The Important Middle of the Cubs' Rotation and Other Bullets

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The Important Middle of the Cubs’ Rotation and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

All right, I said I was gonna do it, and I have so far: smoothies. I got my Ninja on Friday, and I went to town this weekend. I am a zero-to-sixty kind of person, so I started with a smoothie that featured spinach, almonds, oatmeal, flaxseed, almond milk, strawberries, blueberries, banana, and a splash of fruit juice. Here was the first one:

I’m not going to tell you that it tasted good – as in a drink that you’d want to sit and sip for its deliciousness, alone – but it did not taste bad at all. It was completely drinkable, and, I think, sustainable for me. I did it again on Sunday, and I felt more full/satisfied throughout the day than I’m used to, and The Wife remarked more than once that I seemed to be in a better mood. Coincidence? Eh, probably. But we’ll see.
kyle hendricks cubs feature

  • Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks were on MLBN Radio, and the CCO has the transcripts here and here. Really great reads, both of them. I love how Hammel continues to exude the desire and excitement to be back with the Cubs even after such a short time in Chicago, and I love how Hendricks seems to completely understand who he is and what his game is. Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta rightfully get the bulk of attention when it comes to the Cubs’ rotation, but Hammel and Hendricks will have nearly as much to do with the Cubs’ competitiveness (or lack thereof) in 2015 as the front two. If they can each just be slightly above average overall, the Cubs will have a fantastic rotation. (Assuming everyone’s healthy …. )
  • Also, in the Hendricks interview, he points out something that we probably don’t mention enough: although it is extremely rare for players to sustain their minor league level performance once they reach the Majors (let alone improve upon it), and that’s especially true for pitchers who are not velocity-stuff-strikeout-heavy guys, Hendricks could fall into that rare group of exceptions, given the vastly better resources he’ll have available in the big leagues. His quote: “I dove deep into the scouting reports right away when I got up there. That was something coming up through the minor leagues I would even watch video but it was limited what they had available for us. There was enough where I would be able to look and scout certain hitters before I would go out there in the minor leagues. Once I got up, the scouting reports that are available to us were just unbelievable and all of the information that is available. It’s something that I need in my game and I know I need to know and have a game plan against the hitters that I’m going to be facing so it was something that I bought into right away when I got up.” You should expect some regression next year for a variety of reasons, but Hendricks performing as an above-average overall pitcher remains perfectly plausible.
  • We recently talked about the Cardinals’ need to add another starting pitcher, and Paul Swydan at FanGraphs takes a look, concluding that adding a Hamels/Scherzer/Price-level starter would be a luxury for the Cardinals, but it’s a luxury they can afford. In other words, although Swydan sees the same potential lurking issues there, the Cardinals don’t need another starter. (Good: don’t do it, Cardinals.)
  • Javy Baez had himself an excellent game in the Puerto Rican Winter League playoffs yesterday (after a great game the day before, too): he went 1-3 with two walks (no strikeouts), scored twice, and stole a base. It’s hard to track the stats throughout because the playoffs are separated out, but, for what little it’s worth, Baez’s strikeout rate has generally fallen throughout his play in the league.
  • David Laurila’s Sunday Notes includes a knock on the Reds for what appears to be wheel-spinning, rather than trying to squeeze out a couple more years in their competitive window, or rebuild. That’s how it looks from where I sit, as well. I think we’re going to see the Reds struggle in the first half in 2015, and then finally sell off at the Trade Deadline, shortly after they host the All-Star Game.
  • There is a whole lot of commitment in this picture, and I’m not just talking about the swell BN shirt (on sale now!):

Author: Brett Taylor

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