The Defensive Questions in the Outfield and Other Bullets

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The Defensive Questions in the Outfield and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

wrigley outfield warning trackBecause I have this space at the top of the Bullets to say whatever I want, I’m going to use it today to remind you about our other site, Baseball is Fun. As the name implies, it’s a place for stray, fun and/or interesting baseball stories that wouldn’t otherwise quite fit here at BN. Check it out. Bookmark it. Like it on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

We’re still growing into the site a bit, and feeling out the margins of what it’s going to be long-term. But I really like the idea of having a place where you can just periodically step outside the Cubs-specific world, and see something silly or fun or interesting about baseball, since we all love baseball anyway.

And now for Bullets …

  • A fun thing to click around on at FanGraphs: it’s a projected defense visualization tool, which shows every team in baseball and the projected defense at each position, overlaid on a field, because that’s neat-looking. The Royals look just silly good on defense, while the White Sox and A’s look silly bad (interesting to see the A’s project so poorly on defense … might they think it’s overrated? or might they be targeting guys who project poorly on defense but don’t actually hurt as much as we think?). The Cubs are a mixed bag, looking solid to quite good everywhere except left field (understandable) and center field, where Dexter Fowler is among one of the most poorly-projected defensive outfielders in baseball. We know the story there, as we’ve discussed it for over a year now: the metrics hate him, and we think it might have to do with defensive positioning, because as his positioning improved last year, so did his metrics. But that was just one year (and the metrics didn’t even agree on it), so we don’t really know what we know at this point. I tend to think he’s fine – average-ish, not great, but certainly not terrible. We’ll see.
  • Overall, the outfield defense should be an improvement over last year, especially if Kyle Schwarber improves (he totally can), and Jorge Soler does, too (he totally can, too). I don’t think it’s going to be a pitcher’s haven out there in left and center, but it’s important to keep in mind that the Cubs’ pitching staff is loaded with strikeout guys and groundball guys. Hopefully the outfield, relative to other teams, won’t be quite as called upon anyway.
  • A lot of folks are asking me about the affiliate station guide for the Cubs (i.e., the local stations in the blackout region that are going to pick up WGN-9 and ABC-7 games this year). Last year, the guide came out about two days before the start of the season, so, if that holds, it’ll be announced soon. The best I can do for you now, though, is share with you last year’s guide and surmise that it’ll probably be similar this year.
  • Jon Lester talks about his home run here at, and we’re reminded that last year was his first year hitting regularly since he was a high schooler back in 2002. The fact that he could even make contact regularly is impressive enough. (Also: making elite pitchers pick up a bat and hit in meaningful spots for the first time in 13 years totally makes sense, and doesn’t at all remind me why the DH is a good idea. Not at all. Let’s have the vendors come up and take a few swings next!*)
  • MLB has a new partnership with Apple, which will bring iPads into the dugout with pre-loaded data for each team to use in-game. Joe Maddon doesn’t hate iPads or anything, but it doesn’t sound like he’s too keen on using them in the dugout when he wants to make decisions more quickly.
  • Anthony Rizzo, piano man.

*(OK, actually, that kinda sounds fun. Just don’t flip your bats, vendors. Nobody likes a showboat.)

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.