The Curious Case of Bobby Scales

For all the pecularities that have plagued the 2009 Cubs, this Bobby Scales starting in left field has to be the most perplexing. First, let's look at the numbers:

Rk Date Opp Rslt Inngs PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
27 Sep 5 NYM W,5-3 GS-6 3 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .262 .357 .492 .849 LF
28 Sep 6 NYM L,2-4 CG 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .246 .338 .462 .799 LF
29 Sep 7 PIT W,4-2 GS-8 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .246 .333 .449 .783 LF
30 Sep 8 PIT W,9-4 GS-9 5 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .243 .325 .432 .758 LF
31 Sep 9 PIT W,8-5 GS-7 4 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 .244 .322 .436 .758 LF
32 Sep 11 CIN W,6-4 8-9 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .253 .330 .456 .785 PH
33 Sep 12 CIN L,5-7 CG 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .244 .315 .439 .754 LF
34 Sep 13 CIN W,5-2 8-9 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .241 .312 .434 .746 PH
35 Sep 14 MIL W,2-0 7-GF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241 .312 .434 .746 PR LF
36 Sep 15 MIL W,13-7 CG 5 5 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .239 .306 .432 .738 LF
37 Sep 16 MIL L,5-9 CG 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .250 .314 .435 .749 LF RF
38 Sep 17 MIL L,4-7 6-GF 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .247 .311 .430 .741 PR RF
39 Sep 18 STL L,2-3 CG 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .240 .308 .417 .725 LF
40 Sep 19 STL L,1-2 CG 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .315 .420 .735 LF
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/20/2009.

That sums up to a slash line of 244/273/341/641 OPS. And this gets you playing time every game while Jake Fox sits with a .834 OPS (it was .857 before Scales started playing every day)?  In the meantime, Micah Hoffpauir has 1.041 OPS since being recalled (308/424/615).

Of course, his defense has been fantastic...check out how he turns a warning track flyball into a home run. Earlier in the week, he had an opportunity for a play at the plate, but decided to not make a throw that drew the ire of Carlos Zambrano.  He's also had some questionable baserunning moves to add to his legend.

I don't really have a point here as usual, other than wtf is going on? Some theories in the comments have been that the Cubs and Lou are just using this lost season to reward him for patience and struggles in reaching the majors. I don't buy that since the Cubs were still on the fringe of the playoffs just 3-4 days ago. BP surmised that Lou just felt it was easier to replace Alfonso Soriano in LF with another 2b that can't play the position well.  It's possible that he dug up some of those photos that Neifi! was holding over the Cubs all those years. But when all else fails, the most obvious explanation is usually the correct one - Lou's been replaced by a robot funded and programmed by the rival N.L Central executives.

Sunday night baseball tonight - Wainwright vs. Zambrano. If football is your thing, join the fun and chat activities at The Bear Truth. Game time for that is 3 pm CST.

Comments

I think that Lou doesn't think Hoffpauir or Fox can run fast enough to play left field, and also he likes that Scales stands on the left side of the plate while making his 73% outs.

Fox had 1 bad game defensively and got sent to the bench for the rest of the season. Scales has had a bad week, and still gets to go out there and cost us games on a daily basis. I am just glad that Lou plays the players who are performing. We just never realized that 'performing' included acting like a court jester with an outfielder's mitt on.

Maybe we can have some soft of honorific kick up to front office for Lou and get Trammel or Sandberg in as managers for 2010?

I'd like to note that this whole let's play Scales out of position in left field idea is probably hurting Scales as much as it is hurting Fox or Hoffpauir. I feel bad for the guy. Why not play him at 2nd sometimes, if Lou wants to give him a shot? Surely no team is looking at him and thinking, maybe Scales could be our backup corner outfielder. If he makes it as 25th man anywhere, it will be as a backup 2B/3B with the ability to pinch hit and pinch run for the pitcher.

I'm also all for Trammel as a manager. My opinion of him is based entirely upon my perception that he is more articulate than Lou and that he looks way better in a uniform. What other qualifications are there for a manager, really? Trammel as manager and Sandberg as infield coach would be interesting and a way to groom Sandberg for the job. They could send Von Joshua back to AAA where he seemed to have a more important role with the club.

A long-term look at his bat to see if we can just cut Miles or not. As for left field... I guess maybe because Baker and Font still needs their ABs?

What are the Cubs going to learn about Fox in September? OK average, mega power, bad D at every position not played by a guy named Lee or Ramirez. Maybe Hendry wants to limit Fox's exposure to maximize his trade value. First time for everything, I guess.

problem is, Cubs were still sort of in this thing until this weekend, they should have been playing the best player or the hot-hand.

But I'd rather see what Hoff or Fox can do with regular at-bats than Scales, wouldn't you?

Of course I would. I'd rather see a lot of things. But I'm not in charge of this train wreck.

Miles can play short, and doesn't play corner outfield spots.

What service time doe Scales need to qualify for a mlb pension? I didn't think games played vs days on the roster mattered.

Otherwise I can't figure any angle as to why he's in LF.

The Soriano-lite explanation doesn't work since Baker/Fonty in LF makes more sense than using BS.

THAT'S IT!!! Lightbulb goes ON...

B.S. in LF is Lou's cryptic message to all the suckiness of Cubdom 2009. It has nothing to do with Jake Fox. He's simply and obscurely saying to everyone including Jim Hendry: BULLSHIT!!!

The MLB pension vests on the first game played (maybe even on the first day on the MLB roster) so that is not an issue for Scales. This one remains a mystery to me. I wanted to see Fox get 100 ABs over September just to see what he can do.

Maybe Fox is unavailable because Lou has him out for stud?

Awesome...

$4 million dollar managers.

what a deal. maybe if we get a 6 million dollar manager things will be better. hell, let's get a 10 million dollar one.

Milton Bradley suspended for remainder of regular season.

http://bit.ly/emj7C

...and that's that.

sell-low time. brilliant.

I don't think Lou is particularly inscrutable, even with regard to Bobby Scales. Scales may not be the exact player he wants in the outfield, but he's the right type: a little speed and a little power.

Unlike, say, Fuld, who has speed but no power; or Fox/Hoffpauir, who are the opposite.

Where do I get the idea that Scales has power? I had to search a little bit, but last year at Iowa he had 15 HRs. (That's more than the Cubs' two $10-million outfielders managed this year.) Scales also hit three home runs for Piniella between 5/12 and 6/6 this year.

It's too bad Brad Snyder broke his wrist earlier this season, since he can run and hit with power, and he's a real outfielder. We could have been watching him instead of Scales. Fox and Hoffpauir have no real future out there.

Wilken drafts a lot of guys who can play centerfield, so the Cub outfield will not have so many odd parts--Soriano, Fox, Hoffpauir, Murton, Patterson, Scales, etc., etc.--when the current group turns over. I guess the first of the Wilken outfielders, Colvin, will be in right field tonight.

Fuld has been hurt, but out slugged Scales in AAA this year. milb.com says Scales has 8 HR's on the season.

It comes down to the same argument I had the other day about Miles and Blanco: what do you want, a guy who can do a lot of things but do them all below average or a guy who can do fewer things but at an average level?

Hoffpauir has looked pretty decent to me in right field.

15hr for a 30/31 year old in AAA sounds about right.

Recent comments

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  • I agree -- I think if you are a soft-tosser, you need a track record before you are taken seriously. If Kyle posts sub-3.00 ERA consistently and wins 15+ games a few times (and pitches more innings), he may have a shot at the award in a few years. Hopefully, he gets in the top 5 this year -- would be deserved and a nice boost for his confidence.

    billybucks 24 min 26 sec ago view
  • It's also possible that the Cubs have no intention of recalling Spencer Patton. Perhaps Maddon has seen enough of him, and Patton will eventually be one of the players cut to make room for others who will be added to the 40 in September.

    Arizona Phil 26 min 16 sec ago view
  • I doesn't know what your talking about.

    Sonicwind75 30 min 50 sec ago view
  • Maybe it's to get him some game action. He's only pitched for the Cubs once in the last 10 days. I don't really care much about him going down since he's sucked when up here.

    I really want Rivero to be called up.

    chitownmvp01 35 min 58 sec ago view
  • CHITOWNMVP01: It is indeed odd that the Cubs did not just wait one more day to recall LaStella.

    As far as Spencer Patton is concerned...

    Arizona Phil 44 min 37 sec ago view
  • Why didn't they wait until tomorrow to call up TLS? Don't they have to wait 10 days to bring Patton back up now?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Cubs assigned to Mesa Solar Sox (AFL):

    Victor Caratini, C
    James Farris, RHRP
    Ian Happ, 2B-OF
    Eloy Jimenez, OF
    Ryan McNeil, RHRP
    Steve Perakslis, RHRP
    Duane Underwood Jr, RHSP

    Brian Lawrence, Pitching Coach

    Jimenez, Happ, Caratini and Underwood are among the Cubs Top 10 Prospects, and playing in the AFL should help speed their development.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • Outstanding.

    Jackstraw 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • So presuming he remains on the MLB Active List for the balance of the MLB regular season, Tommy LaStella will be at 2+102 MLB Service Time at the end of the season, far short of what he would have needed to accrue to have a chance at "Super Two" status post-2016. (Even if he had remained on the MLB Active List for the entire season and finished at 2+124 MLB Service Time, he still would have only been "on the bubble" for possible "Super Two" status post-2016).

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • I don't know about the defensive part of the equation, the fact all the Cubs pitchers are so ahead of their FIP makes me think it's a lot more defense than anything special Hendricks is doing.

    Rob G. 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • Thanks, jacos! I love a good Alice Cooper group performance video -- especially when it corresponds with a shrinking, division-clinching magic number!

    JoePepitone 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • TLS up and playing second today. Spencer Patton to Iowa to make room.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • Yeah that article describes what I said in my other post about WAR. BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is a better predictor of future performance.

    I also get what you mean by FIP being independent of luck but my point is all the soft contact Hendricks gives up negates a lot of that luck and defense aspect. In other words I believe he could pitch in front of any defense and have similar #s because for the most part he isn't giving up the screaming liners or hard hit liners to the gap.

    johann 3 hours 9 min ago view
  • Down on the farm:

    "Dealin'" Cease with another good outing for Eugene. Last 4 outings: 16IP, 1ER 29K. But, 10BB. Throw strikes, kid.

    Candelario is killing it at Iowa after struggling at AA: .320/.406/.941 in 241AB. At age 22. Where the heck to put him next year?

    billybucks 4 hours 12 min ago view
  • SF now only 1 game ahead of the Cards for home field in the WC game.

    billybucks 4 hours 23 min ago view
  • For a start:

    "lets" should be "let's".

    billybucks 4 hours 24 min ago view