IL Decision Looms, Big Brewers Injury, Scoring Change, Rizzo, Olney, Prospects, and Other Cubs Bullets

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A weekend of extremely busy kid days and late nights has caught up with me and I am dragging today. So many coffees on the way …

  • We should get an IL decision on Nico Hoerner today before the Cubs play the Rays. Sounds like infield prospect Luis Vazquez is traveling with the team just in case they pull the trigger on an IL move tonight:
  • “If we didn’t have hope, we’d put him on the injured list,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said on Sunday of the hand fracture and going day-to-day. “So there’s enough – from what the doctors say and from how he’s feeling – there’s enough hope where we feel like it’s worth waiting. That’s always the kind of judgment you’re making there.” I understand that there are a lot of little bones in there, and a very small fracture might not be a big deal, but in these situations, I always wonder how much performance you’re sacrificing just to get a guy back out there a week early. Sure, the doctors say he CAN play if he doesn’t feel too much discomfort, but will he fully heal as quickly? Will his performance be degraded by juuuust a tick? An IL stint can already be backdated three days, so you’re talking about him missing seven more days.
  • I just wouldn’t hate the Cubs being a little more proactive about these things. You can call up Vazquez, he could make a few starts during the week (maybe a couple games at third base to improve the defense, maybe a game at shortstop to give Dansby Swanson an extra day of rest). It isn’t THAT big of a deal to lose Hoerner for a week – but having him play through a hand fracture very well COULD wind up a big deal.
  • The Brewers may have lost young lefty Robert Gasser for the year, if not longer, and he had been pitching extremely well (we saw it first-hand a couple weeks ago):
  • Anthony Rizzo better get the longest standing ovation for an opponent at Wrigley Field in years and years:
  • ESPN’s Buster Olney got hacked yesterday, and it was a very wild ride:
  • A correct scoring change, as the pitch got to Miguel Amaya’s glove before it hit the dirt (and also, it feels like a correct change from a moral perspective, because Amaya should have blocked this ball):
  • Our evaluation of Miguel Amaya and Justin Steele shouldn’t really change after this correction, even if their stats changed. We knew watching the game that Steele had done his job quite well, and Amaya had let him down.
  • As an aside: it kinda drives me crazy that a pitcher gets tagged with a “wild pitch” even when he gets a whiff. Like, how “wild” was the pitch if it achieved its goal? Obviously, I get the why. But if we’re really trying to use it as part of pitcher evaluation, it seems to me that you should chop out “wild pitches” that came on swinging strikes. You’re punishing a pitcher for a GOOD thing.
  • Also, that’s the second year in a row where a scoring change many days later led to a huge drop in Justin Steele’s ERA. Actually, now that I look at it, both changes led to a drop of exactly 41 points of ERA! That’s crazy.
  • Two reasons for sweepers becoming less effective overall:
  • The orgs that moved quickly to emphasize other pitches in development last and this year are going to be ahead of the curve. Ultimately, you’re still looking to find the best mix of pitches for a particular pitcher – the ones HE can execute well and command – but if you’re going to have an organization-wide expertise on certain kinds of pitches, the sweeper has become less valuable quickly. (Gimme all them gyro sliders and hard curves if you want to stay ahead and miss bats. Oh, and become the org masters at teaching knuckleballs and eephuses, just for fun.)
  • We’ll need to see more over a longer stretch (and at a higher level) before saying that Joan Delgado is A Guy, but right now the 19-year-old outfield prospect is putting up preposterous numbers in the Arizona Complex League (.349/.446/.667):
  • Delgado would be a particularly fun breakout given that he was a later IFA signing (April of 2022, rather than the January group), and I’m not aware of him being a big-time bonus baby (which would track with him being a later signing). The caveat to his enormous number, though, is that the strikeout rate is about 33%. You can account for some development there, but usually when the rate is THAT high in rookie ball, there’s some fundamental issue (pitch recognition, swing and miss, etc.) that will have to be addressed, or the production is going to go away at the higher levels.
  • That reminds me of Alexis Hernández, one of the few ACL success stories for the Cubs last year. The 18-year-old shortstop (and younger brother of Cristian) hit .315/.407/.515/130 wRC+ last year, but with a 33.3% K rate. At Low-A this year, he is hitting .135/.244/.198/42 with a 40.2% K rate.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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