I swear it has been my travels to the airport this morning that delayed the Bullets, not me just sitting somewhere watching new Cubs shows on their just-updated YouTube channel. Nope. Definitely not that. Definitely not just hunting for stupid screenshots. Definitely not.
- Rob Arthur of BP took a crack at explaining why those now infamous PECOTA projections see the Cubs like they do – 79 wins, last place in the NL Central. Independent of their division, PECOTA might see the Cubs more like a mid-80s win team, so that’s something to keep in mind. Moreover, although they are “last,” they are really mostly just clustered with the Reds and Pirates, which could finish in any order behind the Brewers and Cardinals. I’m not saying I *agree* with any of that, just explaining the take. Most importantly, Arthur acknowledges what we’ve all already said: a simple algorithm cannot know the things that we know as humans. Things that might be particular to why the Cubs are better in function than they are on paper (if you think that). We know, for example, that Kyle Hendricks basically always beats his ERA predictors by a considerable margin. PECOTA, like other projection systems, still doesn’t have a great handle on things like that.
- It’s a good read if you want to better understand how PECOTA landed where it did, and why it might know SOME things that we don’t care to acknowledge.
- Kris Bryant lands as MLB’s “most indispensable” player for the Cubs, which is fair if only because he has MVP-caliber potential. I could make the argument that losing Javy Baez, given who replaces him, could hurt the Cubs even more (especially in the first month before Addison Russell returns from his domestic violence suspension), but it’s pretty hard to argue against a guy who can easily be the top bat in the NL this year.
- I wonder who else I would consider in the conversation for the Cubs? Anthony Rizzo, of course, because he’s just such a consistent, steady bat. You could pick a few guys from the rotation, but maybe I’d say Kyle Hendricks (for the same reason as Rizzo), but I think the Cubs are better able to replace a starting pitcher right now than Kris Bryant. The bullpen has a ton, ton of depth, but man, I’m not sure I want to think about it without Pedro Strop, for example.
- I don’t even have to read this to know it’s great (but I’m about to read it):
Dartmouth guy Duncan Robinson explains what Joe Maddon keeps hearing in exit interviews with young Cubs pitchers getting sent to minor-league camp: Kyle Hendricks is the perfect pitcher to try to emulate. https://t.co/zqD6toaNZd
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 11, 2019
- Yup, great read. It’s a reminder that the mental side of the game – being “smart” isn’t exactly it, but it can help – can be so critical for players to actually tap into their talent fully. Almost all professional players who reach AA/AAA are *talented* enough to reach the big leagues, but they have to – among many other things, including luck – figure out how to best tap into and maximize that talent.
- Fanatics is 20% off all orders today, so heads up on that.
- Things have never been this bad for the Chicago Cubs franchise, which began operating in September 2018:
— New York Post (@nypost) March 10, 2019
- Just thought about this again, and it makes me happy again:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 4, 2019
- The Ricketts Family may be maintaining an interest in high-level international soccer:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 10, 2019
- Well this is certainly a crummy, crummy practice:
— R.J. Anderson (@r_j_anderson) March 10, 2019
- Speaking of the new Cubs YouTube channel:
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 11, 2019
- Among Amazon’s Deals of the Day today, the electric toothbrush I use. It’s awesome. Don’t resist it just because you think it’s weird or unnecessary or that it limits your ability to scrub. It’s great. Just sayin’.
- Over in the NFL, the legal tampering period opens today, which means rumors are about to explode. Make sure you’re following us:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) March 11, 2019