OK, post-surgery follow-up appointment number two is this morning. Today, hopefully, I get my surprisingly large number of stitches out, get the all clear to start walking in my boot, and also get the green light to drive.
- I love this read at The Athletic from Sahadev Sharma on the development challenges and burdensome expectations Kyle Schwarber faced last year. The bat will obviously and necessarily get the bulk of attention this year, but we are reminded, as Sharma writes, that Schwarber’s aggressive lifestyle changes this offseason were more about the kind of overall fitness that could help him in other parts of the game: “What Schwarber has done this offseason is attempt to reduce that risk. By changing his body, he hopes to improve his athleticism with the goal of making an average to slightly above-average offensive season more impressive by providing greater value with his glove and on the basepaths.”
- Let’s play a little game: given that he was “down” at the plate last year and still managed a 102 wRC+, it’s not at all unreasonable to say that Schwarber could easily put up a – let’s be conservative – 115 wRC+ this year. Let’s imagine now that he did that, while playing a nearly full season of games, with average defense in left field and average base running ability. How much is that player worth? Well, there wasn’t a perfect parallel in 2017, but you know who was close? New Brewers star Christian Yelich, who put up a 115 wRC+ while running the bases very well, and playing slightly below average defense in center field (which nets slightly positive defensive value – in years before, he played more corner outfield, and was also slightly below average defensively there). Yelich was worth 4.5 WAR, and if we adjust that down to account for the baserunning value to make it closer to average, you wind up just slightly under 4.0 WAR. Brett Gardner put up a 108 wRC+, offered positive baserunning value and nearly neutral defensive value, and he was worth 3.8 WAR. So, basically, if Schwarber were a 115 wRC+ hitter with average defensive ability and average baserunning, he probably is worth 3.5 to 4.0 WAR.
- … and the bat has way more potential than that. After his return from AAA last year, when he settled back into something more akin to his normal self, Schwarber hit .255/.338/.565 with a 131 wRC+. If he could pull that off over a full season with something close to average defense and average baserunning? Well then he’s 2017 Josh Reddick, who was worth 3.5 WAR in just 134 games. Or Justin Upton, who was worth 5.0 WAR over 152 games.
- (As a reference point, Schwarber was worth 1.5 WAR in 129 games in 2017, rating as slightly below average defensively and on the bases.)
- I love the confidence from the Cubs, and especially Javy Baez at the end:
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) February 10, 2018
- Joe Maddon does what he can:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 11, 2018
- This sounds about right to me, since Cubs fans only remember Gary Gaetti for dramatic homers (albeit not in the 9th inning):
Most career 9th inning homers:
Barry Bonds 53
Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson 48
Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt 47
Harmon Killebrew 46
Fred McGriff 45
Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Gaetti 43
Willie McCovey 42
Ted Williams 41
— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) February 11, 2018
- He’s right. They can’t be shared enough, so here I am sharing them again:
These Theo quotes from July cannot be shared enough. pic.twitter.com/R3cuyd6nE8
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) February 12, 2018
- Sammy Sosa, well, he took a picture:
*pew* *pew* *pew*
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 11, 2018
- If you missed anything this weekend (HA!), catch up on the headlines here. Also, earlier this morning, the story of the Cubs making a last-minute offer (kinda) to Jake Arrieta.
- Geez, the Deals of the Day at Amazon are freaking awesome today (in my opinion): Sonicare toothbrushes, Play-doh, KitchenAid mixers, heating pads, and a MacBook.
- Some of the stuff flipped off of clearance at midnight, but the dirt cheap shirseys are among the many things that did not, so heads up:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 12, 2018