Lotsa Lefties

The Cubs may be short these days on professional centerfielders and recent World Championship banners, but the Wrigley Boys are positively drowning in lefthanded pitching candidates. In fact, with five southpaws in line to make the big league roster (see Arizona Phil’s post from early Thursday), it’s difficult to even recognize them as the Cubs. Assuming Ted Lilly and Rich Hill each make 30 starts this season—a big stretch for young Hill; Lilly has hit 30 in three of the last four years—the duo would become the first pair of lefties to do so since Dick Ellsworth and Kenny Holtzman way back in 1966. For a little historical perspective, last season, led by Hill and Sean Marshall, lefthanders accounted for just over 31% of all Cubs IP. That’s the highest total since 1986, when the 70-90 Cubs relied on six lefties for 31.2% of their total IP. (For the record, the “Southpaw Six” were Steve Trout (161 IP), Jamie Moyer (87), Ray Fontenot (56), Guy Hoffman (84), Frank DiPino (40), and Drew Hall (23.7). I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that’s the first time Guy Hoffman’s name has ever been mentioned at The Cub Reporter. Congrats, Guy!) As for the Class of ’07, if Lilly, Scott Eyre, Neal Cotts and Will Ohman all match their recent seasonal averages and Hill accounts for, say, 180 IP, the fivesome will throw about 534 innings, which would probably translate to about 38% of the Cubs’ pitching load. Over the last 20 years, Cub LHPs have averaged only about 19% of the team’s IP per season. You get the idea—this is pretty different stuff. But is it good different or just different different? Two things make me think the Cubs’ sudden listing to the port side is not necessarily a positive development. #1: Aside from Adam Dunn, the biggest thumpers Cub pitchers will face in the NL Central are righthanded or switch hitters—Pujols, Berkman, Rolen, Bay, and of course, new Astro, Carlos Lee, who has long terrorized Cub pitchers and anyone sitting in Wrigley’s leftfield bleachers. #2: As chronicled in the 2007 Bill James Handbook, over the last three years, Wrigley Field has been among the NL’s friendliest parks to righthanded home run hitters, just behind Cincy’s Great American Ballpark and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Of the five Cub lefties mentioned throughout this piece, only Hill has shown a reverse platoon advantage, and after such a short time in the bigs, it’s impossible to know if that will sustain itself. As someone who grew up thinking it must have been against the rules for the Cubs to have more than one or two decent lefties in a season, I am fascinated by the prospect of the Cubs breaking camp with five lefthanded pitchers. What I’m not sure is if it will be the right decision.


say it isnt so....
wood is hurt ALREADY.


With the way the Cubs hit lefties last season, maybe the thinking was that "if we have more southpaws on our side, there will be less of them for us to try and hit against on the other side".


The Cubs were the "worser" person/s of the day on Keith Olberman's Countdown tonight for the Underarmor ads in/on the Ivy.

advertise on the bleacher sluts' breasts if it gets us a championship and brings in better players....

There was some stuff put up around the time of the Lilly signing about how long it'sbeen since the Cubs have had a good left handed starter, but it's not like guys leave the Cubs and go on to have great careers, Moyer being a notable exception. If Tom Glavine came up with the Cubs, he'd probably still be a HoFer. Good pitchers learn to pitch to their defense and park's strength, regardless of where they are.

I can't get behind this prostitute Wrigley field if it wins us a championship mentality. I haven't done a study, but I am pretty sure it is going to be difficult to correlate inter-stadium advertising to championships. If the Cubs win this year, is it going to be because they got $284,000 from UnderArmor? I doubt it.

WOOD and PRIOR need to hire THIS GUY NOW

But they can't 'cause he's banned in every locker room in major league baseball.


say it isnt so….

wood is hurt ALREADY.

He just fell and got bruised. I don't think it's all that big of a deal.

GOOD: Cubs making Smardzja get a haircut.

BAD: Piniella asking reporters to not make a big deal of Wood's injury.

UGLY: Wood getting injured on first day of ST and missing a few days already.

Look, was anyone seriously counting on Wood for anything at all this season? I mean, serious? There were lots of comments on this site just several months ago about not expecting anything from either of those guys, Wood or Prior, so let's keep the "hot tub" incident in perspective. Has anything substantive really changed from a week ago? What are we paying Wood anyway? The low base salary reflected what most of us already knew - - don't count on anything from Wood, or Prior for that matter.

You would think at this point that Wood would be pretty good at the getting the towel drill.

#7: ...no big deal

Put this injury through the Cubs' translation machine and it's pretty clear that next week he'll have aggravated an oblique, then two weeks after that he'll resume throwing too soon and back off after feeling "tightness" and two weeks after that have an MRI, then another one after that to confirm the diagnosis, then an exploratory surgery "to clean out some of the damage" and then a great rehab outing at AAA and then a bad appearance out of the bullpen for the big club, but one where "my shoulder felt great" and then a side session cut short, followed by a precautionary trip to the DL and then after a month of "slow progress" they'll be pulling ligaments out of his leg to replace the ones in his arm. Wow, that was one sentence.

I'm nervous.

"Look, was anyone seriously counting on Wood for anything at all this season? The low base salary reflected what most of us already knew - - don’t count on anything from Wood, or Prior for that matter."

He is expected to be on the 25 man roster, so yes I expect something out of him. And with Dempster very possibly not being able to close, some people have already been talking about Wood as future closer. Even ESPN ranked him as the best signing under $2 million this year.

But this is why I didn't want him back at all. Just his name and presence on the team makes most people have high expectations about him. While it is easy to say that we shouldn't expect anything from him it is much harder to truly beleive that when we have seen how good he has been in the past, and the same goes for Prior.

MANNY: YOU and people who do not remember Woody's control problems are thinking about him as a closer.

Not me.

Unlike Mariano Rivera, conventional wisdom (and probably statistical wisdom too) dictates you DO NOT want to walk guys in the late innings. This is not a makeup of a successful closer.

I'd much prefer going to Howry until I was shown that Wood could pitch in a pressure situation with the game on the line in the ninth inning and not walking three in an inning. Then - having to face Pujols.

There's a joke in here somewhere...Wood getting out of the spa...Prior throwing towels...everybody ending up hurt...and neither guy making it out of the locker room all year?

I dunno, if I don't laugh, I just cry. Sullivan's whole article hits me subliminally like "welcome to the train wreck which WILL BE your 2007 Chicago Cubs."

Kind of like standing bemusedly standing back and watching a stream of gasoline trickle across the street and under that car over there...knowing its gonna blow up sooner or later...

everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax. With Andy McFail and Dusty gone, maybe there will be a lot more truth about injuries. With or with out Wood, this is a better team than it was last year. This is a time of year to look at the positives. Lets not bury this team just yet.

"With or with out Wood, this is a better team than it was last year."

That is not a very high standard.

"This is a time of year to look at the positives."

Hardball Times thinks rather highly of the Cubs farm system.


cubs made samninja cut his hair?

sucks for him...then again the paycheck he's getting to "be a professional" isnt that much of a "sucks for him"

re: HBTimes rankings...

i can buy the cubs rankings on pitchers, though i wonder where the yanks land on that list, esp. compared to the brewers. yanks got 3 very strong pitching prospects that jump to mind immediately.

the #4 overall rank...phew...dunno about that at all. the must really like the strength of veal/pie/epat/guzman/marshall/mateo/gallager/etc.

Any system that ranks the Cubs farm system in the upper half of baseball is wrong. I don't need metrics to prove this, I know it to be true, and therefore it is self evident.


Check out the walk rates of starters who converted to closers before you make statements like you have above. It's not uncommon for their walk rates to drop.

the "problem" with the cubs system isnt the fact its bare as much as it is the lack of a "phillip hughes" or a "troy tulowiski" type marquee player to showcase what's behind it.

as it stands the cubs have bat leads of pie/epat with the rest about to start AA or below (discouting fringe guys like moore and yes, cedeno).

the pitching is deeeeeeep, but its not sexy...veal, guzman, gallagher, mateo, and a slew of above average rookie-to-A ball types.

if the team had a pimp to lead the list the respect of the system on whole AS IT STANDS (not relating to the "well the cubs havent blah blah since 1989" reflections upon the past) it would have a lot more respect.

right now its a buncha cool parts without a marquee name to "wrap" a cool looking package around the total whole of the prospect system.

baseball america did a trade breakdown of the ryu DRays trade a few days ago...nothing really new on the reinhard front other than to mention he may project as a reliever down the road (not mentioned, but unless he produces a change/curve to add to his fastballs/slider that pretty much is his role by default).

on the lopez front...

"His speed is fringy, but he's a solid right fielder with a strong arm. He batted .256/.356/.402 with four homers, 27 RBIs and nine steals in 56 games at Rookie-level Princeton in 2006."


The fact that the Cubs system ranks well using a metric that they don't particularly care about, is probably a good thing. Maybe it would be best in baseball if they went by slugging and k's per 9!

*“This is a time of year to look at the positives.”

Hardball Times thinks rather highly of the Cubs farm system.*

More of the same-ol', same-ol'...the Cubs farm system is always highly admired. Yet, besides can't miss draft-picks [Wood, Prior] who still ended up "missing" and one trade [Murton], the Cubs farm system has crapped out for the last ten years.

Remember, we're supposed to be in the middle of a dynasty fuelled by the can't-miss superstars like Bobby Hill, Hee Seop Choi, Brendon Harris, Dave Kelton, Corey Patterson, Andy Sisco, pitchers like Christensen, Mitre, Hagerty, Brownlie, etc. etc.

NEAL: IF you can give me all closers, since that is the position we are discussing, then it will be pertinent.

A high percentage of "closers" were starters at some point until recent history. What's your point? Do you want to go back 20 years on the "stat"?

I'm not saying it is not possible, I'm just saying that before people annoint him the Cubs closer, his history is walking too many guys that then come around to score. This has been recently discussed by Stone (check WSCR archives for Tue. or Wed. this week), Caplan, McRae, et. al.


Thanks Gaius.

"farm system has crapped out for the last ten years"

that's the thing, though.

none of that matters at all. why should d.veal and e.patterson be judged on the merits and accomplishments (or lack) of people that arent even them?

you gotta play and rank with what you got not what you had and never was. donald veal's production and progress has little to do with b.brownlie.

"YOU and people who do not remember Woody’s control problems are thinking about him as a closer."

Just to be clear, I am not thinking of him as a closer. I said: "some people have already been talking about Wood as future closer." I am not included in the some people.

i wasnt gonna bring it up but the control/closer thing been flowing...

well...wood sure as hell would have a hard time doing worse than dempster in the control department. dempster is very dependant on his defense, deception with movement, and weak groundball contact in order to get his job done.

but hey, howry is there if dumpster and wood dont get things done...

Speaking of closers. KEITH FOULKE just retired.

I don't know how long the Indians will retain control of him, but

With right elbow, knee and back pain, and on the DL he'd fit in perfectly with the rest of our staff.

Cubs need to win just so this crap ends-

"Cubs fans honor Caray while lifting Murphy's Law curse"


Another Pulitzer entry for Carol Slezak.

I have a curse for the Cubs too. Back in 2003 at the NLCS Game 2 I was cut off by the beer vendor and told I was "overserved".

I stood up on my chair and my last remainging Old Style landed on Dave Otto's head and I declared " This team shall never win another home game."

Or I maybe I told the vendor to get bent. I don't remember I was a little drunk at the time.

I forgot to add, Foulke retiring after one ST pitch means Joe Borowski is Cleveland's new closer.

CRUNCH: You can't be more right. And, isn't HE a "converted starter", too?

MANNY: "Just to be clear, I am not thinking of him as a closer..."

Sorry Manny. .I should have known better.

There's a lot of waiver traffic going in in MLB right now, a lot pf players getting DFA'd or waived and then claimed off waivers. The Mets just claimed RHP Marcos Carvajal (a serviceable RHP middle-reliever) off waivers from TB (Carvajal was waived by the D-Rays to make room on their 40 for Jae-kuk Ryu), and the Orioles just DFA'd RHP Ryan Keefer to make room on their 40-man roster for Steve Trachsel.

The Cubs should claim Keefer (he has two minor league options left), DFA Buck Coats, and option Keefer to Iowa in '07 and have him work as a RHP set-up guy there with Rocky Cherry. Keefer had arm problems in 2006, but I saw him pitch in the AFL and I think he has some definite upside as a reliever. It wouldn't hurt to take a flyer on him and see how he does at Iowa.

keef just got TJ...he was some under-the-radar hot stuff before he tore it up in BAL.


I can't make sense of what you said.

There have been successful closers who walked a lot of guys. There have been many relievers, including closers who exhibited better control upon moving to the bullpen.

Are you saying Wood is a choker? Are you saying Wood walks too many to be a succesful closer?

|I’d much prefer going to Howry until I was shown that Wood could pitch in a pressure situation with the game on the line in the ninth inning and not walking three in an inning. Then - having to face Pujols.|

Pressure situation facing Pujols in the 9th inning, wouldn't you pretty much have to be the closer to get into that spot? By your criteria, it would be impossible for anyone to become the closer other than Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster.

Wood already pitched in high leverage situations in relief in '05.

Cubs offer Foulke 3/44?

wood really seemed to like his bullpen comeback before he got shut down. it doesnt seem like a "gee, im glad to be playing baseball and pitching and god and country and apple pie gee goly shucks." thing...

after a few outtings of cheers once the "hey, welcome back " heers could be ruled out wood got to experience a true round of applause for a good day's work. hey, it at least helps mentally to be appreciated at the job you do, even if its not as king as the castle.


St. Louis - Top of 7th Score
Kerry Wood pitching for Chicago STL CHC
K Wood relieved M Prior. 3 5
D Eckstein struck out looking. 3 5
J Rodriguez grounded out to first. 3 5
A Pujols lined out to center. 3 5
0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors

St. Louis - Top of 8th Score
Kerry Wood pitching for Chicago STL CHC
J Edmonds struck out swinging. 3 5
A Nunez walked. 3 5
M Grudzielanek struck out swinging. 3 5
S Taguchi struck out swinging.

He did walk one guy. E-Man's, he's crap.


rotoworld's rob blackstien's take on the cubs

NEAL: I never said he was crap. I said he walks too many people. I am not the only one. Salaried baseball experts - I know you are unpaid - but spend your life examining stats only important to YOU - say the same thing.

I want him to succeed. Your "Converted Starter" line is BS. Dempster is a converted starter, and you saw his great year last year. And his walk totals. Go cherry-pick Woody's few relief appearances and then try to use this to frame your view stating that I think he is "crap"? Typical for you.

HE has had control issues his entire career. Shit- he has hardly pitched for TWO years. No one even knows if he can physically pitch TWO DAYS in a row.

"No one even knows if he can physically pitch TWO DAYS in a row."

That's the big IF there. If he thought the fifth day came around fast hes in for a shock.

If you know anything about Kerry Wood, you would know that he usually pitched very well in the first two to three innings. The rest of the game would be decided in the 4th. If he could get out of the 4th and 5th without too many pitches it was going to be a good day, but on his bad days, that is where he started to walk people and get in trouble. Then he would have to use up too many pitches to strike people out to get out of jams. Once you saw him throw a curveball, you knew his day way almost over.

As you guys may or may not know, to be effective, a pitcher does not want to show his third pitch til the third time through the order. So Wood in a closer's position can bust out his third pitch at anytime as he doesn't need to save it for any reason. This is why if he can stay healthy, Wood will dominate, Gagne-style.


J.J. Putz SEA 72 0 78.1 59 20 20 [13 walks] 104 4 1 5 36 2.30

Chad Cordero WAS 68 0 73.1 59 27 26 [22 walks] 69 7 4 0 29 3.19

Takashi Saito LAD 72 0 78.1 48 19 18 23 107 [23(walks)] 2 7 24 2.07

29 Mariano Rivera NYY 63 0 75.0 61 16 15 11 55 [11(walks)] 5 0 34 1.80

26 Scott Linebrink SDG 73 0 75.2 70 31 30 [22walks] 68 7 4 36 2 3.57

Brad Lidge HOU 78 0 75.0 69 47 44 [36 bb] 104 1 5 6 32 5.28


Ryan Dempster CHC 74 0 75.0 77 47 40 [36 BB] 67 1 9 2 24 4.80

E-Man, have you ever heard of John Smoltz?
B/9 as a starter 3.1
B/9 as a reliever 1.73

Eric Gagne?
B/9 as a starter 3.83
B/9 as a reliever 2.25

Dennis Eckersley?
B/9 as a starter 2.22
B/9 as a reliever 1.41

Jose Mesa?
B/9 as a starter 3.70
B/9 as a reliever 3.80
OK bad example, he got better by K'ing more, without the IBB's he would be lower as a reliever though.

Ryan Dempster?
B/9 as a starter 4.71
B/9 as a reliever 4.64
Most of his improvement has come from keeping the ball in the park.

Mitch Williams?
7.08 BB/9 for his career.

The logic that Wood isn't a good closer candidate because he walked 4.36 BB/9 as a starter is wrongheaded. Sure you can say he hasn't been healthy (neither were Smoltz or Eckersley before their conversions) and he's unproven, I am not arguing that. Nor am I saying he will definetly be a great closer, I am just saying it is wrong to summarily dismiss the idea based on his walk rates as a starter. I don't care if Bill James`s and Joe Morgan's love child disagrees with me, it would be wrong too.

**actually I would argue that he has the mental toughness required. He's Goose Gossage level intimdating**

Dammnit Chad, you made it too easy for E-Man to put two and two together. There's a pretty good reason that those guys have better control as relievers - they don't have to throw as many different kinds of pitches.

Pretty funny E-Man after accusing me of cherry picking stats. Have you ever heard of DIPS? Go look it up.

NEAL: We both want him to succeed. I love the guy as a person and for at least TRYING to make it work. And, of course he has been so dominant at times.

He has plenty of hurdles to be sure.

I am more optimistic about his use with our new manager tahn the old one. So, lets see how it goes. I hope he just becomes so dominant as CHAD states over an inning or two that he can walk the bags loaded, then strike out the side. It will cause my stress rate to go up, but I'll just have to chill it on the Beefs with Sweet & Hot. GO CUBS!

"If you know anything about Kerry Wood, you would know that he usually pitched very well in the first two to three innings. The rest of the game would be decided in the 4th."

what are you basing this on Chad? The 3rd inning has typically been Wood's worst inning.

1st IN - .225/.326/.375, 88 BB
2nd IN - .213/.309/.365, 83 BB
3rd IN - .225/.334(highest)/.371(2nd highest) 99 BB(highest)
4th IN .194/.303/.305, 81 BB
5th IN - .226/.319/.367, 63 BB
6th IN - .233/.324/.399, 63 BB

Anything after the 6th inning really can't be factored in because he rarely goes beyond the 6th. Career 758 PA in the 1st inning, 334 PA in the 7th. His peak is actually the 2nd & 4th innings which means he has no consistent trend by any means in regard to a singular period of a game.

Here's something to piss you off:

I am looking at BP's minor league rankings and I discover that the Reds have two 'excellent prospects'. The second, Jay Bruce.

Bruce is a right fielder who at age 19 hit:
.291 .355 .516 in the FSL at age 19 with 19 SB's.

Felix Pie is a center fielder who hit:
301 .364 .448 in the FSL at age 19 with 32 SB's. The next year Pie had an OPS of .903 in the Southern league.

Despite that, Pie gets a 'Very good' grading. Maybe he isn't toolsy enough.

the way a starting pitchers throws the first few innings is VASTLY different than how a reliever throws his only inning or two.

The Real Neal — February 16, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

Here’s something to piss you off:

I am looking at BP’s minor league rankings and I discover that the Reds have two ‘excellent prospects’. The second, Jay Bruce.

The Reds Joey Votto is one of the best first base prospects in the minors also.


Since this is really a boring time of year - I am thinking of making a regional pilgramage to a couple minor league parks in the midwest.

Any comments from ya'll as to favorites, OR which to stay away from.

I was thinking of Indianapolis and Peoria, for starters. Both pretty ez drives from Chi.

Any help here would be appreciated.

"Since this is really a boring time of year ..."

Meaning - not too much real baseball stuff going on yet.


more on the new OF Lopez from Wilkin

Wouldn't a closed minor league ballpark qualify as pretty boring? I can't imagine there's much going on in any of those stadiums at this time of year.

Come on Bogey, like Chad would look at any sort of stat to back up his argument....That would go against every theory of Chadball

hahaha Vince. I even went out of my way to keep it to basic stats and not bring in any of those awful BR or BP hard stat thingys. I was just curious myself because I'd always had it in mind that Wood's 1st inning had to be the worst with all those 25-33 1st inning pitch counts with Steve Stone groaning in the background.

Eman not sure what minor league you follow but most leagues start a couple days after the ML season begins. For regional and value I'd recommend May 1-3 @ Peoria vs SB Silverhawks...Justin Upton looks to still be in SB for at least the first half of the season....or Peoria @ SB July 17-20 at Coveleski Stadium.

or if it doesn't have to be a Cubs affiliate,

Silverhawks vs West MI @ SB April 13-14
Silverhawks vs West MI @ Grand Rapids 15-16

Home and away series...should Cameron Maybin not get promoted to hi A anyway. Potential 2 top prospects in all of baseball who both happen to be CFers...Justin Upton v Cameron Maybin.

It's probably not surprising that the 3rd inning is Wood's worst. If he gives up up a hit/walk or two the first time through the order, he faces the top of the order the second time through during the 3rd inning.

"1st IN - .225/.326/.375, 88 BB
2nd IN - .213/.309/.365, 83 BB
3rd IN - .225/.334(highest)/.371(2nd highest) 99 BB(highest)
4th IN .194/.303/.305, 81 BB
5th IN - .226/.319/.367, 63 BB
6th IN - .233/.324/.399, 63 BB"

This is the beauty of stats. They totally lie.

First let me say that maybe I was wrong by an inning. Maybe its the third inning. But my point still stands about him pitching well in the first two innings. In the third is when the top of the order is coming around assuming a hit or two or a walk. So he overexerts himself trying to get through those guys. Of course you can't look at BB in the 5th and 6th innings. He has pitched far less 5th and 6th innings than 2nd innings. Also, you point out walks. But you didn't post strikeouts. Taking inning by inning data like you did is totally misleading. How many times did a bad first inning cost him too many pitches that when he calmed down later, had thrown too many to continue. Or how many times did he kill the first 6/9 batters but blow up later.

Have you ever watched him pitch? Or do you just look at the stats? Cause I don't think you watch him pitch at all. You don't know a thing about Kerry Wood.


this is a fun site, watch the playoff races almost like a horse race. You can relive 2004 and 1969 over and over again in a handy graphical display...

looking at Wood's innings splits is pretty pointless, the way a starter approaches his first time through the lineup is completely different than a reliever would....

"Have you ever watched him pitch? Or do you just look at the stats? Cause I don’t think you watch him pitch at all. You don’t know a thing about Kerry Wood."

uh yeah quite a few times and a number of times in person. Excellent retort though..clearly argued..exit sarcasm. K's are more meaningless than BB's in my opinion so that's why I didn't list them. Yes i know they both add to pitch counts but BA and OPS allowed is a much more important than K's....WHIP too.

No Ks are not more meaningless than walks. You need to balance them. Taken in isolation 88 walks means NOTHING. 88 walks in what? 178 career first innings? That's not bad.

Also, if you watched him pitch you would understand how he pitches. Just like Rob said, pitchers attack at lineup certain ways. Trying to analyze it through stats is impossible. So don't give me this BS. BA and OPS for a pitcher is CRAP! All those cyberstats are crap. K/BB is a great stat AND a saberstat BTW.

Ok...thanks for the Frank DIpino thought...I almost fell out of my chair.

Here's the question:

a) does this mean that we don't need to spend oh, say, a million for a lefty batting practice pitcher? Dusty is available.

b) Will all those southpaws help the Cubs learn to HIT lefties?

THe endless debate continues.

"Wouldn’t a closed minor league ballpark qualify as pretty boring?"

Indeed, VORARE you are right. I was not very articulate in actually meaning that I was looking towards the summer for this activity!

What is the SB Park like?

Maybe I could do SB and Indi as I have heard the Indianapolis ballyard is really one of the better ones.


Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium


I liked it when I went a few years ago. Newer park.

The West MI park in Grand Rapids is pretty nice. I saw Tommy Marx throw a no hitter there vs Josh Beckett in 2000. Stay away from the MGD though. That was the single worst beer I have ever consumed. Downtown Grand Rapids, which is about 2 miles from the park, offers some great dining and such.

What is the SB Park like?

I went to Coveleski as a kid, back when they were the South Bend White Sox. It's nothing special, but for me it evokes fond memories.

E-Man, if you or anyone else makes it up to Connecticut, you are more than welcome to visit Dodd Stadium and me with the Connecticut Defenders (SF Giants AA team). I will be more than willing to hook up any TCR posters with prime tickets.

Altoona has a cool ballpark & The Curve are the AA affiliate for Pitt, so you have a chance to see some guys that might (like Big Country Brad Eldred) face off against the Cubs one day. Anyhoo- They sell 32 oz beers for 5.50, and they have a porch in Left that cooks sausages all day, and they grill corn on the cob. The best part (besides all the locals) - there's a roller coaster over the center field fence.

"They sell 32 oz beers for 5.50, and they have a porch in Left that cooks sausages all day, and they grill corn on the cob."


my closest local team is the durham bulls (AAA TB) about 10 minutes away. great park...modern...nice roomy seats...good bathrooms and enough of them...


seriously, ive been to "mom and pop" A-ball/rookie-ball parks with better food.

they contract all their food out to this conglomerate company that suplies all the food...which is basically barely a step above school/prison institutional food (yes, im serious). the private vendors are dominos pizza (cheese or pepperoni only...i hate dominos, myself), chick-fil-let (prepared offsite, bagged up, and driven over so people can pay $5 for a soggy 1-3 hour old sandwich)...and a few other odds/ends.

its a real shame such a nice park is ruined by horrid food.


the one thing lost on the neifi trade is chris robinson.

supposedly (ive never heard of him til the trade) he's a good defensive catcher according to hendry.

his K/BB #s are too skewed on the bad end of things to get all excited about him being a future prospect based on what he did last year, but anyone know if hendry is overstating his skills or if he's worth keeping an eye on cuz his D is good?

Chad, are you serious?

Chad only acknlowedges or supports the use of the stats on the back of his 1987 Dunross Mickey Brantley card.

He's TCR's version of the fat kid who can't do one pullup in gym class.

It's not that I'm hurt over the name calling Neal, I just don't get the analogy. I mean, ostrich with head in sand or my personal fav, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer but fat kid who can't do one pullup? That's the same kid who invents Sabremetrics.


I thought you read Moneyball, was Billy Beane the fat kid who couldn't do a pull-up? I wonder why you have difficulty seperating physical and athletic prowess into distinct realms.

The analogy: When it comes to statistically analyzing baseball, which is what the TCR community tends to do more than 'eyeball analysis'. you are a bit behind the learning curve.

err... 'athletic and intellecual', though physical and athletic could make for an interesting debate.

Fantasy Baseball announcement:

I've set up a fantasy league for any TCRers who want to play. Things to know about it

1. It's a Head to Head league at yahoo

2. You have to be able to go a season without being a contentious jerk to others

3. We re-draft any teams that have been innactive for over a month. The redrafts will be done at three pre-set dates, on the 1st of June, July and August

4. We use lots of stat categories, with a somewhat sabrmetric bent

5. We've been doing this for several years. It generally works quite well in terms of having active and friendly players

Interested? It's yahoo league ID 6464 and password of "the riot" (minus the quotation marks)

the link for registering is here


I'll pimp this in a few other threads when it's not a hi-jack problem, and people with leagues that they would like to advertise should take the same approach.

crunch — February 16, 2007 @ 8:59 pm

the one thing lost on the neifi trade is chris robinson.

supposedly (ive never heard of him til the trade) he’s a good defensive catcher according to hendry.

his K/BB #s are too skewed on the bad end of things to get all excited about him being a future prospect based on what he did last year, but anyone know if hendry is overstating his skills or if he’s worth keeping an eye on cuz his D is good?


CRUNCH: Through August 19th of last season (with two weeks to go), Chris Robinson had seven errors, 16 PB, ands was throwing out 25% of opposing base stealers in Hi-A. Very close to Jake Fox's numbers. I don't know what Robinson's final numbers were though.

I saw Robinson in the Arizona Instructional League, and I didn't see anything special. He's supposed to be an Old School "quarterback on the field"-type catcher who is very intelligent and calls a good game, but other pitchers would have to answer for that. Actually, Robinson impressed me more as a hitter (nice stroke) than as a receiver.

Jose Reyes was the best all-around defensive catcher in the organization in '06, but the Cubs non-tendered him on December 12th. Jake Muyco has the best arm and routinely throws out about 50% of opposing base-stealers, but he has major issues as a hitter. Mark Reed is probably the best all-around catching prospect in the organization right now, but he is a left-handed version of Brad Ausmus at the plate (OK hitter, but not much patience and not much power). Mario Mercedes has potential, and should be the #1 catcher at Peoria in 2007, but the jury is still out on his future.

Geovany Soto could be an OK MLB back-up catcher. I would compare Soto to Jose Molina. Soto will be out of minor league options in ST '08, so the Cubs will probably have to decide between Fox and Robinson as to who will be added to the 40-man roster after this season and be on "24-hour recall" at AAA next season (in case of injury to one of the Cubs catchers), since Soto won't be able to be sent back and forth to the minors in '08 without first passing through outright (irrevocable) waivers. Mark Reed is probably a year further down the pipeline, with a stop in Daytona in 2007 and at AA in 2008.

Basically, the Cubs minor league catching corps is sort of a black hole. It would be great if Casey McGehee could get the "hang" of catching (he did some catching at Fresno State, and then again in ST about three years ago), at least to where he could be an adequate MLB back-up. Otherwise, the Cubs better hope that Matt Wieters (Georgia Tech) falls to them at #3.

thnx phil...at the time of the trade hendry made comments about his D that didnt jive with the stats.

was wondering if someone saw something else or he had a bad week(s) or whatever.

the fact the Cubs got a warm body for Neifi Perez is prize enough...

E-Man, if you're looking for a really nice Minor League park within an easy drive from Chicago, Head to Davenport. The Quad Cities Swing have a great park right on the river.

Of course, you have to tolerate the fact that they are the Cards affiliate, but if you can get beyond that, its a real nice place.

For that matter, make a weekend out of it and Head to Des Moines. The I-Cubs don't have the greatest park in the world, but its still worth visiting.

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