The Hall of Fame and Other Distractions
A whole lot of noting happening still so let's look at the Hall of Fame ballot.
The newbies for this year are:
2010: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Dave
Burba, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric
Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark
McLemore, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Fernando Vina,
Let's couple that with the returning candidates and here would be my ballot. As I did earlier in the year, I've broken it down in two ways.
My "Keeping the Hall of Fame Standards At the Highest Levels" Ballot
Roberto Alomar(79.4), Bert Blyleven(88.4), Rock Raines(81.7), Barry Larkin (86.2)
The number in parenthesis is their total WARP3 score and while by no means the deciding factor, I just wanted some numerical reference.
My "There Are Much Worse Players Already In and These Guys Feel Like Hall of Famers" Ballot
Roberto Alomar(79.4), Bert Blyleven(88.4), Rock Raines(81.7), Barry Larkin (86.2), Andre Dawson(59.6), Lee Smith(51.4), Alan Trammell(78.1)
Speaking of point of references, some WARP3 career numbers for other recent Hall of Famers, Cal Ripken(104.3), Ozzie Smith (90.9), Jim Rice(34.2), Rich Gossage (54.3), Ryne Sandberg (69.1), Rickey Henderson (119.4).
WARP3 isn't my only deciding factor - otherwise Dawson wouldn't make it - I also look at All-Star Games, MVP's, career numbers, dominate player of his era and peak years as factors into who I think should make the Hall of Fame. You can check the link above from earlier in the year for my arguments on most of these players. I don't know what to say about Alomar or Larkin, they seem kind of obvious to me. Alomar was a better second basemen and more dominant player than Sandberg and no one around here is going to argue against Sandberg. Larkin made 12 All-Star teams, won an MVP and was the dominant NL shortstop of the 90's.
- The deadline to offer arbitration to eligible free agents is tomorrow and the Cubs are not expected to offer Kevin Gregg (Type A), Rich Harden (Type B) or Reed Johnson, thus pissing away some free draft picks. Actually Gregg makes sense as it's hard to believe he wouldn't accept it. Not offering Harden arbitration is chock full of dumb. I know Ricketts said he'd stay out of the baseball side of things, but this would be the time to step in and tell Hendry that he'll cover his budget on the very, very slim chance that Harden would accept arbitration. You know, in case Ricketts is actually serious about that whole building up the farm system spiel we heard.
- XM radio had the Marlins GM Michael Hill on this morning and he said that the Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson trade rumors dont' have a lot of merit to them. He did say that the Marlins have to be open to anything and classified Ramirez and Johnson under the "unlikely to get traded" category. But with Ramirez signed through 2014 rather affordably for his skillset, is he the one guy the Cubs should be willing to trade the farm for? Not that I'm advocating this but I wonder if Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, Andrew Cashner and Jay Jackson would be enough to get him? Maybe you have to throw Geovany Soto in there as well and try to substitute Jackson or Cashner with someone slightly down the Cubs pitching prospect pecking order like Chris Carpenter.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.