Contreras, Rizzo, Chatwood, Almora, Bullpen, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Contreras, Rizzo, Chatwood, Almora, Bullpen, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

In the initial two months of quarantine, like a lot of other folks, I put on a good bit of weight (about ten pounds). Over the past two months, I’ve been able to knock about six off of that, so that feels good. And then I think about how easy it was to ADD ten pounds in two months, and how hard it’s been to LOSE six pounds in two months, and I’m like, you suck, physics.

•   We’ll have to do a much deeper dive than a single bullet, but the eye test says it’s already clear that Willson Contreras’s pitch framing has improved dramatically. Maybe even to the point where he’s not just “not the worst,” he might now be … elite. The stolen strikes (and no lost strikes) have been that impressive. I know the glove movement can look exaggerated, but when you’re getting outside the ball and moving it toward the center of the zone, apparently that’s from the prevailing school of framing guru teaching. Because it works.

•   Cubs bats:

•   Fun fact there? Note that Rizzo’s impressive slash line exists DESPITE not actually having a hit on a ball in play yet this year! His only three hits have all been homers. And he’s also been hit by four pitches already this year. Anthony Rizzo is gonna be the first ever 40-40 player (homers and HBP), and he’s gonna do it in 60 games.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

•   Craig Kimbrel stuff coming later. But for now I’ll just point out some general bullpen stuff, including maximum stress:

•   Great read here from Jordan Bastian on how Tyler Chatwood’s cutter not only pairs well with his two-seamer (obviously one moves glove side, the other moves arm side, all on the same-ish plane), but also how it creates a new velocity tier for him. I hadn’t really thought about this factor in Chatwood’s cutter’s success: his fastballs are 95ish, and his curveball/changeup are 80-85ish. Get the cutter in there at 90/91, and it’s not just a different moving pitch, it’s also another way to change speeds on a guy.

•   Board games and card games among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   This Albert Almora catch was the play of the first week in baseball, which is apparently a thing:

•   Phillies manager Joe Girardi on the state of things, with his team effectively shut down because an opponent team had an outbreak:

•   Major Bears news – all the best to Goldman and his family:

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.