Cheers for Romine, Hendricks and Bad Stats, Davis Breaks Back Out, SchwinDong, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cheers for Romine, Hendricks and Bad Stats, Davis Breaks Back Out, SchwinDong, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The eldest ladies of the house – The Wife and The Little Girl – are going on a girls trip this weekend, so that means it’s daddy+The Little Boy+The Littlest Girl time at home. The plan is to sucker them into doing various productive activities around the house and convince them we’re just having fun and playing games. (Ah, but in all seriousness, if you do it right, it actually CAN be fun!)

•   That combination of Andrew Romine – a career journeyman utility guy who never homers – hitting a home run off of Craig Kimbrel – a stud who never gives up homers – was truly something. Cubs lost the game, so whatever, but I’m still loving that moment. It was a life memory for Romine, to be sure, and also something his teammates were so happy to see. They were going nuts, not only for the game-tying moment, but unquestionably for Romine, himself. They know what it’s like to be a guy who has been grinding for 15 years to try to make a career of this thing, and has been good enough – and worked hard enough – to keep sticking it out. Romine won’t figure prominently in the Cubs’ future plans, but I still always feel like stories like his have value to the guys around him.

•   Romine’s 203 wRC+ is the third best in all of baseball … minimum 10 plate appearances. The crazy thing? Although one of the guys ahead of him, Adalberto Mondesi, is a similarly tiny sample humorous thing, the other guy is Byron Buxton at freaking 218 (110 PAs). Get that dang guy healthy for a season, man. I just want to see what he could do! (Oh, and speaking of which: just behind Romine? Mike Trout at 194. Get him healthy again, too!)

•   Kyle Hendricks was great again yesterday, a lone bright spot this season in a rooooough rotation year. The start against the White Sox marked his 17th quality start, second in the majors behind only Walker Buehler’s 19 (Montemurro). I don’t care a lick about the “pitcher win-loss” statistic, because it is about the least useful, descriptive, OR predictive stat we can look at, but I will admit that it’s funny to see that Hendricks has 13 “wins,” which is tied for the most in baseball, and only 4 “losses,” which is tied for the 9th fewest. I mean, Marcus Stroman, who has an ERA a full run better than Hendricks and is pitching on a first place team, has a 7-11 record, the most “losses” in baseball. Lord it’s such a bad stat. Funny, though.

•   Brennen Davis, who was not at Wrigley Field yesterday despite an oopsie-doodle eyes-on report on Twitter from a no-doubt-well-meaning media member, was going through a four-ish-day slump – his first in a while – when he exploded yesterday. He had three hits (two doubles and a homer) over the course of a double-header, got hit by a couple pitches (stop it!), and didn’t strike out all day. That one day took his season slash line from .262/.377/.505 (142 wRC+, 29.3% K rate) to .272/.386/.534 (151, 28.5%). You are reminded that Davis is playing as one of the youngest hitters at Double-A, has yet to face a single pitcher younger than him, and he’s got the 4th highest wRC+ in all of Double-A.

•   With Greg Deichmann getting the call to the big league team, you’d think there’s a spot at Triple-A in the outfield for Davis if the Cubs want to get him that experience before the offseason, though I wonder what will happen when (1) Jason Heyward returns from the IL, and (2) Michael Hermosillo returns from the IL at Iowa. That latter one is such a kick in the pants, because Hermosillo – who is the same age as Deichmann at 26 – was having such a breakout year that, before his hamstring injury, he was assuredly going to be the first Triple-A prospect up when there was an opening in the outfield. For now, speed guy Zach Davis, 27, got the bump from Double-A to Triple-A, and I’m sure the Cubs could and would figure out starts there for Brennen Davis when they feel he’s ready. You just want to make sure you’re also setting up Deichmann and Hermosillo as well as possible to show how they fit into the 2022 picture, since Davis is almost certainly going to start 2022 at Triple-A no matter what.

•   Speaking of Deichmann, he got his first big league hit yesterday off of Lance Lynn, while making his big league debut:

•   Also fun to see Frank Schwindel hit his first homer with the Cubs, a 400-foot SchwinDong in the 10th off of Garret Crochet:

•   It’s going to be tough for Schwindel to factor into the Cubs’ plans, but who knows. If he were to rake the rest of the way, given his minor league success, maybe you take the pandemic into consideration and you say he’s another one of these 29-ish-year-olds – like Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega – that is worth keeping on the 40-man roster all offseason, and you figure out a role next year. Like Wisdom (unlike Ortega), he has minor league options remaining, so that helps his case.

•   Truly impressive that he stayed focused to make the call first, and then let himself feel the unbelievable pain of a fastball to the nugs:

•   The internet says it’s National Baseball Card Day – totally a real holiday – and the MLB Shop has a collection here.

•   Nick Castellanos isn’t just an awesome hitter, he’s just a fascinating dude. It’s part of the reason Cubs fans gravitated to him so quickly after the 2019 trade deadline, and part of the reason a lot of us want him back after this season. Ever get curious what HE thought about his apology-and-tribute-interrupting homers? That and more here:

•   If you are still trying to wrap your head around seam-shifted wake (I still am), here’s another high-level write-up that gets me all the closer to understanding it. Figured you might want to see, too.

•   I like hearing from other Cubs prospect nerds who were there in 2011 that the current state of the Cubs’ farm system is far, far different from where it was at the start of the previous rebuild. The current system is just so much deeper, with much better development systems in place. I was there, too. It’s not close. The big separator, though – as in, where the challenge will nevertheless come – is in what the Cubs did last time around with what they had inherited: they turned Andrew Cashner into Anthony Rizzo, they developed a just-drafted Javy Báez and a just-signed Willson Contreras, and they turned Ryan Dempster into Kyle Hendricks, among other things. They also then had the benefit of multiple picks in the top 6 of the draft, which isn’t going to happen. So while the farm system is undoubtedly in better shape now than then, there are different hurdles coming, and there will also be a need to NAIL the decisions from here (well, actually, starting at the Trade Deadline – here’s hoping the Cubs got back some future studs in those trades).

•   When we think of the Cubs’ current “flexibility,” we think about the lack of payroll commitments and the burgeoning farm system that can be used in multiple ways (it parallels Theo and Jed comments about the two currencies of baseball – cash and prospects). But there’s a third meaning of “flexibility” that the Cubs haven’t really had in six or seven years:


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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.