Ross and Learning from Mistakes, Why the Cubs Like Torrens, Ohtani, Rainouts, Speed, and Cubs Bullets

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Ross and Learning from Mistakes, Why the Cubs Like Torrens, Ohtani, Rainouts, Speed, and Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Our live event at HVAC is tonight! Can’t wait to be there with a lotta cool folks, and hopefully meet and chat with some of you. Food and drink, Bears panel, Cubs panel (me, Michael, Bryan, and Dave Kaplan), Thomas Ian Nicholas and his band. Good times ahead.

  • David Ross got a lot of heat this week for some of his in-game decisions (especially the ill-fated bunt decision), but he invites the scrutiny. It’s part of the job, and he wants to get better (Tribune): “We can second-guess and Monday morning quarterback it all, but that’s my job to make those decisions,” Ross said. “When it works out, it’s great. When it doesn’t, it’s my fault. So that’s part of the seat. It’s just trying to be consistent with what I do. … If we’re in a conversation and five people around me tell me they would have done something differently, then I’d try to look in a mirror and, like, where did I miss? How did I miss? It’s the only way we get better.”
  • I like to hear that, and I hope it really is an important part of Ross’s process. Ross is obviously tremendously experienced in the game of baseball, and the front office has substantial confidence in his ability to get the most out of players and also to make (more often than not) the right in-game decisions. But you still want to know that a still-relatively-green manager is eager to re-examine close calls and try to learn from any mistakes. (Ross later told The Score, by the way, that Wisdom’s wrist did factor into the decision to have him bunt, but it seems like he still felt like the bunt was the right call no matter what … we’ll agree to disagree on that.)
  • Like we always used to talk about with Joe Maddon, SOME amount of I-know-best-and-I-call-the-shots is necessary to be a big league manager. You need to have the respect of the players in the clubhouse, and you also need to have the confidence to keep making the right process decision even if you get bad results (i.e., if you choose the 70% success option twice, and the game just happens to give you the 30% failure back-to-back, you can’t start thinking you were wrong). THAT SAID, one of the few things that truly frustrated me with Maddon was his inability to discuss his mistakes publicly. Maybe he was learning from them privately, but it just bothered me as a fan to hear him stick to his guns after the fact when it was clear that he’d simply made a mistake. It happens! Even to long-time veterans who are probably going to the Hall of Fame!
  • I appreciated getting a little more info from Sahadev Sharma on how the Cubs organization sees third catcher Luis Torrens, and why they wanted to make sure to keep him around (the only way to do it was to add him to the 40-man and 26-man for Opening Day). From Sharma: “For those complaining about Luis Torrens hitting for Ríos, fans need to understand how the team views Torrens. It was an organization-wide decision to keep him and they clearly believe Torrens can hit. When discussing Torrens, multiple people with the Cubs have talked about how catchers develop late and Torrens has shown some signs of being on that path. He hits the ball hard and puts up a solid at-bat. It’s fair for them to find out if that evaluation is accurate. Fans can complain all they want, but he’s on the roster and he’s going to be used as a right-handed bench bat, third catcher and even DH against lefties unless he proves he can’t be trusted in those roles.”
  • To me, it sounds less like the Cubs reeeeeally want Torrens for this roster, specifically, and more that they just really think there’s upside in the bat. You’re talking about a 26-year-old catcher (that’s young in catcher development terms, especially offensive development) who got pulled straight up from A-ball to the big leagues(!) because he was snagged in the Rule 5 Draft by the Padres (he was very highly-regarded as a prospect). From there, he did not get anything remotely resembling a regular development trajectory or playing time. The one year he did have a healthy and full set of starts was in 2021 with the Mariners, and he posted a 101 wRC+ at age 24/25. His lack of options and desirability out there as a depth catcher makes keeping him really hard, but you can see why the Cubs want to bet on the bat.
  • TBD on whether this sustains or whether it’s rule-related or baseball-related, but offense is way up so far this year in a lot of ways:
  • Yesterday’s game being rained out sucked for at least two reasons. One, I wanted to watch the game. Obviously. Because today is an off-day, so we were going to be Cubs-less for a day already. But two, I had it in my head that the Cubs were going to win, and thus I was going to be able to spend this off-day talking about how the Cubs were back to .500, and they had lost a series and won a series, and something-something reset.
  • One upside of the rainout, as Michael pointed out on Twitter, is that it’s one fewer game the Cubs have to play without the chance of Seiya Suzuki being available.
  • At least we get extra minor league Cubs today: the Iowa Cubs play, and also the Tennessee Smokies and Myrtle Beach Pelicans kick off their seasons! The latter game will be broadcast on Marquee, starting at 6pm CT.
  • Super early and noisy because you’ve had only five match-ups with which to work, but just three stolen bases so far for the Cubs. The more steal-oriented teams are already in the 7+ range, and I wonder whether the Cubs will wind up in that group or not. They don’t have a singular SUPER DUPER SPEED GUY to pump up the numbers, but they have a half-dozen guys whom you could expect to go well into double-digits, especially in the new era.
  • Gonna be seeing a lot of this over the next decade, I fear:
  • The Cardinals did lose the game, though, and sit alone in last place in the NL Central at the (very early) moment. So there’s that! (Also, so far this year, just five teams have allowed more earned runs per game than the St. Louis Cardinals, which is definitely something I want to see happening this year for reasons both competitive and petty. (Of course, they’ve only played the Blue Jays and Braves, so … ))
  • Weird beef in the White Sox-Giants game, with Tim Anderson eventually getting ejected after arguing about … Logan Webb quick-pitching? Maybe? I’m not actually sure it was the timeout thing that led to the ejection.
  • Don’t break this man before free agency, jerks:
  • Also, I will remember where I was when I tell my kids about THE REAL glory of Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player:
  • Oh. Oh my:
  • I regret to inform you that this is sweet and funny:

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.