The Other Catching Value, Brewers Lose Another, Wild Walk-Off and Call-Out, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Other Catching Value, Brewers Lose Another, Wild Walk-Off and Call-Out, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

For the first time in a long time, I tweaked my back this morning. So that sucks. I’d been a good boy – stretching and even using the foam roller before and after working out – but, still, it happened. Not even doing anything out of the ordinary, either. Just putting pants on The Littlest Girl (a variation of the Brandon Morrow injury).

•   The latest Kevin Goldstein chat, as always, is a trove of interesting and insightful information. Here’s one that really stood out to me:

Mac: I’ve heard for years that Roberto Perez is one of the best game callers. How much value is in game-calling for the elite compared to average? Over a season are we looking at a few runs or multiple games?

Kevin Goldstein: Games

•   Games. Not talking about the catcher’s receiving skills or defense or bat. Just talking about the decisions on what pitches to call and when. That, alone, is worth multiple GAMES, according to Goldstein. So, if that’s true, why not just have the manager call the game according to an algorithmically-perfect strategy? I suspect the reason is because the manager – and the algorithm – are not there behind the plate to truly see what’s working or not from the same perspective as the catcher. Adaptability is key, and I can easily see how it’s a unique skill for a catcher to know – for each of his pitchers, and each of the batters – how to optimize the approach on THAT particular day. I’ll probably start paying attention with more concern whenever I see a manager calling pitches.

•   Speaking of all that – the referenced catcher, Roberto Perez, was the long-time Cleveland catcher, where he was working with that consistently successful staff, together with new Cubs back-up catcher Yan Gomes, and new Cubs GM Carter Hawkins. You wonder if there’s a little extra sauce in there somehow that Gomes and Hawkins might bring over to the Cubs – tips and strategies and pre-game approaches and such. Things the catching crew can do to help the pitchers even more.

•   And speaking of catchers, here’s a variety of missed strike calls in visual form at FanGraphs, complete with discussion of how a near middle-middle pitch could be called a ball (spoiler: it’s usually weird catcher movement – sorry, catchers).

•   Marcus Stroman has started a little mound work:

•   This is a combination poach from the Brewers and also a woman getting a shot at a very high-level position, so that’s doubly cool:

•   Even if you just want to be cynical, consider that there is a huge pool of talent – coaching, and development, and R&D, and front office – that has barely been considered over the past couple decades. The organizations that do a good job pulling in more of the best women for key roles are going to have more success over the next couple decades (you’re going to have a better shot at getting the best of the best if you have good systems in place now). It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do.

Meanwhile, the Brewers have been poached a lot this offseason.

•   I still really enjoy this:

•   I also really enjoy this:

•   The longer version of that win over the Rockies, featuring Joe Girardi at the plate and Ricky Gutierrez scoring that winning run:

•   To get even crazier, that game was the one where Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael called out Angel Hernandez during the 7th inning stretch and got himself ejected:

•   For the collectors and historians among you:

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.