Aces of the Game, Where the Cubs Find Theirs, Old Bullpen Friends, Dex Arrives, and Other Cubs Bullets
The dang groundhog saw his shadow, so we’re in for six more weeks of winter. He always sees his shadow. The fix is in.
- The top starting pitchers in baseball, by the “authorities”:
- And by the fans:
- The fan list has some oddities about it, but the official list also has some spots where I’d pick nits. I think Rodon and Scherzer are too high, given what I would project for them in 2023. As much as it pains me, it’s hard to argue with Burnes at the top, given how consistently excellent he’s been. At least the Brewers have him under team control for only two more years. Alcántara should probably be right up there at the top, too, given how much volume he can give you. Strider feels like he has a really good chance of being up much higher in the years ahead, which makes me very annoyed that he was a 4th(!) round pick in 2020 and he’s already an ace.
- … it sure will be nice when there’s a Cubs pitcher who could even remotely be considered for a list like that. There’s a question: is that person in the Cubs’ system right now? And if so, who would your guess be? I would probably go with either Cade Horton or Daniel Palencia, because they are two of the guys who do have that kind of upside potential, even if it’s necessarily going to be a 95% percentile outcome for them. Other guys in the system are maybe even more likely to become big league rotation mainstays, but don’t necessarily have ace potential upside.
- Of course, it’s entirely possible that the next true ace the Cubs have is someone they acquire or sign from outside the organization. A full 50% of the pitchers on that first list are not with their original organization. There are multiple ways to get an ace.
- I had occasion to land on Trevor Megill’s FanGraphs page this morning. I’d kinda forgotten about the enormous reliever, whom the Cubs lost on waivers to the Twins just before the lockout. I was bummed about it, but it was also a situation – like we’ve seen a lot this offseason – where the Cubs had so many at-the-margins relief options that they just weren’t going to be able to keep them all, especially as guys run out of options. And some they lost were going to wind up being decent elsewhere. It’s a good problem to have, so long as you can do the development part continuously and are very good about choosing which guys to keep.
- Did the Cubs make the right choice on Megill? Well, it looks like his velocity ticked up further with the Twins (he averaged 98 mph on the fastball, up from 96.5 with the Cubs), but he still had that mix of “good peripherals, not great results” going on. He may have made some improvements, though, because unlike with the Cubs, his home run rate wasn’t egregiously high. It appears he still has the problem of leaving too many over the middle, though, because the line drive rate, average exit velo, and BABIP are all way up there. That unique over-the-top delivery from a 6’8″ dude seems to work really well when he can locate at the top and bottom of the zone, but whenever he misses, he’s just right there on perfect plane for a swing to hit a rocket.
- Dexter Fowler is joining Marquee as an analyst, and he made his first appearance last night:
- Fun(?) collection from The Athletic this morning of every center fielder who has played for the Cubs since Fowler’s departure after the 2016 season:
Albert Almora Jr. (2,419 1/3 innings)
Ian Happ (1,626)
Jason Heyward (1,029)
Rafael Ortega (944 1/3)
Christopher Morel (458)
Jon Jay (340 1/3)
Jake Marisnick (266)
Michael Hermosillo (201)
Nelson Velázquez (198)
Kris Bryant (89 2/3)
Billy Hamilton (32)
Johneshwy Fargas (28)
Cameron Maybin (27)
Leonys Martin (21)
Trayce Thompson (17)
Nico Hoerner (17)
Joc Pederson (12 2/3)
Patrick Wisdom (7)
Narciso Crook (5)
Matt Szczur (1)
Tony Kemp (1)
- Just a fact:
Spring Training Miscellany: Velazquez Walks It Off for the Cubs with a No-Doubter! (And Some Other Less Happy Stuff)