The Scrap Heap is Our Roster Depth?
We still must not have any pitching prospects that are ready to be promoted. Jay Jackson, who's dog did you kick or what the hell happened to you in 2011? As recently as last January, Fangraphs had JJax ranked as the Cubs #5 prospect.
Cubs Insider reports:
The Cubs have agreed to terms with RHP Manny Corpas and RHP Andy Sonnanstine on non-guaranteed split contracts for the 2012 season.
We've had some time to discuss the many corpses that are being wheeled into the catacombs of Wrigley Field of late. The newest name added to that group is Andy Sonnanstine.
Sonnanstine 28, was non-tendered by the Rays in December after posting an ugly 5.55 ERA and 12/12 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings at the major-league level this past season. The soft tossing right hander will serve as insurance for the bullpen and starting rotation.
I'll dig deeper, after the jump...
Until 2009, Sonnanstine was known as a crafty righty and back end of the rotation guy with the Rays. Something happened to the Rays rotation during that season or were they just upgrading their mediocre talent with better pitching prospects? In 2008, Sonnanstine had a strong season, pitching 193 innings over 32 starts and went 13-9 with an ERA 0f 4.38 and a WHIP of 1.29. Was that smoke and mirrors? Nowadays, the Rays seem to have a never ending pipeline of high end pitching talent that has been bumping guys like Sonnenstine to the sidelines. Names like Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Matt Moore made the decision to unload Sonnanstine this offseason an easy one for Tampa's GM Andrew Friedman. I don't see any track record for Sonnanstine having what I'd call success out of the bullpen either.
per MLB Trade Rumors...
He's made 80 starts and 52 relief appearances during his five seasons with Tampa, though his career strikeout (5.7 K/9) and walk (2.3 BB/9) rates are identical in the two roles. Sonnanstine is a fly ball pitcher and is very homer prone (career 1.3 HR/9), though his ERA is a full run lower when coming out of the bullpen (5.43 vs. 4.40)
He was non-tendered the same day as former Cub, Koyie Hill.
Here's how Sonnanstine originally got Wally Pipped:
On August 19, 2010, Sonnnastine was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Jeremy Hellickson was called up to make his MLB debut that day against the Twins.
I don't know whether 2010-11 was injury plagued for Sonnanstine or that he was just a washed up pitcher. In 2011, he only pitched 35 innings with 4 starts, an ERA of 5.26 and a WHIP of 1.45. His current baseball reference.com comps evoked Brandon's Duckworth and Backe. I think the Cubs saw a version of this act in 2011 in a younger and very hittable Casey Coleman. In Sonnanstine's final start for Tampa on June 4th, here was an article from after that game:
Sonnanstine has allowed homers in each of his last five appearances and Tampa Bay is 0-4 in games he has started. It was the 5th time in his career he's allowed at least 3 homers in a game. He allowed 11 total HR's in 2010 and has given up 10 already this season.
"By the end of the day I have to throw strikes. I've always been a guy that can make in-game adjustments but tonight that wasn't the case," Sonnanstine said.
After that outing, Sonnanstine had 3 more relief outings in June he was sent to triple-A Durham. Ironically, former Cub prospect Brandon Guyer was called up to replace him.
Manager Joe Maddon said Sonnanstine was sent down because “it’s really been difficult to get him usage.”
Subsequently, Sonnanstine didn't distinguish himself in Durham. He had 9 starts, a 3-6 record in 56 IP there with an ERA of 4.82 and a WHIP of 1.41. He resurfaced from triple-A with the September callups and his only work was on Sept 20th against the Yankees with a lonesome shutout inning with 2 hits and 2 K's.
Didn't the Cubs see the mirror image (as in lefty version) of that act last season on May 20th in Boston?
Doug Davis made his second start in a Cubs' uniform and could not complete four innings of work. Davis pitched from behind in the count for a majority of his outing. The veteran southpaw surrendered seven runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Davis threw 89 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, 47 for strikes.
I guess Jedstein must have fond memories of Sonnanstine craftily beating the Redsox in 2008. On September 10th, Sonnanstine pitched 7 innnings of one unearned run ball with no walks and 7 K's. That game was won by Tampa on a 14th inning 3 run HR by Carlos Pena.
Later, in the 2008 ALCS playoffs, Sonnanstine beat the Redsox again to put the Rays within one game of the pennant. Again at Fenway, Sonnanstine held the Bosox to 3 runs in 7 1/3 IP (helped by another Carlos Pena HR) in a 13-4 win. Some managerial quotes from that post-game on Sonnanstine's effort:
from Terry Francona...
Sonnanstine "has a lot of deception in his delivery, but what he does really well -- there's a lot of movement in that delivery, and he keeps it intact," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He throws a ball or two and starts to get out of whack, he gathers himself, stays over the rubber, and he's obviously very confident against us right now. You can tell he feels good about himself, as he should."
from Joe Maddon...
[He] really threw strikes," Maddon said. "I always pay attention to the radar gun readings with him. He was a lot of 87, 89 [mph], which was really good. Actually a lot of 88s and 89s.
"When he's pitching at that velocity, there's a bigger disparity between that and his offspeed stuff, and that's when he does really well."
I have fond memories of Jon Lieber and Mark DeRosa in 2008 too but that doesn't mean they should be back in Chicago for 2012. Is Sonnanstine more likely to be rotation depth for Iowa than a long man in the Cub bullpen? Could it mean he's the 2012 version of Rodrigo Lopez or Ramon Ortiz? Those are two names I was hoping not to hear in any form during 2012. I recall the Jim Hendry quote after the Lopez acquisiton, "we've been scouring (the minors) for a guy like him (Rodrigo) with veteran experience."
I'm thinking that the Cubs version of the Carmine software program that now guides the Cubs braintrust must have a virus. Now here's a notion, Cubbery meets Moneyball.
Just read that when Hendricks starts the Cubs have won 33 times in his first 50 games which is the best for any Cubs starter since the 1940s. So he might not be getting a ton of wins but he's at least leaving the team in a winnable spot
That and we've had a lot of terrible teams.
I agree, but just wanted to point out that Hendricks didn't really have a significant difference between his first and second half like Hammel did. Instead he had alternating good and below average months last year, without much fluctuation in his peripherals except a BB-heavy August and some up-and-down in opp avg. Mostly the team just couldn't win games for him in the months he pitched well. His 16 starts in May, July, and Sep/Oct (in which he limited opponents to OPS+ of 88, 75, and 44) resulted in a 4-2 record.
I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.
Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.
CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.
Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.
Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.