Happ Gets an All-Rookie Nod, Cubs Baserunning Woes, Halladay Was Incredible, and Other Bullets

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Happ Gets an All-Rookie Nod, Cubs Baserunning Woes, Halladay Was Incredible, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

The Little Boy has a peanut allergy, so The Wife and I had the terrible, solemn duty of removing affected candy from his haul on Halloween. It is quite a collection, currently stored with me in my office for safety … staring at me. Constantly. Urging me. Compelling me. Calling me with its siren song of deliciousness.

And I feel like I’m doing a family service when I eat a Reese Cup. So that’s a win-win, right?

  • It may or may not be a “Major Award,” but Ian Happ got some love from Topps, getting the nod at second base for their All-Star Rookie Team in 2017:

  • Interestingly, Happ’s 1.8 WAR did not lead all rookies at second base this season. Technically, Austin Barnes shows up way at the top (2.5 WAR) if you include all rookies who spent at least a few innings at second base, but he barely played there at all (instead, he was busy wresting the starting catching job away from Yasmani Grandal, which is freaking incredible when you think about how good Grandal has been for the Dodgers). Instead, the leader is Braves youngster Ozzie Albies, who is just 20 years old, and who posted a 1.9 WAR in only 57 games. Yo, that Braves team – assuming they don’t lose a bunch of players thanks to the ongoing IFA scandal investigation – is going to explode one of these years, going from terrible to awesome.
  • The entirety of the difference in value between Albies and Happ, by the way, came down to baserunning (Happ was solidly better on offensive contribution, Albies was solidly better on defense). Happ rated as a negative value baserunner this year, which … that seems off, doesn’t it? Like, without looking at the numbers, don’t you *feel* like Happ was a good baserunner? He’s certainly quick. In any case, his 4 caught stealing out of 12 attempts and his 12 double plays are what killed him. And I guess those things aren’t good, and you’ve gotta score them somehow … but I don’t know. If I’m betting, Happ is a positive true talent baserunner, and he’s more likely than not to show it in 2018.
  • Speaking of baserunners, Kris Bryant (4.8 runs) rated as the Cubs’ best in 2017, at 12th overall in MLB. Javy Baez (3.8) wasn’t too far behind, at 20th. Annnnnnd that’s the entirety of the list of qualified Cubs who rated as positive baserunners in 2017. Is that because the team is bad at baserunning suddenly, or something of a fluke? The Cubs rated as the 7th worst baserunning team in 2017, and 3rd worst in the NL. Did it feel that way to you?
  • Consider that Jason Heyward rated as a negative baserunner for only the second time of his career, and solely because he was caught stealing four times while stealing only four bases. Sure, that’s not good, but … who cares? Maybe I’m wrong that the other baserunning stuff he does outweighs those four outs (and apparently the math says I am indeed wrong), but this is an area for discussion that I’d like to explore a bit more. It looks like a hidden struggle for the Cubs in 2017.
  • Jason Heyward won his fifth Gold Glove last night, and fourth in a row. Here is the full list of winners:

National League
C: Tucker Barnhart, Reds (1st Gold Glove)
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs (3rd Gold Glove)
2B: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies (2nd Gold Glove)
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (5th Gold Glove)
SS: Brandon Crawford, Giants (3rd Gold Glove)
LF: Marcell Ozuna, Marlins (1st Gold Glove)
CF: Ender Inciarte, Braves (2nd Gold Glove)
RF: Jason Heyward, Cubs (5th Gold Glove)
P: Zack Greinke, D-backs (4th Gold Glove)

American League
C: Martin Maldonado, Angels (1st Gold Glove)
1B: Eric Hosmer, Royals (4th Gold Glove)
2B: Brian Dozier, Twins (1st Gold Glove)
3B: Evan Longoria, Rays (3rd Gold Glove)
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Angels (3rd Gold Glove)
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals (5th Gold Glove)
CF: Byron Buxton, Twins (1st Gold Glove)
RF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox (2nd Gold Glove)
P: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays (1st Gold Glove)

  • Winter fun is coming to The Park at Wrigley:

  • John Lackey isn’t the only aging starter who wants to keep things rolling in 2018. There is also the ageless Bartolo Colon:

  • Colon, who will turn 45 in May, managed a run of success well into his 40s, netting at least 2.5 WAR each season from 2011 to 2016. But he finally appeared to hit a wall in 2017, posting a 6.48 ERA between his time with the Braves and Twins, with ugly peripherals (and a ton of hard contact) to match. With all due love to Colon, if he doesn’t find some way to reverse the effects of aging (again) this offseason, he will not be a useful contributor to even a rebuilding club in 2018. He’ll still always be Big Sexy, though.
  • Um. Yes. I agree:

  • Roy Halladay was such a uniquely-talented, and incredibly-efficient beast:

  • You can see how much deception there was in Halladay’s natural delivery, and how hard it would be for someone to try to replicate:


Author: Brett Taylor

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