. They can only go as far as pitching will take them. He would balance out the lineup.. will see.

            • Rebuilding

              The cat is starting to get out of the bag – Dickerson is 3-3 with a HR and 2 Doubles through the 4th inning tonight

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

                Sure others are inquiring on his bat…but Ill see highlights later. Mlb.tv…no cable. Damn blackouts.

                • Head and Heart

                  Talk to me about Dickerson. Trying to read up on him and I am seeing nothing that gets me excited. Some power from the left side. But none of these scouting reports suggest he’ll play much outfield defence. Not much of an arm. Average speed. Home road splits. Never really a top prospect. In fact a year ago some sites didn’t even have him on the Rockies top 15 prospects list.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Crap! Just hit his 2nd HR…so 4-4 with 2 HRs and 2 2Bs in the 5th inning. Dickerson is one of those guys that is an inefficiency because he was only drafted in the 8th round. Look at his minor league stats – he has absolutely smoked the ball everywhere he’s been. Great eye, great power stroke. And I don’t know what they are saying about the defense – he’s playing CF in Coors so he could at the very least be an above average corner outfielder. And part of the reason he’s not well known is because he was originally a good pitching prospect in college (clocked at 94) so he’s got the arm

                    • Head and Heart

                      I was just reading that he had labrum surgery and doesn’t throw nearly as well anymore. And from what I have seen in his stats in the minors any stop where his BABIP was reasonable his numbers aren’t that good. He has a home OPS of 1.000 and a road OPS of .576 in the minors. I am just not seeing anything saying he will be more than a potential league average left fielder who may have a few good years.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Not sure where you are getting your numbers. His career minor league slash is 322/380/601 (981 OPS) and he’s been on average 2 years too young for each level. He had labrum surgery true (why he switched to a position player), but during ST they said his arm is just fine and they would prob use him if they ever needed a position player to pitch because he can still hit 90. As for defense – when he plays they with their normal CF (Blackmon) to RF and let him play CF. He doesn’t get the love because he was picked in the 8th round, pure and simple

                    • Head and Heart

                      I haven’t found a site yet that has Dickerson as anything great. Honestly unless I am missing a whole section of the internet. The splits I saw must have been old or focused on a specific season or level because they aren’t that pronounced. http://minorleaguecentral.com/player?pid=572816&type=batter&split=3000

                      The best I could find was Baseball America having him as the Rockies 12th best prospect after the 2012 season.

                    • Rebuilding

                      I guess I don’t get your point. If Baseball America was always right then Corey Patterson would be in the Hall of Fame and Brett Jackson would be leading us to another NL crown. Dickerson made it to the majors last year after being drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 draft so he’s doing something right. After tonight he’ll have over a 1.000 OPS. He’s not the sexy, tools guy – but look at his minor league stats and tell me he can’t hit:

                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=dicker001mck

                    • Head and Heart

                      Every year in the minors where he had an OPS over 850 he had a BABIP 373 or above. I am still not seeing anything to wow me here. He was a tick below league average last season in the majors. He profiles as a league average or slightly above player moving forward. That’s what you want for Samardzija?

                    • Rebuilding

                      Uhhhhhh….I said I would like him in a flip for Hammel. And as a piece for Samardzija that included Eddie Butler. So, no I don’t want him straight up for Samardzija…come on. And I guess a 24 year old, who after tonight will have about an 830 OPS in the major leagues through 250 at bats isn’t good enough to play in this Cubs outfield lol

                    • Head and Heart

                      You are good enough to play in this Cubs outfield.

                      If the Cubs are flipping guys for league average players (especially outfields) then yes the current team likely does improve some. But that’s really not going to get this team to where we want it to go.

                      But I guess a guy who will OPS 1.022 at Coors field and .620 the rest of the time, with a 389 BABIP, will really help the Cubs when they are in Colorado?

                    • Rebuilding

                      He’s 24 years old…and his road OPS is about to jump about 100 points tonight. He’s far from average, but we can agree to disagree on that point

                    • Head and Heart

                      Last season in 213 PAs he had a wRC+ of 98. So he was below average. Just going by what the stats are showing.

                    • Rebuilding

                      He was 23 years old. Do you not believe in the aging curve? You don’t think Rizzo has evolved since being a 23 year old? Do you not believe in minor league stats being predictive? His minor league OPS was 981 in 1500 at bats while being to young for every level

                    • Head and Heart

                      I understand all of those things. You have continued to ignore the fact that in his really good minor league stops his BABIP was usually off the charts and when it was normal he was pretty normal considering he’s basically always played in hitters parks and hitter friendly leagues. Which is why he has some pronounced home road splits in his career. I don’t know anything though. I don’t remember ever hearing of him until tonight. He may be the next great slugging outfielder but I don’t see it. I hope we get him for cheap and I am wrong.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Fair enough…that’s why I said I hope we flip Hammel for him. I just don’t see how a 981 OPS in 1500 minor league ABs is somehow based on a high BABIP. His slugging percentage was 601. And again, he was way too young for those leagues. We’ll be really lucky to get anyone near his caliber for Hammel

                    • Head and Heart

                      If we can’t get a player with more upside than Dickerson then I hope we just hang on to him and try to extend Hammel.

                    • Rebuilding

                      I guess we’ll see…

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

                    2012 Splits in Tulsa (his Away splits were better):

                    Split,G,PA,AB,H,2B,HR,RBI,BB,OBP,SLG,OPS
                    Total,127,560,506,154,40,22,81,43,.358,.542,.899
                    ,,,,,,,,,,,
                    Home,66,279,252,75,19,7,34,20,.345,.504,.849
                    Away,61,281,254,79,21,15,47,23,.370,.579,.949
                    ,,,,,,,,,,,
                    vs RHP as LHB,121,436,392,115,27,18,62,36,.349,.526,.874
                    vs LHP as LHB,68,124,114,39,13,4,19,7,.390,.596,.987

                    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 5/10/2014.

                    In seeing his ABs, he can look really good, and really bad. If he lays off high pitches, he’s good. He’s a GAP/spray hitter too.

                    [img]http://www.brooksbaseball.net/plot_h_profile.php?s_type=2&gFilt=&pFilt=FA|SI|FC|SL|CU|CS|KN|CH|FS|SB&time=month&player=572816&startDate=06/01/2013&endDate=05/10/2014&minmax=ci&var=slg&balls=-1&strikes=-1&b_hand=R[/img]

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

                    Rizzo:

                    [code]
                    I Split PA AB BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
                    vs RHP 955 833 .258 .352 .442 .794 .292
                    vs LHP 405 361 .208 .286 .371 .658 .227
                    vs RHP as LHB 955 833 .258 .352 .442 .794 .292
                    vs LHP as LHB 405 361 .208 .286 .371 .658 .227
                    vs LH Starter 353 310 .206 .303 .368 .671 .227
                    vs RH Starter 1007 884 .256 .343 .439 .782 .289
                    [/code]

                    Dickerson:
                    [code]
                    I Split PA AB BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+
                    vs RHP 222 202 .292 .335 .515 .850 .335 110
                    vs LHP 43 39 .205 .279 .308 .587 .250 50
                    vs RHP as LHB 222 202 .292 .335 .515 .850 .335 110
                    vs LHP as LHB 43 39 .205 .279 .308 .587 .250 50
                    vs LH Starter 32 31 .290 .313 .387 .700 .375 76
                    vs RH Starter 233 210 .276 .328 .495 .823 .315 103
                    [/code]

                    Not to say Dickerson hasn’t benefited from Coors. But you got similar spits versus LHP in a very limited sample size for Dickerson. BABIP has not helped either guy against lefties.

                    And Rizzo has a 40M+ contract. Not saying Corey’s an all-star, but he is no crappier than the OF production so far in 2014. And he is cheap….still.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Well maybe my point was missed. But I was in no way saying anything bad about Dickerson as a player. I don’t really know anything about him outside of looking at his stats tonight. His stats show a guy who looks to be maybe a little above average but has benefited from some luck and the environment he has played in. Obviously he is better than what we have in our outfield currently. But that’s a really low bar and if that’s all we are trying to achieve when dealing Hammel later this summer then I will be disappointed.

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

                      We all see different things in players. I saw him a lot of ABs last summer, a few this season, so I only know he has shown some hitting ability to me, at least – and enough that he’s getting ABs in Colorado even with Stubbs and Blackmon as CF.

                      Hammel is 32 in Sept. He is pitching well above his career norms past the peak of the age curve, so if we could get Dickerson (25 in May) for Hammel, the Cubs should gladly take that and run. JMHO.

      • YourResidentJag

        Gary Sanchez in a trade package is becoming more intriguing especially if the Yankees include Clarkin, SS Abetial Averino, and the CJ Edwards diamond in the rough here in SP Luis Severino.

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

          Id have to look at…but it sounds certainly enough to entice on the Cubs side….Yankees or Orioles or does Boston help out a former friend if all are in a pennant race come July???

  • cubmig

    “Every hit that Jason Hammel gave up last night – seven of ‘em – was a two-out single. (Cubs.com)”

    A sure “death warrant” if I ever read one………if that continues.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, not giving up hits until there are 2 out is a very good way to not give up many runs.

      • Funn Dave

        No doubt. Maybe she or he meant a death warrant for hitters?

  • cubsfaninca

    E, I think you forgot about Almora and Soler. I don’t think they expect Kalish to be the long-term answer to anything. I’d prefer:

    Almora CF
    Rizzo 1B
    Bryant LF
    Baez 2B
    Soler RF
    Olt 3B
    Castro SS
    Castillo C
    Pitcher

    Alcantara is the new Bonifacio (2B/SS/OF) or traded for pitching. 2-6 in the lineup alone would probably be good for 150-160 HR’s, add in 10-15 from Castro and Castillo and we’re pushing 200 even before you count the bench.

    • TonyP

      What is the over/under on the number of games the “big four” are in the same lineup?

      • Head and Heart

        At the major league level? I would say 1 and take the under. Would love to be VERY wrong but we are talking about prospects after all.

        • TonyP

          Exactly

  • Kyle

    It isn’t just slash line either. Olt looks a lot better at the plate, fouling off tough pitches he would have whiffed on earlier in the year, especially against righties.

    • Medicos

      Agree with u 100% about THUNDERB ‘”OLT” Put him in the line up every day and I think he’ll wind up with 22-24 HRs and at least 75-80 RBIs. He’s already made some ” Brooks Robinson” defensive plays at 3rd base. Eventually I’d like to see OLT moved to the cleanup hole behind Rizzo with Castro moved back to the 2nd slot in the lineup.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Huzzah! It’s either proof that bringing Olt along slowly has let him adjust OR proof that Olt would have been doing this a week ago if Renteria had just played Olt every day!

      • DarthHater

        So, what you’re saying, Doc, is that facts prove nothing and we should just go ahead and believe whatever we are predisposed to want to believe, right? ;-)

        • Kyle

          I was planning to do that anyway.

          • renegade4196

            Olt is having a much more patient approach too..he’s a guy that can hit 40 homers if he plays everyday, and at this pace, if he can raise his average to the .220 to .230 range, he’s a guy that the Cubs need in this lineup. His 11.1 AB per HR, if he had 100 ABs, would be leading the MLB. Abreu has 11.3 AB per HR for comparison there.

          • DarthHater

            Wait. I thought you just got done saying that opinions should change with new information. There you go backtracking again!

    • CubFan Paul

      & the backtracking begins..

      • Kyle

        “backtracking” is a stupid description. Opinions change with new information, as they should.

        I have no problem being wrong. It’s baseball and it happens. I thought trying Jeff Samardzija as a starter was a terrible idea.

        • Head and Heart

          And it is still way too early to say you were wrong. As much as I want you to be wrong!

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Indeed, and that is important to remember. What is interesting is that Olt really has flashed all of his standout traits in this short time. He’s K’ing a ton, which was a big fear given his miLB numbers. He also is being beat with breaking stuff. However, he is also drawing a fair number of walks: his isoD is pretty good. (If his BABiP were not so bad, then Olt’s OBP itself would be pretty good.) He also is doing quite well against fastballs: and pitchers cannot throw nothing but breaking stuff all that often. And the guy is showing great power.

            Olt really does offer a decent chance of upping the Cubs total HR and walks quite a bit. I really need another month or two of data to see my fears squelched (or my, what do you call, the opposite of fears… um…. wait, I know! HOPES! realized)

            (Disclaimer: I was one of those people hoping that the Cubs would land Olt back in 2012!)

            • Head and Heart

              His PAs are becoming much watch TV. Yesterday after his homer I was watching each at bat just thinking “okay don’t strike out. Walk. Hard hit single. Heck even fly out. Just don’t K.” lol He just seems to be an easy guy to root for and I am already a huge fan so I hope he sticks around.

            • Kyle

              The trait that’s impressed me the most, going back even to his first HR of the year, is how game-playable his power is. His uppercut swing costs him some contact ability, but it also creates a lot of loft and backspin, allowing him to hit balls for deep fly balls that most guys wouldn’t be able to get under. It lets the power show up much more consistently. Kris Bryant shares that attribute.

      • college_of_coaches

        I try to read all of Kyle’s posts and I can say that I respect the fact that he admits when he’s wrong and that he is willing to revise his opinion when data suggest that he do so.

    • Head and Heart

      Being aggressive early in counts will help too. I was growing frustrated watching him take an early fastball in a very hittable location and then swinging and missing later in the count at pitchers pitches.

      Being aggressive early will help him in several ways and will lead to walks down the road as pitchers adjust and stay away from early pitches in the zone.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    Olt’s hitting 7th, and that’s where he should hit. I’m actually surprised the Braves didn’t walk him to get to Baker (.156 OBP), then Hammel. I think we’ll see some trades here soon enough, we’ll get a power lefty bat for the OF to accompany Bryant. I’d love to see a trade with our surplus of infielders almost MLB-ready.

    • Head and Heart

      That’s the kind of trade scenario I did in OOTP Baseball!!! Move Hammel and Shark for prospects, an infielder and some pitchers, that are in High A and AA. Then trade some guys who are closer to the MLB roster, like Villanueava and Alcantara, for a piece for the outfield. But I am not sure that’s something that would be considered by this FO. Especially with the jury still very much out on Olt.

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

        In playing OOTP , the early things done: traded Castro, Shark and about 6 or 7 others. Got miles out of Hendricks…dump mad money on prospect development. Its 2029 and the Cubs have won 4 WS; and always have pitching and prospects. ;)

    • Medicos

      MIKE: I can understand why the HOYSTEIN FO is going to be extremely careful about bringing any of their “surplus of almost MLB ready ” minor leaguers to play at the Friendly Confines this summer. Even though a few players under 21 -years- old (MACHADO, STANTON, FREEMAN, HARPER, TROUT, FERNANDEZ, HEYWARD, ANDRUS, JUSTIN UPTON, BOGAERTS) have had outstanding starts to their MLB careers, the vast majority of these young players just aren’t ready to face ML pitching day after day.

  • Darth Ivy

    Legit talk about Olt getting more PAs?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MIgiX7WJQc

  • Darth Ivy

    Sometimes I feel like this guy around here……in a good way

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtP1eyF8LgI

  • TSB

    It’s 3:20 CST, 76 comments already, and no near mandatory “Let’s hope Olt (or insert name here) plays at a higher level so he can be flipped at the deadline for prospects” comment. Come to think of it, where is the post that says “trade Barney for a bag of (you name it)?” Where is everybody?

    • Darth Ivy

      Its too nice out

      • SenorGato

        That said, let’s hope Olt plays at a higher level so he can flipped at the deadline for player/s.

        • Darth Ivy

          Totes McGee

          • Head and Heart

            I hope he starts playing so well that he is considered part of the core for the future. Long shot? Sure. But I would rather have a guy at the MLB level performing. A known quantity. Rather than flipping him for prospects and then hoping Bryant can stick at third and hit in the bigs.

            • Darth Ivy

              Totes McGee Part Deux

  • David

    Perhaps this rain delay is a blessing if Shark is done for the day. This after throwing 130 pitches last start.

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