Bah, got down a coding wormhole this morning, so apologies on the super late Bullets.
• I’m not saying Clint Frazier is GOING to be a star for the Cubs this year – you would be unrealistic to say such things. But I will say that this is the plate coverage and the swing of a star:
— Brad (@ballskwok) March 31, 2022
• That pitch is up and in, moving even further in, and is where you *should* be able to get some weak contact from a big guy with long arms like Frazier. But he gets the barrel of the bat in so quickly that he meets the pitch with the fat of the bat, and then the bat speed does the rest. Monster homer. I can’t speak yet to the contact issues he’s had before, or the defensive issues (or the precise extent to which those things were merely the result of the health problems). I am also #NotAScout. But I’ve seen enough swings over the years to know one that would make my eyes pop, and this is one of them.
• A reminder on Frazier’s under-the-hood ability:
— Steven (@GoCubs49) March 30, 2022
• I’m not sure how you could justify opening Frazier to the minors to begin the season, regardless of the state of the outfield crunch. I tend to think it’s not going to happen in any case, because Frazier has frequently been starting in the outfield on the days when Seiya Suzuki is in right and Jason Heyward is in center. I will still be ticked if the Cubs permanently lose someone useful (like Rafael Ortega or Michael Hermosillo) off the roster, but it won’t have anything to do with a decision not to option Frazier. It would be entirely about the decision to give Heyward more runway.
• Check out who snags Seiya Suzuki’s first spring training dinger with the Cubs, and then look what happened:
Home run, Seiya Suzuki!
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 30, 2022
Did that today, but at Sloan Park pic.twitter.com/DN2DNgS3en
— Ryley Krausen (@Ryley_Krausen15) March 31, 2022
• Of the homer, Suzuki said, “It felt really good to be able to hit it in front of my home fans. They were cheering me on. It felt amazing. When I went back to the dugout, the coaches, the teammates, they welcomed me and they were very, very, very happy as well. So, it just felt really good.”
• This made me chuckle:
• Speaking of which, gut says this is going to be an issue across most of the sport, not just a handful of teams (Cubs included):
The @Reds have tickets available still for Opening Day, something Phil Castellini said he doesn't ever remember saying at this time of year. He says it's due to the date change after the MLB lockout delayed the start of the season. pic.twitter.com/xEdPVENRp9
— WCPO 9 (@WCPO) March 30, 2022
• The confluence of the lockout, the pandemic, continued drop-off in interest generally, inflation squeeze, march of higher prices at games, etc. It could wind up a reckoning for the sport.
• Gordon Wittenmyer did NOT hold back when discussing the Ricketts Family’s attempt to purchase Chelsea FC, and the blowback the family is facing from fans in England.
• Pretty classy and kind move by the Dodgers, who continue to renew former outfielder Andrew Toles’ big league contract so that he can remain on big league health insurance. The 29-year-old has schizophrenia and has not played since 2018.
• Good read at The Athletic on how the Cubs’ courtships of hitting coach Greg Brown and outfielder Seiya Suzuki had some parallels and overlaps (including the Cubs bringing Brown to the big meeting when they were trying to get Suzuki to agree to a deal). It ultimately becomes a profile on Brown, a former college coach and minor league hitting coordinator for the Rays, and guy we’re still only just getting to know:
Brown reached out to players on the 40-man roster ahead of MLB’s lockout and joined the introductory video conference that Cubs officials had with Suzuki’s camp in late November. Brown contributed to the individualized offseason development plans designed for players, packages that included an R&D perspective and instructions from the strength and conditioning coaches. Brown also visited the Arizona training complex to get an up-close look at the prospects the Cubs have accumulated through trades, recent drafts and international signings.
“There’s a lot of excitement around here because of the moves that they’ve made,” Brown said. “In order to create a full-fledged system, we want synergy from the top down. If our messaging and coding are on completely different stratospheres, then what happens when they get there? We want to set them up for success when they arrive at Wrigley.”
• Easily the biggest issue on the hitting side over the last decade of the hitting coach carousel is the stagnation of talented hitters once they reach the big leagues. With the waves of young hitters potentially coming over the next five+ years, reversing that trend is critical. Here’s hoping the better alignment of process and communication from minor leagues to big leagues will help.
• Our friends at Obvious Shirts are opening their physical location north of Wrigley Field on Opening Day, appropriately (obviously?):
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) March 31, 2022