Too Often to the Wells

Before yesterday the last time I saw Randy Wells start a big league game he failed to retire a batter, though he may have broken a sweat. By that low standard his outing versus the earnest young Royals of Kansas City was, I suppose, an improvement. After the first five hitters he faced hit safely and the sixth was walked, Wells' remarkable streak of futility with yours truly in attendance had reached the depth of a dozen consecutive batsmen. Might he again retire having retired no one? No, he persisted and slogged into the 7th, though it turned out that the game was already lost by the time he got around to recording an out. The sorry Wells appears more beleaguered than big leaguer these days, and so, for that matter does the team he works for.

If there were highlights from yesterday's daytrip to KC for any Cub fans in attendance, and there were thousands of us, they were these:

*Of the three balls I saw the visitors swat into the seats while watching more than a half hour of batting practice, two were swatted by Marlon Byrd. I'll check him out against live, professional pitching tomorrow afternoon here in Des Moines.

*Reed Johnson, despite three strikeouts at the plate, also banged a double off the wall in the middle of what passed for a Cub rally and also made a pair of sparkling grabs in center field, one of them a do or die diver. He always seems to make a contribution when in the lineup.

*Geo Soto was all over the game; homering, doubling, plate-blocking, down-gunning. It would be nice if he made one or more of those occasional features a habit!

*Chris Carpenter posted triple digits several times on the scoreboard speedometer. Unfortunately, his stuff looks more imposing there, to the fans, than it apparently yet does to big league hitters. He may become a serviceable piece down the road.

Randomly, I saw LaHair and Castillo go back-to-back Friday night in Des Moines and they did it again yesterday while I was on the road. LaHair is now leading the PCL in homers and hitting .350+. Ho-hum...

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Comments

I know the Cubs are excited about Carpenter's 100 MPH fastball, but I think he'd be more successful if he went back to the two-seamer as his #1 option.

His GO/FO ratio by year in the Minors:
2008 2.52
2009 1.84
2010 1.91
2011 1.16

He looks like a guy who is going to walk guys regardless, so why not have him getting ground balls to go with them?

Fukudome, RF
Campana, CF
Castro, SS
Ramirez, 3B
Pena, 1B
Soriano, LF
DeWitt, 2B
Soto, C
Garza, P

Soto 8th.....really?.......sheesh...

I guess Sandberg would bat him 9th?

I am annoyed enough with this season without the farm system having an ERA North of 4. Time for him to man up and shut somebody down.

"Garza is 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA in his career against the Rockies"... the Rockies are in the AL East, right?

I am annoyed enough with this season without the farm system having an ERA North of 4. Time for him to man up and shut somebody down.

Curious why you scream about BABIP for some (see DJ LeMahieu) but completely ignore BABIP with Garza?

Because one is about prospect evaluation, and one is about performance in the games that matter?

One of the reasons I said that Garza wasn't going to be as good as others expected was because he got to play in front of a very good defense in Tampa... the Cubs are the opposite end of that spectrum.

Edit* I am not even sure if Garza's BABIP is high. 50% grounders and 23% line drives is bound to yield a higher than average BABIP.

Because one is about prospect evaluation, and one is about performance in the games that matter?

So good (or bad) luck only matters for prospect evaluation, and not for major league evaluation?

While I do understand that there is a (significant?) difference between pitching in front of a good defense and a bad defense, I also think that it is pretty disingenious to continue to cry about peripheral stats when looking at prospects yet completely ignore Garza's peripherals.

Garza's LD% is roughly the same as his career numbers (21% to 20%). His balls in play % is significantly better (63% to 69%). HR/FB% is better. XBH% is lower. His GB/FB% has increased. Etc, etc, etc. Yet his BABIP is 50 points higher than his career, and 70 points higher than each of the last three years. I find it hard to believe that the difference in defense accounts for the huge difference in BABIP, especially considering Castro and Barney have decent/good range and he has the same 1b.

Of course, it is a lot easier to prove your point when you ignore Garza's peripherals, so I guess it makes sense.

You're mixing up two questions, to argue some point no one is defending.

One question is whether LeMahieu deserved to be called to the majors. The answer was no, because the skill that he was displaying that his teammates wasn't was luck, which isn't a skill at all.

The other is how well Garza is doing. I am not sure where you're getting your stats, but they're different from Fangraphs. It's wrongheaded to argue that his BABIP is .050 higher than it has been previously, and label it all bad luck without out taking into consideration the factors that derive BABIP other than luck, like defense and the type of ball being hit. I'll state it, because you apparently don't realize it, but LD's are the most likley outcome to be "in the ballpark" hits, and groundballs the second most likely.

In short, you're trying to give Garza extra credit for giving up groundballs and line drives(citiing his lower HR rate), without ackowledging the undersirable outcome of those things - namely a higher BABIP.

Of course, it is a lot easier to prove your point when you ignore Garza's peripherals, so I guess it makes sense.

Garza proves my point. He's a bad #2 or a good #3 starter - he was last year, and the year before and he has been this year. It's nice that his K rate has gone up a bit more than one would expect, but at the end of the day he still doesn't help the Cubs win enough games. What are you arguing that the last two years you shouldn't look at his xFIP or SIERA, but now they're the only thing that counts?

i dont think anyone expected anything but a 2-3 starter out of garza.

some expected him to give up 30+ homers, though, based on nothing but numbers rather than how he pitches (he's no longer pitching so much against 1/4 billion dollars worth of BOS/NYY).

garza has given up a stupid amount of singles...especially early...leaking through the IF.

True, and he's also thrown some big fat pitches that NL hitters turned into line drives instead of home runs. The Yankees lineup probably would have hit more FB's off of him than say the Pirates did.

It's wrongheaded to argue that his BABIP is .050 higher than it has been previously, and label it all bad luck without out taking into consideration the factors that derive BABIP other than luck,

Huh? I did nothing of the sort.

What are you arguing that the last two years you shouldn't look at his xFIP or SIERA, but now they're the only thing that counts?

No... I am arguing that you should be consistent.

Huh? I did nothing of the sort.

You did exactly that:

His GB/FB% has increased. Etc, etc, etc. Yet his BABIP is 50 points higher than his career

Improving your GB/FB% generally makes your BABIP go up, but here you imply it should go down.

Worse defense - BABIP up
More ground balls - BABIP up
More line drives - BABIP up
Playing in Wrigley with it's narrow foul ground - BABIP up
Probably some bad luck - BABIP up.

Again, I don't know what website you referred to but according to Fangraphs he has had a 22% increase in line drive rate - that's pretty substantial.

No... I am arguing that you should be consistent.

You should understand difference between descriptive and predective statements.

ERA is a descriptive stat. BABIP is a tool mainly used for predection. We can predict that LeMahieu's batting average will fall substatially in the majors because he's unlikely to maintain anything close to a .400 BABIP. We can predict that Garza will struggle with the Cubs, because is unlikely to maintain a .273 BABIP. There's nothing inconsistent there... until the games get deciced by SIERA and VORP, that is.

Improving your GB/FB% generally makes your BABIP go up, but here you imply it should go down.

That was not my intent. My point is that you choose whatever angle you want to argue, and don't worry about consistency. You argue that a player sucks due to peripherals when it is convenient. You argue that a player a player sucks to due to ERA and ignore the peripherals when its convenient.

I don't know what website you referred to

I used baseball reference, which, for some reason, does have pretty different numbers.

You should understand difference between descriptive and predective statements.

I'll work on that, as soon as you define "predective" and "predection" for me.

Dave - Welcome to world of warped time that is arguing with TRN... As hard as it is to do, just stop. This will only deteriorate to the point where he starts giving you very condescending advice...

You argue that a player a player sucks to due to ERA and ignore the peripherals when its convenient.

When did I say Garza sucks? He's just not worth what he cost the team. That doesn't mean he sucks.

When we're talking about wins and loss records and ERA's, those are real things. He really gave up those runs (and the unearned runs his own American Legion level defense costs him). The Cubs are not going to win any of those games they lost that he started, regardless if his BABIP normalizes in the future.

Now, if we're talking from here on out, assuming he stays healthy, what is going to happen? Well, based on what has happened to most MLB players over the years, his BABIP will lower... based on what we have seen from Matt Garza over the years, his HR's allowed will go up, and his K rate will go down (all of these things have been happening since his first few starts of the season anyway). At the end of the day, he'll probably settle in at about a 3.70 ERA, which is what I expected from the start, and not what you trade 4 of the top 13 prospects from one of the best farm systems in baseball for.

Here's where you're getting confused. If LeMahieu has a .400 BABIP and bats .330 for the Cubs - that's going to be a good thing, that's going to help the Cubs win. He won't be able to do it over a long period of time, but if he did that, it would count in runs and wins for the major league team.

What I said about him in the minors (and Campana) is that he wouldn't be able to carry that forward to MLB (again for any reasonable amount of time), and that's why they shouldn't have been called up ahead of other players who do things like walking, hitting home runs and no striking out.

But if you cannot tell the difference between forecasting what a minor league player is likely to do, using BABIP as part of the forecast, and actually seeing the runs and losses that Matt Garza gives up while pitching... well, there's no help for you.

I'll work on that, as soon as you define "predective" and "predection" for me. Both words describe someone who picks an argument, loses it, then resorts to petty attacks to make himself feel better.

You didn't tell me what "predective" means yet. Can you do that for me? That's probably why I am confused.

I'll work on that, as soon as you define "predective" and "predection" for me. Both words describe someone who picks an argument, loses it, then resorts to petty attacks to make himself feel better.

Funny - I've never seen you resort to petty attacks.

You really do amuse me.

You two love birds never fail to crack me up.

I'd start to worry about Cubs "prospects" the day we start to develop "prospects".

As of today this whole organ-I-zation is just a pile of shitstorm.

Let's develop a non bullpen pitcher, or a bat who doesn't have to hit .280 for a 300 ob%. Then pout about our prospects that got away?

You want people with OBPs more than 20 points higher than their BA.

Here’s a list of prospects with OBPs more than 50 points higher.

Burruel 135 (242/377)
Gibbs 132 (259/391)
Cerda 119 (286/405)
Jackson 118 (253/371)
Burgess 100 (194/294)
Watkins 93 (268/361)
Flaherty 76 (308/384)
Na 75 (258/333)
Spencer 71 (282/353)
Bour 71 (301/372)
Smith 70 (283/353)
Moore 70 (273/343)
LaHair 69 (361/430)
LePage 68 (258/326)
Castillo 67 (313/380)
Ridling 58 (288/346)
Rohan 54 (329/383)
Szczur 52 (322/374)
Giansanti 51 (233/284)

19 freaking guys out of 300 in the system?

Only 3-5 of those guys are even remotely considered prospects.

Nine of those guys are generally considered prospects... with one or two more if you squint.

Szczur
Castillo
Flaherty
Jackson

With

Spencer
Rohan
Burgess

As borderline candidates IMHO

I am not asking this sarcastically...why not Bour, Ridling and /or Cerda as prospects?

Submitted by Dusty Baylor on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 12:09pm.
I am not asking this sarcastically...why not Bour, Ridling and /or Cerda as prospects?

===================================

DUSTY: I would rate them as second-tier prospects, but not Top 15 prospects.

All three of them could make it to MLB at some point, but Bour is below-average defensively and has to start hitting LH pitching to be anything more than a platoon guy, Ridling has to SLG at a higher %, and Cerda is below-aveage defensively at both 3B and 2B and hasn't been able to develop a HR stroke (he is a younger version of Blake DeWitt).

Oh sure....I wasn't saying they should be to-15, but at least considered to be actual prospects, not organizational filler.

The challenge was 20 points, and so I gave you 50 points. Now you say that they're not real prospects.

My list of real prospects from those above would be:

Gibbs, Cerda, Jackson, Watkins, Flaherty, Spencer, Bour, Castillo, Ridling, Szczur.

That's 10. Na and Burruel are age 19, it's a little hard to tell, although I think AZ Phil would say they are both genuine prospects.

For some reason I omitted Evan Crawford, a real prospect whose OBP is 63 points higher than his BA (328/391).

I agree that 27-year-old LaHair has not been considered a prospect, but when he reaches the mid-30s in HRs this season that will change. So that's 12 real prospects so far.

Boise looks like a good hitting class but I thought it was a little early to cite their numbers.

I counted nine too...

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 9:22am.
19 freaking guys out of 300 in the system?

Only 3-5 of those guys are even remotely considered prospects.

=========================================

DR AARON B: Real Neal did not list Matt Camp, Steve Clevenger, Evan Crawford, Luis Flores, Marwin Gonzalez, Blake Lalli, David Macias, Augie Ojeda, Fernando Perez, and Bobby Scales, so it's actually 29 out of 48 (there are 12 position players per team on the four full-season clubs). It actually would have been easier to list the 19 who didn't qualify (Alcantara, Borges, Brenly, Campana, Colvin, Cuneo, Ha, R. Jones, Lake, LeMahieu, Mota, N. Perez, Robinson, R. Silva, Snyder, E. Soto, R. Valdes, Vitters, and Wright).

So is 60% good, bad, or about average? It would be interesting to see how the Cubs position player prospects compare with those in other organizations in this area.

Among those on Real Neal's list (plus the others I added), I would rate B. Jackson, Flaherty, W. Castillo, and Szczur as the only definite Top 15 Prospects. The position-player prospects in my Top 15 who are not on the list are Josh Vitters, D. J. LeMahieu, and Jae-Hoon Ha.

Also, among the guys at Boise, nobody in the organization has a better eye at the plate than Wes Darvill, Reggie Golden is a very choosy hitter, Wilson Contreras is the most-advanced in the area of plate discipline among the 2010 DSL Cubs now playing in the U. S, and it appears that Paul Hoilman is the type of power hitter who will take a walk.

VA Phil made the list fwiw...

Sorry about that. My apologies to VA PHIL. It's a hard name for me to remember.

I'm glad to see there are a few guys with some discipline in the Org.

It just seems like bat at bats have permeated this whole roster for several years. Really more often than not during my Cubs lifetime.

I wish the franchise in general would get with the "now" and not be some pathetic in general.

End' O' Rant

completely agreed there Doc......

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 12:03pm.
I'm glad to see there are a few guys with some discipline in the Org.

It just seems like bat at bats have permeated this whole roster for several years. Really more often than not during my Cubs lifetime.

I wish the franchise in general would get with the "now" and not be some pathetic in general.

End' O' Rant

====================================

DR AARON B: Without trying to put words in your mouth, I think your complaint might be that too many of the Cubs better position player prospects are hackers, and that too many players who lack plate discipline get promoted despite struggling with plate discipline at a lower level.

The Cubs don't reward plate discipline, and they also don't hold lack of it against a player.

Fair?

Holy typos batman

By the way... here is where you are wrong on this.

While I agree with you that Garza's rate stats - ERA, wins, etc - tell us what has actually happened, they do NOT tell us how good Garza has actually been. You know this, but you don't want to acknowledge this because it gets in the way of your narrative. Things like BABIP and Garza's other peripherals tell us a lot more about how good (or bad) Garza has been. Again, you already know this, but again, you refuse to acknowledge this.

I've already said he's had some bad luck in the BABIP department. He's also had some bad luck in being traded to the Cubs. His SIERA going into today's game was 3.33... what do you think his ERA should have been? Factor in that the Cubs are the worst fielding team in the majors (despite your protestations to the contrary), and play in a small ballpark - maybe his ERA should be 3.60... still feel like the Cubs got their money's worth?

Garza has in part, ran up his impressive K and HR rates by throwing strikes to punchless lineups like the Pirates, who weren't able to turn fat pitches into home runs, but instead turned them into line drives. These are things you can glean with a little observation and analysis, that aren't going to be apparent with a naive system like xFIP.

I've already said he's had some bad luck in the BABIP department.

Yup... after weeks about talking about how bad he has been.

despite your protestations to the contrary

I said nothing of the sort.

"Yup... after weeks about talking about how bad he has been"

Quotes? Also, just by going by xFIP, which some tend to want to do, he was vastly overrated, basically because of his first start of the year, so I if I said he wasn't pitching that well, that was probably more intended to balance the misplaced love than it was to say he "sucked" or whatever other words you want to put into my mouth.

Nice job not answering the question though. I guess despite your ever present genius, even you are able to learn something on occasion.

...and there it is, ladies and gentlemen. Where TRN eventually goes after a few minutes of USELESS argument. While we are being petty and condescending, why don't I just point out that TRN CAN'T EVEN SPELL!!!

HAH! Take that!

Can't we all just blame Barrett?

or Neifi?

I'd just like to point out that Google Chrome has built-in spell checking in browser text fields. And Chrome is wicked fast.

Thanks, unfortunately, can't use it work.

Clearly, it's time for a new job.

Lets see - Pena has been the Cubs best hitter over the last two months, so lets move him down the 5th so he gets fewer at-bats. And Soto is arguably our most patient hitter, so lets bat him right before the pitcher. And Campana sucks, so lets back him 2nd where he'll get a bunch of at-bats.

Sigh...

I gotta' say - Quade at least gets point for the most interesting lineups.

And, Starlin Castro might be running away with the NL batting championship if Q-Ball would just pencil him into the #1 or #2 slot where he's been nothing short of fantastic! But third is where he puts him half the time and this is what he's done there this year .245 .272 .338 .610.

Simple fixes, too
Move Campana from #2 to #8
Move Castro, Ram, Pena all up one spot
Move Soto to #6.

Viola!

Aram is too slow to bat #3.

Deck Chairs. Rearrange.

Haven't seen many games on TV this year, but have seen Aram two times get thown out at 2b on what appear to be doubles off the bat. Believe these contribute to Brenly's "dead-ass team" assessment.

I was really making a joke about Quade's preference for Marlon Byrd over Soto in the middle of the order, but yeah I agree Aram jogged himself into an out the other day, though he has surprised me a couple times turning long singles into close doubles earlier in the year.

Bat this kid second today, might not be able to tell the difference between him and Campana.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Might not be able to tell the difference between him and The Joker and Eddie Munster's love child either.

The Nippon Ham Fighters have purchased the contract of veteran minor-league infielder Bobby Scales, who was at Iowa. Bobby joins Micah Hoffpauir in Japan. My guess is Bobby rejoins the Cubs as a minor-league coach/manager/instructor one day.

(from Bruce Miles blog)

無料 BOBBY SCALES!

ネジジムヘンドリー

Submitted by QuietMan on Mon, 06/27/2011 - 1:44pm.
The Nippon Ham Fighters have purchased the contract of veteran minor-league infielder Bobby Scales, who was at Iowa. Bobby joins Micah Hoffpauir in Japan. My guess is Bobby rejoins the Cubs as a minor-league coach/manager/instructor one day.

(from Bruce Miles blog)

===========================================================

Q-MAN: The going sale price for a player under club control (even minor leaguers) sold to a Japanese club is $500K (that's what the Cubs would have received for Hoffpauir), but since this is a mid-season transaction and Scales was going to be a minor league FA post-2011, the Cubs probably get about $250K out of the deal, and Bobby Scales probably gets about $1M per year for as long as he plays there.

Bottom line is, it is a good deal for everybody, including the Nippon Ham Fighters. And now the family and friends of Bobby Scales know what they will be getting for Christmas.

Well it's nice that Bobby will get a decent payday. Hopefully he can stick around over there for more than just the last half of the season.

NHF with strike again!

Leave it to a Cubs-owned company to hire neurotic quitter Jim Riggleman.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Ten games into the Northwest League season, Cubs 2011 19th round draft pick 1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State) leads the NWL in RBI and is 2nd in HR, 2B, BB, SLG, OBP, and OPS.

Hoilman has prodigious power, winning the Home Run Derby at the 2010 College World Series in Omaha, and finishing tied for 3rd in HR in NCAA Div-1 in 2011. I saw him hit a 450-ft+ HR over the CF Green Monster off Korean bonus baby RHP Jin-Young Kim at Fitch Park Field #2 the day before the Hawks left for Boise.

Hoilman was an Academic All-American (Math major) who said he plans to attend either Medical School or Law School when his baseball career is over. He has spent his summers working as a YMCA Camp Counselor and with Habitat for Humanity, and has been a volunteer at the local children's hospital, so I guess he would be an early front-runner to win the Roberto Clemente Award if and when he makes it to the big leagues.

I wonder about him. On the surface, he looks to be a true 3 outcome player with his crazy BB and K rates (small sample size, I know) and prodigious power. We'll obviously find out more when he leaves the NWL.

He sure struck out a lot in College, but so did Jackson - maybe the Cubs can tighten his swing up enough so that he'll be a legitimate prospect... a 19th round starter would be a pleasant surprise.

Fukudome, to me, is representative of the larger problem with this team. He's a real good player and useful, but on most teams he's a 4th or 5th outfielder and paid a whole heck of a lot less. Do you trade him? You could try, but you'll probably eat some salary and not get a ton in return. He's a good player, so the logical move would be to not move him.

This team is full of miniature quagmires like this.

There are guys who should be on the bench starting games and there are guys on the bench who should be in AAA.

The problem with the Cubs is that they are paying the pricing for reaching for the brass ring in 2007/2008 and missing.

Those teams required the signing of players to long term deals and now we are left with players who are all under performing their contracts.

This is kind of how baseball works for teams that aren't the Yankees.

Though it would be much less pronounced if we had some kind of Minor League help to supplement these guys.

Instead its been a bunch of lip service for a bunch of limp production throughout the organization.

To me it's a no brainer to trade him even if you have to pay half of his salary.
First, you save 3.5M or whatever the math is.
Second, you plug in a minor league player who you want to learn about while finishing out this wretched season. Who cares if that replacement player sucks balls because this team ain't going anywhere. The net savings is 3.3M for this season. You can do the same thing with Baker, Pena, Reed, Grabow (as if), etc. (Guys like Marmol, Zambrano, Dempster, Soriano are tougher because you can't expect the team to field minor leaguers in their positions to start next year and beyond.)
Third, Ricketts takes that 3.3M and signs the tough signs out of the draft like Dillon Maples, Rock Shoulders, et al. Have to restock the system now that Bobby Scales is going to Japan.

I have to admit, that's compelling.

There's no hurry, partly because Colvin is still in the middle of his remedial course in hitting and partly because (if only for pride's sake) the Cubs aren't eager to pay Fukudome to play for someone else--but at some point F. is traded and C. replaces him in right field.

Is Hendry a lame duck?

He's a freaking Vampire or Charlie from ASIP in his durability on the job.

Should have been fired after 2006
Should have been fired after 2009
Should have been fired after 2010
Should be fired now

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