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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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 9 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 21 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 3 hours 4 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 7 hours 50 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 7 hours 51 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 17 hours 32 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 20 hours 30 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 20 hours 42 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 20 hours 51 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 20 hours 56 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 21 hours 15 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 21 hours 51 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 22 hours 8 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 22 hours 10 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 22 hours 28 min ago view