Arrieta Day, Miller, Hendricks, Impressive Relievers, Working with Data, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Arrieta Day, Miller, Hendricks, Impressive Relievers, Working with Data, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I just need like five more degrees. Then we can just be OUTSIDE THIS HOUSE A LITTLE MORE OFTEN AND CONSISTENTLY. Cheers!

•   Jake Arrieta will start for the Chicago Cubs today, and while I’ll save most of my giddy celebration for his regular season debut, it’s still really, really fun to think that I’ll get to see him throwing pitches in a Cubs uniform today. These kinds of reunions are rare – Kerry Wood was probably the last one with this level of emotional attachment for fans, yes? And he was gone for only two years, and his return was a decade ago.

•   Shelby Miller didn’t use his new slider much yesterday, but he snapped off a few beauties. He mostly stuck with the fastball, which was reportedly mid-90s and definitely had late life. I don’t think he was commanding it all that well, which you can get away with a little more easily in early March than when hitters are locked in. So that’ll have to sharpen up if he were actually going to contribute meaningfully. But I can tell you, watching yesterday, it was easy enough to see why the Cubs wanted to take a shot on him. The fastball and the slider are clearly big-league-caliber.

•   Miller got the start in place of Kyle Hendricks, whose day it otherwise would’ve been. But as you often see in Spring Training with veterans who don’t really need the same level of game action, Hendricks could get in his work on the back fields (no need to see the Brewers more than necessary) – ironically, he was facing former Brewer Eric Sogard, who has arrived in Cubs camp:

•   Bonus Hendricks … is he growing a goatee:

 

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•   Mentioned it in the Miscellany last night, but I want to share the clip again. I mean, it’s just Spring Training, but the pitches are the pitches – and these are nasty pitches:

https://twitter.com/WatchMarquee/status/1368368488948072455

•   Javy Báez did his normal work yesterday after the Friday HBP on the arm/wrist. For now, it sounds like he avoided any kind of real issue.

•   Patrick Mooney writes about the Cubs’ approach to data and technology, and how they try to translate it to, adjust it for, and balance it with the human beings who are playing the sport. The Cubs aim to use all the data they can gather, but they also do their best to work with individual player feel, whether it’s how a guy feels throwing a pitch or how a guy feels best positioning himself in the outfield. I tend to think guys are going to perform their best when they feel most comfortable in what they’re doing, so you’re always going to have to strike a balance if you actually want to optimize performance, especially given the range of individuality among the players. Also, the human brain is still the best supercomputer we have, so why would you want to COMPLETELY eliminate that from a player’s arsenal out there to make adjustments based on things he’s picking up that maybe he can’t even articulate at a conscious level? You think maybe there’s a reason Javy Báez just seems to be in the right place at the right time? It might be more than solely the parsing of data.

•   Good line from Zach Davies to conclude the piece, too: “Part of this game is always learning. If you’re not learning, you’re getting worse because somebody else is learning.”

•   Weighted blankets, learning toys, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   OK cool:

•   That is some seriously try-hard shit right there. And if he’d drilled a guy? Just an opportunity to improve, I guess.

•   This is just so cool:

•   The next inefficiency is using atmospheric conditions to bend light around a pitch to make it look six inches higher than it is.

•   If you had to do it, you would absolutely do it without question. But actually making this work doesn’t make a lot of sense:


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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.