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mike olt cubs featureI very much enjoyed the Game of Thrones finale last night – do yourself a favor if you don’t watch, and binge on the first four seasons as soon as you have the opportunity. Then you can join the rest of us in lamenting the next 10 awful, awful, GOT-less months while we wait for the next season.

  • Rick Renteria tells CSN that the Cubs know Mike Olt can do some great things, which is totally legit – Olt sees a lot of pitches, plays great defense at third, and has enormous raw power. But Renteria added this: “I know you guys [in the media] mention a lot that he’s got a lot of strikeouts. I’m not worried about his strikeouts. I’m more concerned [about] his approaches in good hitter’s counts, because we know when he swings the bat, there’s a chance for something good to happen.” I’m not sure I understand what Renteria means here – Olt’s splits suggest he’s been great in 2-0, 3-1, and 3-0 counts, so there’s no concern there (he just hasn’t been getting in enough of those counts). Strikeouts are not, in and of themselves, a significant problem (if you’re going to record an out, a strikeout is often better than a groundout, for example, because of the double play risk). Strikeouts, however, are indicative of potential swing/approach/pitch-recognition/etc. issues, and, when strikeout rates exceed a certain level, it doesn’t matter what you do when you don’t strike out, because you’re not putting the ball in play enough to be an overall productive hitter. These are the concerns with Olt’s 36.6% strikeout rate, which is the second highest in baseball among guys with at least 160 plate appearances.* I assume RR is just protecting his player and isn’t actually dismissing this serious issue.
  • *(For context: at a 36.6% strikeout rate, excluding homers, the player is putting just 63.4% of balls in play. To bat just .250, the hitter would have to have a BABIP of .394(!). Can you see the problem?)
  • The Cubs are a little suspicious about the Marlins’ home-field advantage – they’re hitting 30 points higher at home than on the road this year. John Baker tells the Tribune that the Cubs will keep an eye out for extra cameras and will change up their signs regularly.
  • A Cubs fan was reportedly attacked at U.S. Cellular Field last week, and, according to the fan, it was because he was wearing Cubs garb.
  • John Andreoli is the latest Cubs prospect to head to the disabled list (Carrie Muskat). Not sure what the injury is at this point, but you wonder if he’s been dealing with a nagging issue for a while: after hitting .297/.411/.405 in April (which was the strength behind an All-Star nod), Andreoli slipped to .202/.342/.202 in May (yes, all 20 of his May hits were singles), and then .056/.103/.056 in June. Andreoli turned 24 last week.

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