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anthony rizzo featureAnd the first sickness of the season has hit the Taylor household. The host? Me. Naturally, it’s the guy who works at home and isn’t exposed to anything, who then also can’t fight anything off, and not the kids/wife who are constantly around a bunch of children. They just bring the pestilence home to me.

I take a jovial tone, of course, because it doesn’t appear to be anything serious. My throat is killing me, however, making speaking for prolonged periods very uncomfortable. That means no BNTV live stream tonight.¬†Hopefully we can reschedule for later in the week, but, if not, I’ll try to fill the space with some extra BNTV videos this week of a shorter variety.

  • Patrick Mooney writes about Anthony Rizzo’s huge year, and contextualizes it with that 2011/2012 offseason, when the Cubs passed on big money for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder in favor of swapping Andrew Cashner for Rizzo. As Mooney points out, Rizzo had a better 2014 season than either of Pujols or Fielder. Indeed, even if you subtract Cashner’s 1.9 WAR from Rizzo’s 5.6 WAR, the total is still better than either of Pujols (3.3 WAR) or Fielder (-0.3 WAR). So, yeah, that decision is looking pretty good. Even going ahead, wouldn’t you rather have Rizzo, 25, on his team-friendly deal than Pujols, 34, or Fielder, 30, on their ugly deals plus Cashner, 28, for two more arbitration years? Yeah, I’m taking Rizzo.
  • Starlin Castro gets a lengthy look in the Tribune. Notable update on his ankle: Castro is expected to return to Mesa, Arizona to do some rehab activities later this month.
  • Speaking of Castro, Glenn Geffner shared on Twitter some of the Dewan/James defensive evaluation of shortstops this year, and Castro fared strikingly poorly:

  • I’m really not sure what to make of that. I’d have to think on it for a while. It’s hard to accept any evaluation that has Castro’s defense in 2014 worse than Derek Jeter’s.
  • Arizona Phil has an intrasquad game write-up from instructionals, which you should read not for the stats, but for the ideas. For example, we knew that Gioskar Amaya was being converted to a catcher … but he also played some third base. Instantly, your mind goes to the possibility that he could emerge as a guy who can catch¬†and play all over the field. That would be an awesome development. (The Cubs could soon have a bunch of versatile catching options like that, including Kyle Schwarber, Victor Caratini, and Mark Zagunis.)
  • Jeff Zimmerman may have just written what will come to be the seminal piece of research on tall-versus-short pitchers in baseball, and the conclusions are pretty stark: short pitchers are underrepresented, underappreciated, and no worse or less durable than their taller counterparts. There’s a suvivorship bias in there somewhere, I reckon, but that doesn’t change the overall conclusion: if a guy can pitch (stuff, velocity, command, control), stop worrying about his height. Because it’s not going to impact his success or his durability. SIGN ALL THE SHORT PITCHERS!
  • A Tribune piece on some of the less-discussed historical elements of Wrigley Field. The Cubs are taking the preservation stuff very seriously.
  • Well this is pretty cool:

  • If you didn’t catch the latest Saber Short, this one is on BABIP – an important, but frequently misused, advanced statistic:

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