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 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.


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?


$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.

...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. 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 love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason.