Big news out of Baseball Prospectus land: they are starting an offshoot Chicago Cubs-specific site led by none other than friend of the program, Sahadev Sharma. I am very excited about what this means for the online Cubs world (more good things!), and I’m also excited for Sahadev to take the reins on something like this. He’ll need some help, though, and he’s looking for outside contributors. If you fancy yourself able and desiring to write BP-style pieces about the Cubs, shoot Sahadev an email with writing samples/resume/etc. to sahadev dot sharma at gmail dot com.
- The Will Ferrell stunt yesterday – playing for 10 teams in 5 games in 1 day – was actually pretty fun, and very well received around the game. You can read more about his time with the Cubs here if you missed it, and there’s also a write-up at Cubs.com and CSN. CBS’ Eye on Sports was following along with the entire day, so you can check out Ferrell’s non-Cubs hijinx here.
- Ken Rosenthal has a quick (borderline #hot) take on the Cubs versus the White Sox this season, and which team will win more. Generally, I don’t have any beef with things like this, because I could articulate reasons why almost any team could win more games than almost any other team – you can’t predict baseball. Rosenthal likes the White Sox for 83 wins and the Cubs for 82 wins. Ok. Fine. But Rosenthal mentions at the end that he’s “unsure of the rotation beyond Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, and even less sure of the bullpen.” Bullpens are, by their very nature, very difficult to be “sure” about, and, indeed, the Cubs could shock us all and struggle in the pen. But as we sit here today with the best information available to us, the Cubs pretty clearly have the most underrated bullpen in baseball. It’s one of the best on paper, has upside and depth for miles, and looks top five in the game, to me. Predicting 82 wins for the Cubs right now because of the youth, the offensive questions, and the back of the rotation is completely reasonable. But don’t hang it on the bullpen, man!
- Jason Hammel, who gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks in just three innings yesterday, says he’s still getting a feel for his pitches, and he knows he’s not crisp right now (Tribune). It’s not really anything to be worried about just yet.
- Jesse Rogers has a comprehensive Spring Training update – what’s been happening, where things stand, etc. It’s impressive how positive the write-up is (and deservedly positive) considering that the Cubs have just one win. Indeed, the scores of the games really aren’t the thing.
- And he follows with a five-questions interview with Jake Arrieta that is hilarious. A review of ’50 Shades of Grey’ and an explanation of why Kyle Hendricks is an idiot. I love it.
- Joe Maddon says we may see our first set of roster moves (i.e., cuts from big league camp) after this weekend’s trip to Las Vegas, which is splitting the squad and requires lots of depth (Cubs.com). Humorously, as noted in that article, Maddon said he’d talked to Geo about it – a verbal elision of Jed and Theo (which would sound like Geo) – before catching himself and explaining who he meant.
- More on Kyle Schwarber’s confidence in his abilities behind the plate here at the Sun-Times. We’ve now seen him back there a whole lot this Spring, and my feedback thus far: he doesn’t look obviously terrible, but you can see things where he needs work, and he hasn’t been tested on the base paths too much. If I was looking at this guy fresh – if I never knew there were questions about his catching ability in the past – and someone asked me what I thought of him, I’d probably say he looks below average back there. Given where Schwarber’s coming from, I think that’s probably solid praise. He could get a lot better this year, and part-time catching duty in the big leagues (at least) strikes me as very possible.
- The South Bend Cubs are showing off their Star Wars jerseys:
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) March 12, 2015
- And speaking of showing off apparel:
— Ryan Beil (@ryanbeil) March 11, 2015