The 2014 MLB Draft is in the books (Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, if you missed them), and we’ll have a whole lot more in the coming days and weeks (the signing deadline is next month). For today, I’m going to take a step back from Draft stuff, and I’ll return to it this week with a more robust take on how the Cubs did, with more info on some of the picks, and how things are shaping up on signing them.
- Before yesterday’s two-homer affair, Junior Lake’s slash line had slipped to .239/.273/.415, and his wOBA had fallen under 300 (.299). And his 83 wRC+ mean that he had created 17% fewer runs than the average – not exactly what you want to see out of a starting left fielder (slightly less bad for a center fielder, mind you). With a couple swings of the bat, Lake’s slash line improved to .244/.277/.450, and the wOBA climbed 16(!) points. His wRC+ is now 94, still not what you’d want to see, but a huge improvement. His strikeout rate and BABIP actually fell a little bit, too, so the gloss we place on his numbers looks a little better, too.
- And we got to see this:
- Jeff Samardzija allayed any concerns that the blowout in Milwaukee last week was anything serious (and, incidentally, made me even more suspicious about Miller Park shenanigans) by dominating the Marlins yesterday. Here’s how he explained it to Cubs.com: “I just put the last one behind me. That was a trap waiting for me. I had just come off a win, and I’d battled so hard to get that first win, and all of a sudden I ran into the fan known as the Brewers at their place. I didn’t have my best day and they jumped all over it …. The way I’ve been throwing all year, it was easy for me to throw [the Milwaukee game] aside. It felt good to go out there today and do my job, especially after times like that. It’s the most important thing to bounce back.”
- Zac Rosscup (shoulder) is with the Iowa Cubs now on a rehab assignment, though, given the currently-full bullpen in Chicago, it’s possible that, when it comes time to activate him from the DL, he might simply be optioned right to the place where he’s standing. Medium-term, I still love Rosscup as a lefty for the Cubs’ bullpen, but that might not start until one or both of James Russell and Wesley Wright are moved out midseason (if that happens).
- The Cubs won’t face young ace Gerrit Cole tomorrow in Pittsburgh, because he’s already been scratched with “shoulder fatigue.”
- In case you missed Lennie Merullo’s All-Star appearance in the booth during yesterday’s game, you can at least see his rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’:
- Merullo, 97, is the oldest living former Cubs player, and the only person alive who can say they played in a World Series for the Chicago Cubs. He’s also pretty sharp, and made the 7th inning a lot of fun yesterday.
- Extended Spring Training is now over, as the short-season leagues are getting ready to kick off. Arizona Phil has compiled the ExST stats because he’s a star, and you can peruse them for fun. But so help you if you read too much into the numbers, which are – though enjoyable – virtually meaningless because of the combination of sample size, wide swath of talent, irregular nature of the games, and guys simply working on specific stuff.
- This is an actual headline: “Phillies: Ruben Amaro Jr. denies accidentally trading Domingo Santana for Hunter Pence“. The Cubs may have a PR gaffe every now and again, but at least they don’t have that stuff going on. Speaking of “at least they don’t do that” kinds of things …
- Hey, sports media world: every time you write a “OMG, Padres Draft Johnny Manziel” article, God punches a puppy. Stop hurting puppies, sports media world.