Adding Velocity in the Cubs' Rotation, Roster Shuffling, Rizzo Already Winning, and Other Bullets

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Adding Velocity in the Cubs’ Rotation, Roster Shuffling, Rizzo Already Winning, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Folks hanging in there?

  • In his latest at, Jordan Bastian goes over the Cubs’ projected starting rotation – naming the names is an easier task for the Cubs than most other clubs – and I thought his closing note was an interesting, if expected, reveal: “The Cubs’ starting staff as a group averaged 90.3 mph on fastballs last season. That ranked 29th in the Majors and last in the NL. While pitch velocity is not everything – just ask Hendricks – it goes a long way in explaining why Chicago’s strikeout rate (20.4 percent) ranked 17th in MLB last year.”
  • The line stuck out to me because it was something Theo Epstein had mentioned the year prior, trying to get a little more velocity into the rotation. Unfortunately, the two high-velocity additions – Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood – weren’t making starts for long. If Darvish is healthy this time around, that’ll add some velo, and a full year of Cole Hamels might do the same thing if he keeps this up:

  • Hey, maybe Hamels can help out another starter or two with that fancy kinetic chain business …
  • As things stand, the Cubs are otherwise going to have three guys in the rotation who are generally going to hover around 88-90 mph in Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana, with only Quintana realistically having a chance to sustain an average fastball velocity much over 90 mph for a full year. As Bastian said, velocity is not everything, but, in addition to creating more whiffs, it increases your margin for error. It’s much easier for a big league batter to clobber an 87 mph mistake than a 95 mph mistake.
  • There are a lot of guys missing from an attempt like this, because there simply aren’t spots for everyone:

  • Some of the glut will be sorted out in Spring Training with injuries and releases (maybe trades), and some guys will hang back in extended Spring Training. Getting the right innings for every interesting arm at AA and AAA is going to be a real challenge if everyone is healthy. A guy like Oscar De La Cruz, who is returning early in the year from PED suspension, doesn’t even show up.
  • Speaking of making all that rostering work, Arizona Phil has a very deep and detailed look at how options, service time, contracts, and much more will impact the Cubs’ ability to shuttle guys in and out of the bullpen this year.
  • Ooh, Instant Pot and Planter’s Nuts are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • Happy Birthday to Mr. Cub:

  • And a centennial to Jackie Robinson:

  • Cubs already winning in 2019:

  • Overwhelming happiness looks like this:

  • Heh, this is good:

  • This is inspiring, and this guy is gonna have a future career in baseball mental skills if he wants it:

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.