I had to take The Little Boy to a doctor’s appointment this morning, hence the later Bullets. There was a slight extra delay, as I had not been informed of an apparent new family protocol: when he’s good at the doctor, he gets a biscuit from McDonald’s. Just a plain biscuit. But, hey, whatever helps.
- CBS’s crew took to ranking big league left fielders, and you’ll be pleased to know that Kyle Schwarber cracked the top five, even coming off a lost 2016 season and a serious knee injury. Contracts and salaries were not considered – only who you’d want as YOUR left fielder for 2017 – which makes it more impressive. Everyone seems to believe Schwarber, 23, will hit, regardless of the missed time and the always-looming necessity for adjustments. I think it’s fair at this point to wonder how his defense will look in left field (though he’s already working out there), but I also think it’s fair to see enormous overall upside. It’s also interesting to note how weak left field is right now, overall, in the Major Leagues. Consider that the four guys ahead of Schwarber are not necessarily a who’s who of MVP candidates like they might have been in years past: Yoenis Cespedes, Gregory Polanco, Ryan Braun, and Marcell Ozuna. Even Brett Gardner (2.4 WAR last year) and Alex Gordon (1.2) sneak into the top ten.
- A stray, not-yet-fully-formed thought about Schwarber: when discussing the Cubs’ 2017 season ahead, I keep seeing mentions of the Cubs “finally having Schwarber back for the year” or “the Cubs will be even more potent offensively because they’ll have Schwarber,” and these things stick in my craw for some reason. I don’t think it’s the assumption that Schwarber will be good offensively, despite very little big league experience and no time yet to adjust to league-wide scouting adjustments. Considering all the evidence, I think it’s very likely that Schwarber will be excellent offensively. Instead, what I think bugs me is the fact that, at this time last year, we were also assuming Schwarber would be with the Cubs all year. In fact, you’re assuming that about every player … until they’re not. I know that projections – whether statistical or narrative – cannot reasonably assume Player X is going to suffer a devastating injury and be lost for the season, but for some reason it just hits in a weird way when the discussion is about the very player to whom that happened last year. As I said: not yet fully formed.
- More Schwarber: Paul Sullivan wonders in a column something we’ve half-joked with each other since the slugger’s dramatic and rapid return to facing big league pitching in the World Series … just how necessary is Spring Training anyway? I’d agree with many of Sullivan’s points, from the way spring preparation has changed in recent years, to the fact that it can stay this long regardless, because people simply like Spring Training. Good read.
- By ESPN’s calculations, the two pitchers who received the most strike calls in the bottom two inches of the zone the last two years are Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. A credit not only to their impeccable command, but also to their catchers, I’m sure. I note this because of MLB’s proposal to raise the bottom of the strike zone by about three inches.
- Tony Andracki writes about how/whether the Cardinals and Pirates can catch the Cubs in the NL Central.
- Someone had a fun, fancy evening:
My hot date pic.twitter.com/zMShD2TZCT
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) February 13, 2017
- I’m not saying I’m bitter, but I’m not NOT saying it:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) February 13, 2017
- I’m also not sayin’ I’d say no if somebody knows somebody who knows somebody who can get that verification thing done …
- Over at TYL, Luis has your Monday morning Bears Bullets.
- Hey, if you want an inexpensive tablet, Amazon’s Fire tablet is on sale for just $39.99 today.
- And if you missed anything this weekend, including a report on the reason for Jason Hammel’s departure, and a rumor about the Cubs making an offer to Travis Wood, catch yourself up here.