TCR Tuesday Notes

Just a few things that have been lying in my "in" box...

- Updating the August Player of the Month race, DeRosa and Ramirez didn't do much to help themselves this weekend. Ramirez did end up with the most RBI's in August, but his .975 OPS for the month is good for only 16th out of players with at least 50 PA's. DeRosa ended up 5th in OPS, 2nd in Runs Scored and 3rd in extra-base hits. Manny Ramirez had the highest OPS and his .415 BA along with 9 home runs(tied for 2nd) is going to look appealing as will Ty Wigginton's 12 HR's(1st), 26 RBI's(2nd) and 19 XBH's (1st).

- Fred Mitchell teases Cubs fans that Geovany Soto could have been an Orioles as part of the Sammy Sosa trade back in 2005.

- For those worried about the Cubs collapsing in September, don't forget Lou does his best work in September. The numbers in that article don't account for 2007, where the Cubs were 17-12. 

- Alex Eisenberg, who runs things at Baseball Intellect, does some video breakdowns of 2008 draftees at The Hardball Times. Here's Andrew Cashner's and Ryan Flaherty's videos. 


Maybe that will help keep the Chicken Littles from screeching about "the sky is falling" scenarios - it never fails, just a few losses and they all come out of the woodwork:


I don't like the articles on much, but check out the one on Koyie Hill and his encounter with a saw:

A little gruesome. Particularly this tidbit:

"When his playing days are over, Hill will likely have at least two of the fingers removed"

Ugh. It's strange that after this, he had a career year.

yeah, covered this awhile ago and it was linked in the comments fwiw. Guess now that Koyie is back in the majors, Carrie decided to cover it.


Rip it off, not cover it.

In fairness to Carrie, EVERYONE did this story over the last day or so. Hill was doing interviews all pre-game Tuesday for TV as well.

Good news: The Cubs' best hitter returns to the lineup tonight.
Bad News: He will likely bat 9th.

Didn't you get the memo? Batting 9th for the Cubs is now the 2nd cleanup spot.

So when does Koyie Hill get to play?

I can't wait for out pitchers to add 5 mph to their fastballs.

This comment has been posted so often lately that I have to ask exactly how it originated. Is it merely a mocking response to some fans'/analysts' arguments that infielders throw harder to a strong defensive first baseman (because they just let it fly and are less worried about being wild), or did someone at some point actually argue that the same would be true of a pitcher throwing to Koyie Hill? I'm not sure if I ever read the comments where this started or picked it up after it was well on its way to an independent being.

one reader/commenter had a theory that Koyie Hill called more fastballs than most of our catchers last year and because of his calling more fastballs pitchers velocity would increase up to 5 mph.

I knew last year that Dempster had a good fastball--which we all know today--and wondered why he didn't throw it more. I noticed that Dempster got better, and faster, in the month when K. Hill did a lot of the catching.

It's certainly a pattern on Rothschild's staff that relievers overdo it with their offspeed stuff. That's why Kasper and Brenly have come up with phrases like slider-mania and slider-happy in reference to Marmol.

Sometimes a catcher can help when the pitching coach can't or won't.

The change didn't happen at the break. Marmol and catcher Geovany Soto actually began talking about mixing in more fastballs before the break because it seemed as if hitters had figured out the right-hander's slider.

"He's been pitching real good with his fastball," Soto said. "Before the first half ended, he was using the slider a little more, and teams were starting to hit him a little bit. Now he uses his fastball more. He's got two pitches instead of one.

I don't know about a love-fest but I liked Hill for the same reason the Cubs do, the way he handles pitchers, i.e., the way he calls a game. There was more at issue at catcher before Soto came along.


I'd overdo it with my offspeed stuff too if it was unhittable.

I think this is where it got started:

Wes says:

June 20th, 2007 at 1:47 pm

CERA clearly has everything to do with how well the catcher plays and absolutely nothing to do with how a pitcher pitches from start to start and what teams he faces when Catcher A is behind the plate as opposed to Catcher B.

For instance, Z’s 4 or 5 mph increase in velocity, ability to add, subtract, and, in general, control the 4 seamer has everything to do with Koyie Hill being behind the plate as opposed to Barrett.

Duh. Silly dave. You should know better by now.

Ummm... no.

It started before that, when VA Phil seriously suggested that pitchers throwing to Koyie Hill actually throw 5 mph harder than they do when throwing to other catchers.

Yeah, Wes's comment was clearly in a sarcastic tone.

what Big Low said...

it was a VA Phil's lovefest of Koyie Hill that started that Internet meme.


I'm sure you're right but where did Virginia Phil posit that Hill increases the speed on pitchers' fastballs? Chat?

At any rate, here's the thread I quoted from and failed to link

I believe that it started here.

UDPATE: Heh... those were also the Silent Towel days. Those were fun...

That whole thread is pretty funny.

All that actually clears up quite a bit. I did miss the original posts and henceforth have not been getting the joke (in its entirety, at least).

Yeah, they're right. It was a VA Phil thing. I believe that particular comment from me was in reference to him claiming that Z added that velocity simply due to the loss of Barrett.

I think the 'Hill stands up like a pitch out and calls for a high fastball' thing bothered me the most, because Barrett had been doing it for about 18 months at that point.

At one point it was that pitchers were afraid to throw Barrett breaking balls, and then it was he didn't call enough fastballs. Sort of the reverst effect of winning gold gloves because you're a good hitter.

For the record, the radar gun in Houston is the 'hottest' I've ever seen. Farnsworth and Dotel used to trade innings where they never dropped below 99.

I said it in that thread and I'll say it again. The concept of how a radar gun reads speed seems very elementary. I don't understand why so many can be so different.

Aren't some setup to take the speed out of the pitcher's hand (fast ones) and some as it approaches the catcher's mitt? I think the big league ones like to read fast so the fans can go 'ooh', too.

There's an equivalent in another sport that's eluding me right now to this... it's not wrestler's heights and weights either... though I remember duing the WWF hay days, they used to say Hulgan was 7' tall and weighed 300 lbs.

RYAN FLAHERTY!!!!!11 OMG overdraft.

With Koyie Hill's finger surgery and subsequent stiffness, it's probably hard for the pitcher to tell if he's calling for a fastball, slider, curve or changeup. Since the signs all look the same the pitcher thinks, aw hell, must be calling for the now he's getting 7 mph more on the average compared to the other catchers.

no wonder the I-Cubs had such a sensational season...legendary stuff methinks.

got in one game this weekend as Daytona tried to hold off Jupiter to win the 2nd half in the FSL. Went 2.2 IP, walked 4, struck out one and gave up 4 earned runs.

Daytona ended up clinching on Sunday with a 9-2 win, a game that was suspended Saturday due to rain.

Soto:9 XBH's, 1.010 OPS, 21 RBI's, 3 HR, 17 R

Dickerson: 13 XBH's, 1.072 OPS, 10 RBI's, 4 HR, 14 R

Stewart: 12 XBH's, .939 OPS, 20 RBI's, 5 HR, 18 R

A few pitchers to consider as well I guess

Samardzija had 14.1 IP, 13 K's and 0 ER.

Johnny Cueto had a 2.66 ERA as well.

How many months has Soto won ROM?

just April...

they have B. DeWitt and A. Laffey in the wrong leagues for May.

Recent comments

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  • 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 13 min 47 sec ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 1 hour 2 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 5 hours 33 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. 20 hours 44 min 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. 20 hours 49 min 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. 20 hours 54 min 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. 21 hours 6 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 21 hours 17 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 21 hours 42 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 22 hours 22 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 23 hours 34 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 23 hours 51 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 23 hours 56 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 40 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 6 hours ago view