The MLB season is right around the corner, which means you need to listen to the BN Podcast Season Preview Spectacular at some point this weekend.
- Scott Feldman, who’s had an ugly Spring Training from a results perspective, says he feels as good as he’s felt in a long time, and is going to stay in Arizona to get in one more minor league start before joining the team, the rest of whom have already departed for Houston. “It’s just something you’ve got to do to get the last time on the bump before the season starts,” Feldman said yesterday, per Cubs.com. “I could have thrown three bullpens or something, but I’d rather get on the mound and face some hitters one last time …. The numbers weren’t good, but honestly most of the stuff that was happening yesterday was just hanging some offspeed pitches. The good news is I feel like I was commanding four pitches. Some of this stuff is just Spring Training and guys are going to be swinging a little bit more. This is the best I’ve physically felt in Spring Training in a long time. My stuff feels good, and now it’s just a matter of executing, finishing guys off and not hanging pitches.” I’m just going to forget Feldman’s Spring, and watch him with new eyes when his first regular season start rolls around. Because there’s still upside there.
- The Oakland A’s/Baltimore Orioles thing keeps coming up when folks try to describe how the Cubs might surprise this year. It’s a fair comparison in the sense that just about any team can get incredibly lucky – and see surprising development from players – but I just don’t see the same level of young talent stepping forward at the same time (A’s) or the same ridiculous luck coming out of the bullpen (O’s). If the Cubs have somehow managed to stay around .500 by June, then we can talk.
- I biffed on including this in Around the League yesterday, because it’s pretty darn important to online discourse: FanGraphs and Baseball Reference are harmonizing their WAR baseline, meaning that “replacement level” is going to be the same starting point for both calculations now. The WAR calculation, itself, will probably always vary – different people take different approaches – but the huge differences we saw in recent years between bWAR and fWAR are likely to go away. This is really going to help our discussions because, too frequently, you’d have some variation of someone saying, “Darwin Barney was worth 4.0 WAR last year! He’s super valuable!” And another countering that, “You’re crazy, and don’t even know how to read stats. Barney’s WAR was just 2.0.”
- The Three Rivers Burgh Blog – a Pirates joint – asked me some questions about the Cubs’ season as part of a season preview series, and you can see those (clever and informative) answers here.
- Jesse Rogers wraps up the Cubs’ Spring with some stats and anecdotes. Patrick Mooney also wraps the Spring with more of an attitudinal look at the Cubs as they get ready to start the 2013 season.
- Funny story: a BN friend Wayne and a BN friend Josh – among the handful of you whom I’ve met and hung out with – were each, independently, in Mesa for Spring Training stuff this past week. Wayne tweets that he just saw Javier Baez crush a 450 foot homer in batting practice at Fitch (and notes that the Cubs should provide towels to sop up the drool), which I retweeted. Josh saw that tweet, and realizes that he, too, was at Fitch, and had seen that Baez mammoth shot. Then Josh tweeted at both of us that, indeed, he had actually tracked down that very home run ball (it is a small and swell world):
- Check out the DESTRUCTION Baez’s mighty swing did to that ball! (Ok, so maybe it was the pavement … )
Another Extension for the Rays, Hamels Still Trying to Come Back, Wind at Wrigley, and Other Cubs Bullets