Mo's Magical Cutter, Sosa's Hall Chances, the Cubs' New Performance Man, and Other Bullets

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Mo’s Magical Cutter, Sosa’s Hall Chances, the Cubs’ New Performance Man, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Did I mention my fall this weekend? Or was I too embarrassed? On Friday night, I wiped out hard. I wish I could blame it on the ice or even the booze, but really I just wasn’t paying attention and walked shins first into a metal railing. I hit a pile of rocks so hard that my wedding ring flew off – cutting up my finger in the process – and mangling my shins and bruising my thigh. I mention this now because here, five days later, the shins and thigh hurt way more than they did even that night. They are sore, man. Walking and talking at the same time: dangerous. You’ve been warned!

  • Newly-elected Hall of Famer – UNANIMOUS – Mariano Rivera is such an incredible story, from a barely-signed player to a non-prospect to a failed starter to the most dominant reliever of all-time. Much of his success, of course, was predicated on the best cutter anyone has ever seen:

  • A couple things to note on that pitch. Naturally, the Pitching Ninja is gonna show the embarrassing whiffs, but the cutter at its best is not necessarily a whiff pitch – it’s a pitch that moves late and just enough that it makes it so hard barrel up. Hence, Rivera’s strikeout rate was always decent but not elite … but his soft (29.1%) and hard (17.3%) contact rates for the years they were tracked are absolutely hilarious.
  • Also, this is just a bit better than – but in the universe of – what Carl Edwards Jr.’s fastball could be if he could command it like Rivera. You just aren’t going to match that pitch, but Edwards has his own thing – a 95 mph, high-spin, good-extension fastball with late natural cutting action? If Edwards could consistently put that pitch where he wanted, he would be unhittable. Alas, that’s the gap that so many pitchers with incredible stuff face – can you actually command it consistently?
  • Speaking of Rivera’s unanimous selection, I am very happy that there wasn’t a single “look at me” vote this year that omitted Rivera, or a strategic vote that used Rivera’s certain election as a way to give another vote to someone else. To me, a guy like Rivera SHOULD be unanimous, because anyone who has even offered a passing glance at the game knows he’s a Hall of Famer. That said, it’s a reminder that there are guys like Greg Maddux and Ken Griffey Jr. out there that somehow were not unanimous selections.
  • Sammy Sosa continues to hover around 10%, and it’s quite clear he’ll never even come close to being elected by the voters. Maybe someday there will be a committee specifically gathered to determine the Hall-worthy-ness of the PED-era players, because that’s the only way Sosa is going to get in.
  • A little more on the Cubs’ new Director of High Performance, Adam Beard, who hails from Australia:

  • As you can read in this profile from when he joined the Browns, Beard had previously worked in Australian rules football, rugby, and Olympics sports. So I gather, then, that baseball is a new frontier for him – and his role may be something of a hoped-for-new-edge in baseball. Also, he uses the word “bespoke” off-hand, so he is smart. On the other hand, his name is “Beard,” but he does not have one. That seems to be an issue.
  • Javy wants you to know:

  • This is just fantastic:

  • Ernie Banks, with love:

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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.