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Mocking Up Mock Jerseys to Be Mocked, Evaluating True Raw Power, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I have worn my primary pair of shoes down to the thinnest layer of sole left, so obviously I need new tennis shoes. I just kinda hate going through the process of getting them, because, although I care about my t-shirts and jackets/hoodies, I pretty much don’t care a lick about pants/shorts/shoes. I try! But I just don’t. Stop looking at my feet anyway, weirdo.

•   Speaking of attire … ‘Tis the season for imaginary Cubs uniforms, and I am pretty much always down for unique new looks. I don’t think the Cubs do enough of these. This is the weird one that started the conversations, and I’m sorry, but I do not hate it even though I know I’m supposed to:

•   Lotta Patrick Wisdom talk yesterday, which led Bryan to put something on my radar, and I think it is extremely interesting:

•   There’s a lot of gory math in there, but the ultra short version is that Robert Orr was trying to conceive of a way to evaluate a hitter’s potential to really do damage, consistently, based not only on exit velocity and launch angle, but also directionality around the field*. He found that you can use spray data to even better determine which guys really had the best kind of power, and were most likely to have that level of power be “sticky” year to year. Think of it as a way to evaluate how much REAL damage you’d expect a hitter to do. Wisdom shows up 10th (incidentally four spots behind the guy his game can sometimes emulate so well: Miguel Sano). The conclusion there, which matches what other analyses have indicated, is that Wisdom’s power production is probably real. The damage he did when making contact really was justified in being near the best in the league. So at least that part, we can have confidence will continue. It’s just that enormous hole in his swing in the upper third of the zone. That’s the issue, and why he’ll probably tow that line between pretty darn productive at, say, 37% K, and just not quite playable at 41% K.

•   *This is something we’ve thought of a lot with respect to David Bote’s lack of success. Despite great exit velo and launch angle data, he was never getting results – is it possible it’s because he’s too up-the-middle as a hitter? Well sure enough, in the full data set, Bote has one of the larger disparities between where he ranks in the league if you were trying to evaluate power just by hard hit rate (he looks great!), and where he ranks by this more comprehensive damage rate (very middle-of-the-pack). Jason Heyward, by the way, is one of the most extreme in this regard – the difference between his hard hit rate and his expected damage rate. That tracks. New Cub Harold Ramirez is also one of the most extreme on this end of the spectrum, so maybe that’s an early concern?

•   Clint Frazier and Willson Contreras show up pretty high on the list of the guys with a good damage rate, by the way. Otherwise, the Cubs don’t have a lot.

•   If you didn’t see the news early this morning, Jon Lester is retiring after 16 big league seasons.

•   The Mets’ ZiPS are out, and boy do they project to be loaded all over. They could probably stand to add another starting pitcher, but that’s really about it. Trading Jeff McNeil for a starter might be the ticket there.

•   Of potential interest to the Cubs, a couple guys who show up in the Mets ZiPS because that’s where they played last year: Michael Conforto (.252/.356/.431, 116 OPS+, 2.5 WAR), and Jonathan Villar (.245/.313/.389, 92 OPS+, 1.6 WAR). I still think if Conforto’s price tag is not ridiculous (4/$64M? is that possible?), the Cubs need to pounce.

•   A reminder of the Cubs’ scouting reorganization (which gets less attention than the player development changes, but is also quite important):

•   The Cubs beat is losing a good one, and I hope whatever comes next for Russell Dorsey is great:

•   Cubs are hiring if you’re swole:

•   Shohei GQ:

•   This was a pretty cool nod, both from Caruso and ESPN:

•   Also, nah:

•   Trying to keep up:

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.