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No Hardware for Contreras and Bryant’s Bats – Did They Deserve It? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The big news, in case you missed it or didn’t hear me running up and down the streets screaming, is that Shohei Otani *IS* being posted. It’s happening. He’s coming. And even if the Cubs don’t ultimately land him – impossible to predict right now, but you figure no individual team has a better than 10% shot – it’s going to be a lot of fun for baseball next year.


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The dude was named the best pitcher AND the best designated hitter in NPB last year in his age 22 season. More than that, when you watch him play, he just looks so clearly better than the guys he’s playing against. Very few doubt his ability not only to play well in MLB, but to be a star here, too.

  • The Silver Slugger awards went out last night and there were no Cubs winners. That’s probably not a huge surprise to you, given the offensive underperformance at times last year (and the HUGE seasons that so many hitters had), but there are at least a couple worth discussing.
  • First, Willson Contreras lost out at the catcher spot to Buster Posey, which certainly made some waves. Should it, though? The two were actually EXTREMELY close in offensive performance (via FanGraphs):

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  • Contreras arguably has the edge in some of the counting stats and in the power department, but as an overall offensive performer, it’s Posey by a nose. Where you MIGHT have a beef is that Posey spent 25% of his innings in 2017 at first base, rather than behind the plate. Still, to me, that’s enough time as a catcher to still be considered a catcher for the purposes of this award. Next year, Willy. It’s all you.
  • The one that bugs me, and will always bug me, because it keeps happening, and will keep happening, is this one:

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  • I get it. Arenado has the 130 RBI and the 37 homers, and that stands out to everyone. But here’s what the high end of third base looked like in the NL this year (again, via FanGraphs):

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  • You wanna tell me the best offensive third baseman in the NL last year wasn’t Bryant? OK, fine. I’m open to that debate, and I could make a case for either Justin Turnor or Anthony Rendon. But when you consider park adjustments, I simply can’t make the case for Arenado, who hit .336/.392/.644 at Coors Field, and .283/.355/.531 everywhere else. The dude is a stud, and I won’t say otherwise. But he was not the best offensive third baseman in the NL this year.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Jeff Sullivan writes about the worst called ball of the season, which ALSO happened to be a pitch that bounced in the dirt. How is that possible? A pitch right down the middle, called a ball, AND it bounced in the dirt. (Think big, breaking curveball and a crossed-up catcher.)
  • He also wrote about the worst called strike of the season, which was nearly 10(!) inches off the plate. How does that happen? Well, the fact that it was a position player pitching in a game that was 13-0 probably tells you something.

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  • And the snows came:

  • Ah, young love:

  • I know we joke about blind umps, but, um …

  • So, this seems like a really good thing to have around, and it’s on sale for just $25 today at Amazon: it’s an emergency radio, flashlight, phone charger WITH a hand crank to supply the power if necessary.
  • Big, big sales today, with MLB Shop at 20% off all orders (today only), and a ton of stuff flipping to 25%-65% off at Fanatics (today and tomorrow only):

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.