Rizzo's Exit Velocity, Anderson's Focus on Health, Ricketts Plans, and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

Rizzo’s Exit Velocity, Anderson’s Focus on Health, Ricketts Plans, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

In celebration of Fat Tuesday, I’m gonna get myself a great lunch today. I don’t know if that’s actually the point, but it sounds right to me.

  • It sounds like Anthony Rizzo won’t be too interested in hearing about his exit velocity (Tribune). He notes that last year, his exit velocity was up in April and May, but that he was hitting only .236 at that point (of course, he also had a .377 OBP and a .489 SLG, so his wRC+ was still a healthy 130). Rizzo’s always been an interesting case to me, because he’s correct that his exit velocity was up for him early in the year, and it didn’t necessarily translate to more hits, but then again, he’s never been a huge exit velocity guy. Rizzo’s actually typically around average in that department, and yet we know his production is always elite. That doesn’t prove that exit velocity is not a useful measurement, of course, but it is a reminder that it’s not the end-all-be-all, especially (apparently) for certain players.
  • (How does Rizzo get his elite production without elite exit velocity, by the way? Well, combine incredible plate discipline with fantastic contact ability with huge power with a very low groundball rate … it’s that simple!)
  • Brett Anderson talked about his work with pitching coach Chris Bosio (CSN), and it’s a familiar, comforting refrain about how the organization makes subtle, rather than dramatic, changes: “It’s one of those things where he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s more trying to limit the pressure on my back and mild mechanical adjustments where I don’t land on my heel as much and kind land on the ball of my foot or my toes, so it’s not such a whiplash effect.”
  • There’s something else in the Cubs’ approach to Anderson that I’d like to note. The Cubs prioritize subtle, go-with-the-flow changes for a pitcher, which strikes me as quietly brilliant, because you’re *far* more likely to get a pitcher to buy-in and effectively implement subtle changes, even if you’re not always going to get the very tip-top-best a guy could be if everything went perfectly. But that’s not the only way the Cubs go-with-the-flow, as exemplified by the work with Anderson: notice that the primary changes being worked on are designed not necessarily to specifically improve effectiveness, but are instead designed to preserve health. There’s a subtlety there, too: with Anderson, we already know he can be effective. Sure, every pitcher could always be better, but if you had to focus on one thing with Anderson, it wouldn’t be trying to make him a better pitcher – it would be trying to make him a healthier pitcher.
  • Anderson came in for some analytics comments here at FanGraphs, and offered some thoughts on why he’s not too into reviewing his own spin rate. He does, however, study a number of other analytics, and also works to ensure his release point stays consistent (referencing pitch tunnels in the process).
  • Tom Ricketts spoke to the City Club about a variety of Cubs business issues, including his hope for the plaza – which opens mid-season – that it will host events every single day (DNAinfo). Farmers markets, family movie nights, smaller music shows, and things like that seem to be the idea. The area around Wrigley Field is undergoing so much change right now, both because of the construction at and around Wrigley, itself, but also because of the significant multi-use development (non-Cubs-or-Ricketts-affiliated) going up at the southeast corner of Clark and Addison, across the street from Wrigley Field. When the plaza and hotel are finished, and when the other development is complete, the area is going to have a very, very different vibe on non-game days, and I can understand that the Ricketts Family wants the Cubs and Wrigley Field to be a part of that.
  • Also in his comments, Ricketts noted (Tribune) that at some point they’ll be working with the city to figure out what needs to be done to bid successfully on the 2020 MLB All-Star Game.
  • We’ll see if it’s a lasting injury, but Mark Gonzales reports that Jemile Weeks was banged up in yesterday’s game. Weeks, in on a minor league deal and a non-roster invite, is competing for the last bench spot on the Cubs as a utility man.
  • Ummmmmmm holy crap:

  • Yes, but who *finishes* with the most, and will he top 100:

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.