TCR Friday Notes

Tick-tock, tick-tock, pitchers and catchers reporting grows ever closer.... - "Dying Cub Fan" of Ron Santo fame, sent along a few links gauging some of the Veterans Committee members' takes on Santo's candidacy. Bob Feller believes Riggs Stephenson is more deserving than Ron Santo (although Riggs isn't even on the ballot, makes you wonder what trouble Riggs got Feller out of back in the day). Feller has this little gem:
"We're going to find out in a few days who makes it, and I think we're going to lower the standards, and when we lower the standards, I think [Ron] will have a better chance."
Really Bob, you have to lower the standards to get Ron in, but your old pal Riggs (I can only assume they were pals because otherwise Feller is just dumb or delusional or both) has a much better chance. Meh! On the last ballot, Mike Schmidt made it pretty clear he'll never vote for anyone so forget him. The ever-fortunate Brooks Robinson backs Santo and Lou Brock is in Santo's corner as well. UPDATE: It appears Mike Schmidt has changed his mind since the last vote, thanks to Cubster for the tip. - The Brewers site here had a nice comparison of their pitchers using PECOTA 2007 forecasts versus what the World Champion Cardinals actually did do last year (which is not very well). So I thought I'd at least post the Cubs numbers and see how they stack up:
Zambrano 32 40.6
Hill 26 24.2
Lilly 27 24.6
Marquis 21 9.1
Prior 15 12.8
Miller 12 7.3
Guzman 16 11.6
Total 149 130.2
What does this tell us? First, forecasting systems are kind of a joke. It predicts Sean Gallagher with the 4th highest VORP on the team and it doesn't even have Marquis as a Cub yet (this is the first round of predictions, more will be coming). Second, the Brewers came out at 130.5 in 161 starts using their top 6 pitchers and I'd say we stack up just fine. - In other news....well there isn't any other news, go watch the Bears this weekend! I've got some serious Chicago Cubs prospect talk for Monday and Tuesday ready to go though.


Shell shocked?

makes you wonder what trouble Riggs got Feller out of back in the day)

...Hopefully Riggs wasn't trying to knock some sense into BF.

...two days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, at the peak of his career, he enlisted in the Navy - - and was discharged the latter part of 1945. During the 44 months he spent in the Navy, most of the time he was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Alabama in the gunnery department where he earned 8 Battle Stars.
Isn't Bob Feller featured on some TV spots for NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalus)? If so, maybe his shunt is blocked and someone needs to get him to his neurosurgeon (hopefully, BEFORE he votes for the veteran's committee HOF ballot).

Hey, my sponsorship at finally kicked in for Snapper Kennedy. Check it out...

"More guys should get to experience the joy while they're alive. For sure, we can't keep Kaat out any longer and I hope the writers don't do it to Smith, the past all-time saves leader. They are welcome at my table Sunday night.

And consider Santo, Murphy, Herzog, and Harvey, and a vacant chair for Mauch, Hodges and Buck O'Neil (who by the way was just honored by President Bush as an American hero).

I didn't always feel this way. The first few years as a member, I felt very special and deep down, didn't want anyone who was borderline to infiltrate the fraternity."

- Schmidt 12-21-06

you've got mail, manny

Bitter old Bob Feller...check out the Feller's opinions and controversy section. Some ugly stuff, so it's easier to blame it on dementia from NPH.

same page, but actual wikipedia server cause that was displaying rather oddly for me...

I hadn't seen the Schmidt piece. A change of heart roughly equivalent to what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus. Encouraging, but hard to say whether he'd actually vote for Santo.

File under "Bad Idea Jeans"

ESPN is allowing users to comment on articles, Bill Simmons apparently is the guinea pig. This can only end badly.

to your defenders one but I just resent it...

Got it, I just took TCR off totally and left the most important part...:)

Jim Parque trying a comeback...

cubs offer schmidt 3/44

I might be the only one, but that Schmidt post always makes me laugh.

you are the only one

""The two years off really helped my shoulder," Parque said. "It feels really good, pain free, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the field."

I'm just pointing this out to emphasize a point I was making some months back. It's more circumstantial evidence that when a pitcher really injures his shoulder it takes two years to recover. I wonder when MLB will start acting rational about this and stop rushing pitchers back into service.

you are the only one
no for some reason Crunch thinks it's funny too. So you two are the only ones that think it's funny. best as I can tell from reading about him, Jim Parque apparently had a torn labrum probably dxd in 2001 (he only pitched 28 innings that yr) or 2002 (25 IP that season).

I've addressed this previously in the context of Kerry Wood vs Angel Guzman, but techniuqes for repair back in 2001-2 were very different than the last 2 yrs as implants to reattach tissues as well as portals to get better angles and even knot tying techniques and suture materials have improved significantly. I don't know much about Parque's surgical history though, so it's hard to be very specific about how long he really has had to recover as well as how significant his tear was. He might be feeling good but he also might not see the light of day on a mlb roster again. Any idea how Mike Sirotka's shoulder is feeling these days? If you think all shoulders recover in 2 yrs, Sirotka will also be warming up in a bullpen near you soon.
From Wilkipedia: On 24 June 2004, Jim Parque announced his retirement after playing seven seasons of professional baseball due to his recurring arm injury from 2000.

2002 scouting report on Parque:

I love that Parque scouting report: Soft tossing LHP, below avg stuff! Picks Alot...

also: 2 seam FB 81-83 (Batting Practice type)

...would love to have seen what they wrote about Donuts Rusch last yr

For what it's worth... Tim Brown on Yahoo! Sports "Sport Stream" talks about the 3 most-improved teams this off-season.

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Los Angels Dodgers
3. Chicago Cubs

how the hell did the Dodgers "improve"?

Schmidt's good, but Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez to Drew and Lofton? that's an improvement?

Well what strikes me is that Detroit is the most improved because they got Sheffield and thats it?

I am sorry but adding Soriano, Lilly, Marquis, Cliff Floyd, and DeRosa pretty much blows that out of the water. I think I need to write those lists for Yahoo.

ronnie cedeno continues his red hot playoff hitting in an 18 inning game-1 of the Caribbean World Series. 3/7, 2rbi, and a walk...if he has a hot spring his situation could get as interesting as wuertz's.

Agreed... my top 3 list of most improved:

1. Cubs
2. Boston
3. Dodgers

My picks for the playoff teams (at this point) are: NL - Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets AL - Detroit, New York, Toronto, Anaheim.


ronnie cedeno continues his red hot playoff hitting in an 18 inning game-1 of the Caribbean World Series. 3/7, 2rbi, and a walk…if he has a hot spring his situation could get as interesting as wuertz’s.

Nice, but what I'm dying to know is if he found out how to throw the ball to first base without it ending up in the ground or in the upper deck. If Rothschild is really going to get Marquis' sinker working, I'd like to know Cedeno can at least make routine groundout assists.

Most Improved:

1. Cubs
2. Indians
3. Boston

Detroit should have added some pitching this offseason...

If the Astros bring back Clemens, I like what they have done (for 2007 at least, Lee is going to be an anchor by 2009).

Bob Feller's always been sorta the "crazy uncle in the attic". Never lacking a strong opinion on anything, and never having the the sense to occasionally keep it to himself.
His WWII service was honorable and to mock it by calling him "shellshocked" is less than classy. I realize it was intended to be light-hearted, but it rubbed me the wrong way.
Whitey Herzog, Doug Harvey and Buck O'Neill would be on my Veterans ballot, too. Along with, of course, "Pizza Man" Santo.

Cedeno had his shot all last year. If he is hot for a couple weeks in meaningless games in ST, that shouldn't make a difference. Now if he goes to Iowa and tears it up for a month or more, then I say give him another shot on the big league club. Of course all this is assuming Theriot, DeRosa and Izzy are healthy. If one of them is not, then he will almost have to break with the team.

I think the Dodgers improvement is in part based on the big bad Wold being healthy and pitching like he can. I think the BoSox are the most improved team cos of their pitching and outfield depth.

That's Wolf by the way!

Re. Feller:

Feller's just from a very different time and place. I have the utmost respect for his service and his right to think whatever he wants regarding baseball.

That said, Bob Feller really seems to be a grumpy old man. The kids these days, they get on his lawn, they use curse words, they don't do their homework, they'll never amount to anything if they don't do it the way he did it. He hasn't shown much ability to accept, or even adapt to, changing times....

Here's a write up by Marc Jimenez from about Pie's "season" down in the Dominican Winter League:

"Despite a solid season with Triple-A Iowa (.283, 15 homers, 57 RBIs, 17 steals), Pie struggled for Licey and hit .219 with three stolen bases and 13 RBIs in 32 games. He did not appear on the Tigres' playoff roster."

I have never seen Pie play personally, but I have trouble looking at his #'s and believing the hype.

For those of you that are fairly knowledgeable about the skills of Pie, why should someone like me not view him as a bust waiting to happen?

I'm not very knowledgable about Pie, but I did watch him closely during ST '06. I've said here on TCR for a long time now I'm not at all impressed with him. He has a very long, uncontrolled swing and will hack and miss at many many big-league breaking balls because of it. On defense he isn't exactly Carlos Beltran, but he isn't Adam Dunn, either.

I'd say in the very best scenario (and believe me it's very optimistic), you'll someday, several years down the road, end up with someone almost as good as Jacque Jones with the bat and an Endy Chaves-type defender.

I've never seen him first hand either, but I know the guys at BA and at least some at BP and elsewhere, project him as at least an average big leaguer for his career, with the upside of being an All-Star.

wasn't Pie just facing lefties in the Dominican league? I thought I remember reading that.....

wasn’t Pie just facing lefties in the Dominican league?

Yes, that's right. Almost entirely lefties. I wouldn't worry about his numbers.

Pie was also described as worn out, tired and weary, needing a rest.

Yeah, Rob, I think Oneri mentioned that when trying to explain Pie's pitiful numbers. He also mentioned that he was batting down in the order, 7th or 8th, I think. From what I remember, Pie was supposed to be working on his defense, his baserunning, and his hitting against lefties while in the Dominican League.

Oh yeah, the Wolf, forgot about him. They still don't seem that much better to me, but then of course they already made the playoffs.

Pie age 22 isnt the Pie age 25-ish that people are looking forward to.

he swings (yes, long) but fast and fluid for a guy with his frame. i dont wanna compare him too much to soriano, but he's got the bat speed and use of frame that's similar.

that said, guys like him are gonna look just miserable if they're not tuned or checked-in 100%. not saying that's what's with the low #s...cuz i got no idea what he was doing to get those low #s this fall/winter.

talks about McGehee reporting with pitchers & Catchers, but he'll be playing other positions as well

I have a lot of respect for Feller, Spahn, all those guys who served in the military. I also am quite willing to cut an 88-year old some slack. That said, he really needs to stop giving interviews and the media should stop asking him for them. With opinions like that, whatever the reason, he's just embarrassing himself and tarnishing his legacy.

Also, FWIW, he still has a vote on the VC. It would seem to be a no for Ron Santo this time around. Giving guys like him votes on something like this can hardly be seen as an improvement to the VC process.

I saw Pie in about 12 A ball games when he was with Lansing, one game at AAA. He looks like Curtis Granderson redux to me right now. Uncontrolled longish swing, undisciplined eye and approach at the plate, the ability to strikeout by any means necessary. He's better defensively than another poster suggested. Plus arm, plus range, not the greatest jumps on balls hit over his head but a lot of CFers can plead guilty to that. Looked strong coming in on balls. To put it bluntly, Corey Pattesron impressed me twice as much as a minor leaguer than Pie has. Then again, Patterson hit a grand slam, 2 run HR, tripled and threw a runner out at the plate on one hop from deep CF at Coveleski Stadium (for those that have been there, it's a huge CF) {back when Patterson had an arm} in the first game I saw of him....and we know how that turned out.

Dusty is in Ghana to promote baseball....

Poor kids in Ghana. They are going to be so confused about baseball. There going to questioning why managers dont have 2 people in CF, Play the white players on hot days, why there isnt a double switch every time you want to pull a pitcher, why hitters take walks. Really MLB could not send someone like else there to be an ambassdor is beyond me.

I think it's a misperception that Pie was purposely used against lefty pitchers in the DR. If you look at box scores for that league (, they use a good chunk of their pitching staff every game. What I remember Fleita saying was that by the fourth or fifth inning, every at-bat is situational. A lefty hitter only sees lefty pitchers from that point on.

Does it say how many AB's he had in the DR? If I recall, Licey's the most popular team and their roster is rather fluid, guys come and go throughout the season,,,

Suprisingly ignorant about the profession he's built his adult life around, Dusty is a good guy.

MiLB has Pie at 105 AB's for.270 BABIP, I would have preferred he did better, but he obviously had some bad luck. He has a .342 BABIP in Iowa, if I am doing the numbers right. He only stole 3 bases in Licey but for you saberenthusiats, he didn't get caught stealing.

MiLB's J.Mayo noted the the Devil Rays are sending Gerry Hunsicker and staff to scout David Price this week. Unless Price asks for an exorbitant signing bonus looks like he'll be the #1 pick according to Mayo.

that pretty much says that Mayo doesn't know what he or she is talking about. The #1 pick at teh beginning of the season is often isn't the same as when the draft comes around.

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 7 hours 21 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 8 hours 36 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 9 hours 21 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 9 hours 22 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 9 hours 25 min ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 9 hours 26 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 9 hours 54 min ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 10 hours 57 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 12 hours 3 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 12 hours 52 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 17 hours 23 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 1 day 8 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 1 day 8 hours ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 1 day 8 hours ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 day 8 hours ago view