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Member Since 12 Dec 2011
Offline Last Active Apr 03 2014 08:24 AM

#58721 You know you are getting old, when.....

Posted by Spriggs on 01 April 2014 - 09:28 AM


...everyone is younger than you.  No matter where you go.


Which has been the case for Spriggs since he rowed George Washington across the Potomac.




Posted by Spriggs on 22 December 2013 - 12:38 AM

10 Heels a clickin' (Santo, #10)

#57401 Cubs Calendar - 12/18 - Santo

Posted by Spriggs on 18 December 2013 - 12:19 PM


Stump Spriggs


This sounds like the nickname of one of those players that he grew up watching in the 1890s.


Ouch.  color me stung   

#57045 Day 3 Winner...CubsMas...Day 4 suggestions please

Posted by Spriggs on 11 December 2013 - 07:36 PM

Yes my 5 is a lock... and since I was afraid I won't be able to get it before anyone else thinks of it I took clam. It is perfect.

Is it 5 Manny Trillos?

#56525 What do the prospects do in the winter?

Posted by Spriggs on 02 December 2013 - 07:36 AM

This brings to mind one of my favorite baseball quotes ever.  When asked about the winter, this is what Rogers Hornsby said:   


"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

#55998 AFL Observations - or - "How I spent my 2013 Fall" - by Spriggs

Posted by Spriggs on 18 November 2013 - 09:32 AM

This year I saved up my vacation days in anticipation of a great Arizona Fall League experience and I was able to attend all of the Solar Sox home games and a handful of their away games. Including the Fall Stars game and the Championship game, I attended 22 games in total.  I was not disappointed. For what it’s worth, I thought I would share some of my observations from those games – later focusing on The Big Three (Almora, Bryant, Soler).


For a quick flavor of the games, as most of you know by now, the majority of the games are played during the day, with maybe 15% or so night games. The weather conditions are superb, with most day game temperatures in the 75 to 85 degree range, with low winds and cloudless, sunny skies.  Crowds average around 450 (with at least 75 or so being early arriving autograph hounds). There is open seating and concessions. If you get there when the gates open an hour before the game, you can catch batting practice for the visiting team. You can hear some conversations clear across the stadium and the players can hear everything that’s yelled their way.   


I am not denying that the AFL is a hitter’s league. It most definitely is. The ball has a little more carry, they say breaking balls don’t break as much here, and that teams are reluctant to send their top pitching prospects to the AFL. But with all that (and more, I’m sure) I think the league is a bit overrated as a hitter’s league and that it is NOT an ideal situation for an offensive player.  Consider that most players aren’t in the lineup for more than two or three games in a row, making it harder to stay in hot streaks. Some players are asked to play new positions and move around a lot in the field.  We always hear about how that can affect hitting. Hitters often never face the same pitcher twice in a game and may only bat 3 or 4 times all season against the same pitcher.  Also, many of the pitchers have good stuff and throw hard, and are likely there to work on command, the result of which, you see a lot of very uncomfortable at bats.


Now on to the Big Three...


Unfortunately, this won’t much help win ball games, but one thing that became clear early was that these are three very likeable guys! Cubs fans will have no problem rooting for these young dudes. They all signed tons of autographs with smiles on their faces before every single game.  There were nothing but pleasant exchanges with the fans. Their excellent comradery with teammates and among themselves was good to see (ps: I would say the same thing about Baez last year).



There is just so much to like.  I believe Almora was the 2nd youngest player in the AFL this year. From his first game where he had 4 hits and homered on the first pitch of the year to the Solar Sox, through the final game he played, he was impressive. First and foremost, Almora’s outstanding OF skills were on display. He plays a very shallow CF (probably too shallow) and goes back on balls effortlessly and gracefully. He seems to know exactly where every ball hit in his general direction is going to land, and he gets there quickly. His jumps and his routes are almost perfect (whether in LF, CF or RF!). Only once did I see him get turned around even a little.  And when he gets to a ball, he knows exactly what to do with it. His arm appears to be above average and his release is very quick. He and Soler never missed a cutoff man or threw to the wrong base. 


At the plate, Albert hit slightly over .300 with flashes of slugging ability, but only walked 4 times in about 80 plate appearances. Though the sample size was small, he also struggled mightily against LHP in only around 25 ABs.   I suspect that Albert still has issues with his wrist. He simply is unable to check his swing. When he tries to check, it winds up being an awkward half swing leaving him in obvious discomfort (shakes his hand and wrist with a grimace). On every occasion I saw this (6 or 7 times?) he followed that up with another feeble swing – either striking out or making a weak out of some kind – as he trots into the dugout shaking his head.  I hope this is not anything that stays with him. But his swing and the consistent hard contact he makes are nice to watch. At any rate, the good news is that he got in some much needed work against some excellent competition.


Albert is an excellent base runner. His instincts are great and he cuts the bases with the same precision he shows in the field. His speed is slightly over average and he is not a base stealer - and I hope he discovers that soon.



I strongly suspected right from the start of the AFL that Soler was playing hurt (same leg). He was not playing the same game that I saw him play a year earlier in the AZ League.  Speed had no part whatever in Soler’s game in the AFL – and make no mistake – it is a part of his game. He must have been told by trainers and coaches to take it slow, as he often did not run to first or take an extra base. He never even attempted a steal. Soler heard it from the fans a few times for “dogging it” and that was unfortunate, because like I said, he MUST have been told to take it easy.  Soler cares!  I observed Jorge working out in the field after several games (workout under observation of a Cubs trainer). I saw no other player doing anything of that sort at any time during the season.


Nevertheless, Soler’s AFL was a tad disappointing as he showed little patience (5 walks in about 90 PA’s) and not much power at all. The great majority of his hits were ground ball hits and nearly everything he got up in the air was an out.  The best thing about his AFL was simply that he got some sorely needed playing time and AB’s in and that was great to see.


In the field, I was greatly encouraged by what I saw, as I was never convinced of his skills there.  He has a great arm, and like I mentioned, he knows where to throw the ball. I never saw him miss a cutoff man or throw to the wrong base.  Opposing runners respected his arm and he displayed a couple laser beam throws to third and home.  Leg issues aside, he gets to all balls you would expect, taking good routes and taking charge on short pop ups.  He played smart and I think he is an excellent RFer.


Although he is an inch or two taller, Jorge Soler reminds me a lot of a younger Justin Upton. What an athletic speciman Soler is!  And he definately put on some muscle and a few extra pounds since I had seen him in spring training.



League MVP Kris Bryant got off to scorching start.  His wide balanced stance and fast swing generate so much raw power that it can be jaw dropping - and that was on display early.  The sky high 435 foot bomb he hit was one of the most awesome things I’ve seen all year – heck, for a forgetful old Cubs fan - maybe the most awesome ever!  But then, opposing pitchers understandably just stopped throwing him strikes.  Although his power numbers cooled, his walk totals climbed as a result. He wasn’t swinging at everything and finished with 14 walks in about 90 PA’s while maintaining a BA that flirted with .400 and a league leading OPS of 1.184 (just beating out teammate CJ Cron).  He never looked bad all year. The concerns about a high strikeout rate however did not vanish.  He fanned 23 times in those 90 PA’s and that will be something that remains a concern.  Also, Bryant looked very much more comfortable against RHP (OPS around 1.500).  In the small AFL sample vs LHP he didn’t fare nearly as well (OPS around .750 – so only about half the number).


In the field, Bryant probably demonstrated enough skill to hold the position for now. His final stats will say he started and played in 16 games at 3rd base and made one error (of course the two he made in Fall Stars game don’t count!).  That one error was a duplicate of the bad between the legs error he made at the Falls Stars game.  But hey, if he only makes one error every 16 games with the Cubs, I’m sure we’d be very happy with that.  From what I saw, Bryant appears to have pretty good hands and a very strong arm, but very little range. His ability to get down and stay down on a ball and his ability to field and throw while moving in (toward home) will be key – and he did not show a lot of skill at either from what I saw.


Physically, Bryant reminds me a lot of a young Dave Kingman.


Finally, a shout out to Dallas Beeler who pitched well in the last 3 crucial games he started – and especially well in the championship game.

#55224 Ten Years Later?

Posted by Spriggs on 14 October 2013 - 09:38 AM

One of these days, boy....  (one of the best rock and roll songs ever)

#54828 Cubs Calendar - 9/25 - Stolen Bases

Posted by Spriggs on 26 September 2013 - 07:35 AM

Modern stolen base rules were put in place in 1898, so all accumulated before that are based on a different set of rules.  Players used to be credited for steals for advancing more than one base on a teammate's hit.  Going from first to third on a single, or scoring from first on a double were both considered steals. 

Plus before the turn of the century, the catcher stood way back behind the hitter (no mask or other gear).  And there were no Molinas.

#52436 Cubs Calendar - 8/7 - Hooray! Teamwork.

Posted by Spriggs on 07 August 2013 - 08:17 AM

"Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful". I think that's a Braun quote... my hero.

#48365 Cubs Calendar - 6/19 - Run Home

Posted by Spriggs on 19 June 2013 - 07:41 AM

Hans, when I guessed Evers, I was thinking of VASE runners.  Forgot they didn't have those back then.

#47871 Cubs Calendar - 6/13 - Scoreboard

Posted by Spriggs on 13 June 2013 - 11:12 AM

Here is all you do. Brag about your speed, telling improbable stories about how fast you are. Get the other guy thinking in terms of how fast you are. Then just matter of factly state you're so fast you can do the golf thing... At some point everyone says OK, let's see. Most of my bets have been for $10 bucks or so. But a few were for a lot more.


A soft ground is ideal. Take your club and drop your ball to the ground - preferably in a soft area. Then take your foot and stop on the ball once so that you get the fried egg effect. With about 1/4 of the ball or less above the ground, swing as hard as you like and the ball usually pops right up to you. I catch it with one hand. Collect your money. I've only needed a second try once. You might want to practice it a few times first!

#47775 Did I hear Theo right?

Posted by Spriggs on 12 June 2013 - 10:39 AM




Theo ... is just spinning crap into gold




But that would be more like the inverse... turning gold into crap.


fyi:  I think I just figured out the quote thing... what a pain in the ass though. 



You mean, like, clicking the button?


If I turn off my VPN, everything works fine.  Never used to be an issue though.  Mabye the home office IT bosses are trying to tell me something.  Like, get to work jag. 

#46275 Cubs Calendar - 5/24/2013 - No-Hitter

Posted by Spriggs on 24 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

Fortunately for us, the inside peope are all a bunch of pussies. 

#44503 Cubs Calendar - 5/3/2013 - Home Runs, again

Posted by Spriggs on 03 May 2013 - 08:37 AM

You're lucky I can't use the quote button or I'd call you a name too you dirty bastard.

#44369 Cubs Calendar - 5/2/2013 - RBIs

Posted by Spriggs on 02 May 2013 - 07:54 AM

This must be a trick question.  Did Jerome Holtzman break the record? I think he got credit for bumping up Wilson's total to 191.

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