Zobrist's Youth, the Cubs' High Socks, Rosario's Chance, and Other Bullets

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Zobrist’s Youth, the Cubs’ High Socks, Rosario’s Chance, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Well, we’re on our way home from a very nice trip to Disney World. Thanks to Michael and Luis and Luke for helping keep this place running smoothly, and to The Family for a really nice time together.

  • How about Ben Zobrist’s revitalization this year, even after having turned 37? After his second straight three-hit night, Zobrist is up to .304/.392/.464 with a 137 wRC+, a number he hasn’t seen since 2012. Per Cubs.com, Zobrist is the oldest Cub to have back-to-back three-hit games since Moises Alou did it at age 38 back in 2004. Also: Alou was incredible that year, his last with the Cubs: .293/.361/.557, 133 wRC+, 5.9 WAR (the second best season of his long career). Also: man that 2004 Cubs team was so disappointing.
  • The trick with a guy like Zobrist, at his age, is keeping him healthy. The little nagging stuff will have a disproportionately negative effect on him, so even though he’s been fantastic, Joe Maddon will resist the temptation to lean on him too heavily.
  • Wondering why the Cubs were all wearing (beautiful) high socks last night? It was indeed in support of Tyler Chatwood, who dons the look. I would be extremely here for the Cubs doing that every five days (and also for Chatwood to pitch around the zone a little more, like he did last night). It’s a great look:

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  • Contrast with the standard look from the night before:

  • Randy Rosario was excellent again last night, running his earned-run-less streak to begin his time with the Cubs up to 7.0 innings. While the Cubs being without Carl Edwards Jr. provides me no joy, I do appreciate that guys like Rosario, Cory Mazzoni, Luke Farrell, and Justin Hancock (in a rotation of sorts between the bigs and minors) will all get slightly more chances than they otherwise would have. It can be really difficult to know which of the quality AAA reliever types can definitely hack it in the big leagues just by scouting them in the minors, so there’s a whole lot of second half value (and beyond) in seeing these guys get meaningful innings at the big league level. I’ve been impressed by all four of those guys (yes, even Farrell, whose walk-off loss to the Cardinals on the Dexter Fowler homer was a fluke in the extreme, even though it came after a rough appearance, and thus all anyone remembers is that HE’S TERRIBLE).
  • Notice that we’re not even talking about Dillon Maples yet at this juncture? Well, it’s a credit to the front office’s work targeting these fringe reliever types in the last year, but it’s also because Maples came out of the gate with his pre-2017 hellacious control problems. His AAA walk rate right now sits at 24.0%. For context on how that “feels,” Tyler Chatwood is currently at 20.0%.
  • The Cubs are now forcing other clubs to have team meetings:

  • How’s this for fun? Albert Almora has his wRC+ up to 126, which is tied for 20th best in the NL (a spot ahead of Charlie Blackmon). He is currently one of the best bats on the Cubs, and he’s still out there making catches like this.
  • A great draft read at The Athletic, with some insights into where the Cubs see the strengths in this year’s crop, and hinting that they may go more bat-heavy than they have in the last several years:

  • Clayton Kershaw came back from a biceps injury only to see his velocity dip again, get removed, and then have an MRI reveal a lower back strain. He will miss more time in this, what could have been a walk year for him if he opted out of the two years and $65 million left on his deal. It still could happen, depending on how he returns from this latest malady, but the fact that it’s even in question is pretty disappointing for we lovers of free agent fun.
  • Ooh, this is certainly interesting, and a heads up for radio stations (like The Score) around the country:

  • This series of pictures is fun as heck:

  • some BODY:

  • An incredible moment:

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.