Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kris bryant cubs watchingThe ESPYs are overdone, largely unexciting, and derided by many. But if you haven’t seen Devon Still’s speech last night about his daughter’s battle with cancer, it’s worth checking out. It’s OK to drop a tear or two, because this is important stuff. Feeling connected to each other. Gaining perspective.

  • Baseball Prospectus is taking a day to look at their rest-of-the-way PECOTA projections, and I was particularly intrigued by this Rian Watt article on some notable offensive rookie projections. Being that the Cubs have three notable offensive rookies on the roster right now, they are heavily represented. Kris Bryant, as you might expect, is adored by the PECOTA system, which projects him not only to have a stellar .268/.363/.527 line the rest of the way, and not only projects him to be the best offensive performer among the rookies the rest of the way, but it also projects Bryant to be the second best offensive performer by WARP in all of baseball the rest of the way, behind only Mike Trout. I wouldn’t put my money on that, but I also don’t think it’s utterly ridiculous. Bryant is special. The things he’s been doing this year, as a rookie, are things he shouldn’t be doing. His discipline at the plate, for his size and with his power, is incredible. And that power – I’m still convinced it’s going to explode through at some point with a homer binge unlike anything we’ve seen since Sammy Sosa.
  • As for the Cubs’ other two rookies, PECOTA likes but doesn’t love them. Addison Russell projects to have a .238/.298/.389 line the rest of the way, which is not unreasonable, given what we’ve seen (for the record, he’s at .226/.296/.354 right now). This is what it generally looks like when a 21-year-old comes to the big leagues with very little experience above AAA – Russell is handling himself well enough, especially when you consider his defensive value at second base, but he’s not yet an offensive force. He’ll get there in time, but this year, he’s learning some things.

  • Jorge Soler projects at .258/.316/.446, which is better than his current .260/.314/.388 line. It’s not an offensive explosion for Soler, but, like Russell, it’s a good deal more power – which is what you should expect for a guy who hits the ball as consistently hard as Soler does (indeed, his lack of power production so far is one of the great first half mysteries to me). Interesting that all three of Bryant, Russell, and Soler project for a lot more power in the second half of the season – something that has felt like it’s been missing from the Cubs so far this year. If they all take that step forward at the same time, the offense could suddenly look much improved in August and September.
  • Lefty Zac Rosscup (shoulder) appeared in a rookie league game yesterday, and Arizona Phil thought he looked good (i.e., basically his normal self). It’ll still be a little while, presumably, before Rosscup is ready to return, and it’s not entirely clear how or if he’d fit into the bullpen mix right now, but that’s mostly beside the point. You never know what’s going to happen to other arms, so getting Rosscup healthy and available is a good thing.
  • The White Sox have officially signed on with WLS-AM for their 2016-21 radio broadcasts, which means WSCR The Score is totally wide open to take on the Cubs after this season. We discussed that possibility before, and it could be a really good thing if you like hearing a lot more about the Cubs.

  • Three tweets, if you missed them:

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