CVC

April 18, 2010

This is going to be shorter than the usual post for these. It’s still very early and I just talked about Cub prospects recently. So I’m just gonna give a quick statement on these guys:

Castro: There is nothing to say about this kid but wow so far. He’s hitting the cover off the ball to the tune of an .850 OPS. I guess the only thing to complain about is that he’s only taken one walk. Get a few more. But then again, you’re only 20. So I’m not going to complain about you “only” doing extremely well in AA.

Vitters: He’s struggling. Or, he was. He’s picked it up of late. In fact yesterday he had 3 hits including two doubles AND a walk! Booya! He’s a streaky hitter. This could easily be the start of a good streak for him. And this early in the year that’s all you need to bring your numbers up to par. Don’t let me down Vitters. You crazy walk hating bastard.

Cashner: All you need to know is he’s getting better. His last start he went 6 innings with no hits and 10K’s. Yeah, in the 7th the wheels came off. But it’s early and this is going to be his first year where he REALLY goes deep into games. If by June he’s still getting cruising early and things are coming apart in the 7th I’ll be worried. But for now, DAMN. He’s just been overall amazing. 20K’s in 10.1IP and only two BB so far. Bravo Cashner. Bravo.

PS: Cashner’s FIP is 1.58. For those of you who don’t know what that means: It’s really fuckin’ sexy.


The Cubs Suck at Baseball

April 16, 2010

I’m gonna roll with it. Derrek Lee sucking at baseball has worked wonders for him. Ever since those days last year he’s managed an OPS of 1.044. I don’t know if you know this reader, but that’s really fucking good. Let’s hope my campaign on Soriano sucking at baseball does the same thing for him!

So, on today’s game I’m going to just drop the things that stood out to me. As I’m sure whoever you are, if you found THIS blog, you’ve already read 30 others on how the game went.

Carlos Silva: It was the Astros dude. But I appreciate another stellar performance. Kudos to you, try to keep it up. I mean, you don’t have to do THIS every time. But I wouldn’t be complaining. :)

Alfonso Soriano: Everybody’s giving you hell but you made a couple nice plays in the outfield. Including the good running/jumping catch in the 1st inning. You also had a nice day at the plate 2/3 with a REALLY hard hit double. Keep it coming. That play on the bases, well done. That catcher made an AWFUL decision throwing to second. Not sure if you baited him or not but you might have. Either way, good job. A few more games like this and you might hear some cheers!

Aramis Ramirez: I hope that double in your last at bat gets you going. We really need you.

That is all. I’ll have a post up on CVC later tonight. Until then. Victory Hugs all around!


The Sweet Taste of Victory Hugs!

April 14, 2010

Man, what a game today. I’m just going to surmise my thoughts. I got in the car during the fifth up 1-0 and everything went to hell. I had the radio on and it turned out Wells was cruising. I said to myself, “Y’know, 6K’s through 5, maybe this guy has it in him.” And then he implodes. But he got out of it. While I was driving home the Cubs did nothing in the home half and then the Brewers came up and scored again. I was somewhat livid. Well, after Fontenot’s AB I turned the car off and walked inside and as I opened the door I said to myself, “Please Geo, don’t make me look stupid this year. Now would be a great time for #1.” And by the time my shoes were off my little brother runs to the front door and says, “GEO HOMERED!” It was pretty awesome. I’m not taking credit for calling it. That’s not calling it. Every Cub fan alive said the same thing to themselves at some point.

One quick sidenote: Geovany Soto is really good at baseball. He is just the unluckiest guy on the diamond right now. Believe it or not the man has a Line Drive rate of 30%+ he just hasn’t found the holes yet. They’ll come though. And when they do look out. Cause the man’s walk rate is ridiculous and his Isolated Power numbers have always been good, this year is no different.

Anyways, time to bring things back to the game. That 8th inning was karma. Pure unadulterated karma. With the crap we’ve had happen in the 8th it was just bound to happen. And all with two outs. Baker singled. Soto drew a walk. Colvin drew a walk(!) (AGAIN! Take that advanced scouts!) Theriot singled on a beautiful liner with his patented inside out swing thing that he does. I’m starting to fall in love with it. And then that April Fukudome/Pujols guy came to the plate. And he delivered.

And the 9th inning. Well… Marmol pretty much did this: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RZ2IbjzYZRg/SOQ3A6HbgqI/AAAAAAAACZg/nWUjH8GaY_4/s400/middle_finger_flame.jpg

He was filthy again. He hit 97 at least twice too. Guy has just been ridiculous so far. Let’s hope he keeps it up, we need at least one reliable arm in the pen after all.

After that it was that beautiful victory hug. Hugs all around boys. Hugs all around.


A Quick Look Down

April 12, 2010

Well, with just about every player in the majors looking like a lost little leaguer, I figured now was a good time to look down to the minors. I’ll make a post a week starting on Friday the 16th specifically talking about my three  favorites in Cashner, Castro  and Vitters but every once in a while, including today, I’ll do a more broad scope of things. Just pick a few guys who have been doing well (or poorly if I’m in a bad mood) and talk about them:

Starlin Castro: Since the start of the year he’s been great. He wasn’t good in his most recent game, going 0/5 but even with that game his numbers are as great as his first name:  6/18 2 3B 2SB 1BB 1RBI

I will admit I’m not the biggest Castro guy in terms of believing the hype, even though I do love him (mostly for his name) but man, he may just prove me wrong if he keeps this kind of thing up. I mean, very small sample size but still, 20 years old and in AA and getting it done. Impressive.

Blake Parker: 3IP 2H 3BB 3K 0ER

While the number at the end is the one that really matters, Parker is gonna have to get his control under… well, control. He’s never gonna get called up if he’s walking guys like that. Anyone who saw the Reds finale will know that much. On the other hand, he also has a good K rate going for him, only two hits and it’s still very early. We’ll see what happens. But hopefully he’ll impress enough and be up soon.

Hak-Ju Lee : 3/16 2B  BB

Hm, not the best of starts. Then again his last two games he’s 3/8 so I guess it’s all how you look at it. Still early, but Lee is pretty highly touted and if he wants to move along quickly, not that I’d expect Starlin speed, he’ll have to start doing a bit more. Including swipe some bags with his supposedly ridiculous speed. I’d like to see him do well, I really want to see Castro at 2B and Lee at SS some  day.

DJ Lemahieu:  5/18 2B 2BB
Pretty good start from DJ. He’s one of those tweener specs. Hard to say what he’ll become. But he has the size (6’5″ if I recall correctly) to add put on some big time muscle. The question is whether or not he can stop hitting tons of grounders (over 70% last year!!!!!!) and start hitting more line drives. So far this year he’s done that. But it’s still a VERY small sample:

43.8% 31.3% 25.0%

Take it with a grain of salt, like I said, it’s extremely small on the samples. But anything is better than 70% groundballs. So this kid could be something to watch,  or he could just be… something.

Rafael Dolis: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Oh boy, this is an exciting one. This is a guy with tremendous stuff, his question is getting his control together and simply being unproven. Well… look at that, it’s just one start. But holy cow if he can even be close to that good he’ll rocket through the prospect charts Castro-style. (Does anyone else think that sounds dirty? Oh well.) Dolis is someone I’m going to keep a really close eye on.
We’ll look at one more guy:
Kyler Burke: 4/19 BB
Nothing impressive from him. I’d LOVE him to have a good year. He is probably never ever going to  be a superstar type spec, but man, this kid’s arm is arguably the best in the minors. So I’d love for him to have a good year and be on the map as a solid player just so we could witness that. He had a really nice year last year in the minors:

0.309 0.411 0.513 0.924

If he can do  something similar this year we’ll be in business!
Here’s to hoping for greatness from our minors in 2010!

PS Quicknotes:
Cashner struck out 10 in his 5 inning start. Fell apart in the 5th and allowed 3 runs though. Keep an eye on his innings and K’s. It’ll be telling on where he ends up, RP or SP.
Vitters has struggled but had a nice game recently 3/5 with 2 2Bs.

Carlos Silva did what?!?!

April 10, 2010

Carlos Silva made his Cubs debut last night and it was pretty good.  6 innings 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 3 strikeouts and zero base on balls.  He looked pretty solid and his changeup looked amazing.  He also only threw 71 pitches, and he had not come off the mound grimacing after his second to last pitch I have no doubt that he would have gone into the seventh or possibly longer.  The Cubs defense did look good behind him, but his DIPS (defense independent pitching stats) still looked pretty good with a 1.97 FIP and a 2.19 tERA.  The real thing that saved Silva was that he gave up no HRs.  One out of about every 9 flyballs for Silva has gone for a home run and last night he gave up 7 fly balls.  So not a fluke none went out, but we can’t expect this every night.

What are we to expect though?  Well its certainly not what we have seen the last two years.  Silva was given a bad rap in Seattle.  Lets call him the Milton Bradley of the Mariner’s over the last few years.  I don’t want to insult Silva, but it’s just a comparison.  In 2008 he ended up with a 6.46 ERA, which is downright terrible, but his FIP wasn’t that far from his career norm.  4.63 isn’t terrible for the AL.  Its by no means good, but its not Jeff Samardzija level either.  The defense really didn’t help him in Seattle, the .347 BABIP was .025 points higher than his previous career high, and the 61.1% LOB (left on base, basically runners stranded at innings end) was the lowest in his career by 5.8%.  So it should be pretty simple to see that he was just extremely unlucky.  Then in 2009, he only had 30 IP before being injured and not pitching really past April.  So maybe he was hurt?  Who knows, but the Mariners gave up on him after only really a season.

He looks good though, this spring he pitched well and he looked pretty good last night.  Last night is going to be the typical Silva.  He is going to give up his homers, so every night isnt going to be like last night, but other than it’s going to be similar.  He isnt going to srike many out with his career 3.78 K/9 rate, and he isn’t going to walk many either (career1.70 BB/9).  This is going to really feed well in to the fact that the Cubs defense is definitely above average.  This is also going to put pressure on Lou to put the best defenders in for games Silva pitches.  Not to say Xavier Nady is terrible, but Drew Stubbs doesn’t get a triple if Kosuke Fukudome was playing right field last night.  I think that we really need to put our best defenders in for Silva games, as 90% of PA are going to end in balls put in play.  Silva is going to be a refreshing change for Cubs starters in that he is the polar opposite of Carlos Zambrano.  Zambrano is the better pitcher sure, but he walks too many for my liking, and putting people on for free is really frustrating as a fan.  So not giving any free passes really helps.  We can see what walks can do to a club as Esmailin Caridad found out last night after walking two then giving up a grand slam to lose the game last night.

Regardless no matter what you have heard or read on fangraphs.com, Carlos Silva is not some terrible pitcher that when he pitches its an automatic loss.  Silva is going to surprise some people if they give him a chance.  He is going to have his games where he gives up the long ball, but he is going to have games like last night too.  I just hope that after his first 5 IP 5 ER game fans don’t turn on him, and it’s a huge relief that that game wasn’t last night.


Call up Blake Parker!

April 10, 2010

Well its the name of the blog so it’s only fitting to write about calling him up.
The Cubs bullpen has now blown two leads, one by John Grabow, and one last night by Esmailin Caridad.  This doesn’t even mention Jeff Samardzija‘s, umm outing?  Not really sure what to call his appearance other than well he appeared, and the ball disappeared.

So why isn’t Blake Parker in the pen?  Parker has looked better than Justin Berg or Cardidad in the minors.  Caridad had a Kevin Hart like performance in his cup of coffee last year, but thats no reason to put him in the majors.  Even James Russell made the big league club, and Parker certainly was better than Russell.

It’s not just Parker either.  Why not Jeff Stevens?  Or even John Gaub?  Most people (i.e. not the creator of this blog) would say those two are even better than Parker.  Of course they are wrong, but they are allowed their opinions.  So the question is why are these guys in the majors over the better arms?  Because of a good spring?  Because of a great September?  Why are the Cubs intent on putting more focus on small sample sizes than the overall scheme of things?

I am not saying that Parker, Stevens or Gaub would be saviors, well Parker would be, but the Cubs bullpen would be better.  If the Cubs are going to reward good work, why do they reward it over 10 innings rather than over 60 innings.

Hopefully the Cubs realize this before its too late and we see more of them and less of a few of the guys in the bullpen or at the very least a lot less of Samardzjia.


Group Hug!

April 9, 2010

The Cubs finally put a number in the win column last night, beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0.  The pitching was on last night as Randy Wells, Sean Marshall, Esmailin Caridad, John Grabow and Carlos Marmol combined for a 8 hit shutout.  Wells didn’t look great, but he did what he needed to do and that’s induce ground balls.  Wells induced 13 ground balls last night and that’s all it took.  Marmol looked a little wild, but when he finds it, boy does it look good.

The bats were nothing special last night.  The only two runs coming off of solo home runs by Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd.  Other than a very quiet night.  Ryan Theriot continues to struggle.  Fukudome isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, and Derrek Lee, finally got his first base hit last night.  The only other hit came from Koyie Hill. The Cubs have a combined BABIP so far this season of .185, only the White Sox have a lower BABIP of .143, it should come as no surprise that both teams only managed to win one game thus far.

The most impressive thing about last night is Lou Piniella‘s inability to stick with a lineup.  It only took 2 games to realize he didn’t like the lineup.  Which should come as no surprise to anyone that has watch the Cubs over the last three years.  I would have understood benching Mike Fontenot for a lefty, but Tommy Hanson, is not a lefty.  Alfonso Soriano had a two hit night, the night before and is of course benched.  Why even bother announcing a lineup in spring training?  Lou isn’t going to stick to it.  The Cubs used 131 different batting orders last year.  That’s not even counting the pitcher spot.  So the Cubs used 131 different combination’s of the 1-8 hitters last year, no lineup was used more than 4 times either.  That’s not an anomaly either the Lou used 112 in 2008 and 125 in 2007.

So why even bother?  Especially when the lineup is constructed so poorly.  I used a tool at http://www.lineupsimulator.com to calculate just how good Lou’s “lineup” really is.  I took projections from CHONE at http://www.baseballprojection.com and came up with if we used the opening day lineup with the line the number nine spot put up last year it would equal out to an average of 4.27 runs per game.  Or a season total of 691 which is 16 runs less than last year.  Some of these projections are quite low though.

Using that nifty tool lineup tool you can see that it doesn’t make much difference how the lineup is set up.  You can do something crazy like:

1. Fontenot/Baker

2. Geovany Soto

3. Ryan Theriot

4. Kosuke Fukudome

5. Alfonso Soriano

6. Derrek lee

7. Marlon Byrd

8. Aramis Ramirez

And the end result is going to be a difference of 6 runs a year.  So why bother?  Why get so worked up?  As long as the Lou isn’t hitting the pitcher first or Aramis 9th, its not a huge deal.  The Cubs will hopefully be fine and we shouldn’t be sweating the small stuff.

The Cubs are happy enough to be hugging,

shouldn’t we just be happy that Cubs baseball is back on again?

Side note: The jump was a bazillion times better than this lame hug, but I am happy with a win.


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