Soriano Slider Watch

Theories have been abundant on the rapid decline of $100 million dollar man Alfonso Soriano, from age, to bad legs, to just a bad season in 2009 because of bad legs and his age.  As our man Transmission showed last year, as well as Joe Posnanski and a few other articles, part of the puzzle was teams throwing more sliders to Soriano as well as Soriano not doing his normal damage on fastballs.

So let's see how Opening Day went for #12 with the caveat that Pitch F/X and its pitch recognition isn't 100% accurate.

1st AB vs. Lowe (2 outs, nobody on)

Slider - Ball

Slider - GO 5-3

2nd AB vs. Lowe (leading off the 4th)

Slider - GO 5-3 (yes, Soriano swung at a first pitch slider low and outside)

3rd AB vs. Lowe (2 out, nobody on)

Slider - Called Strike

Slider - Swinging Strike

Slider - Swinging Strike

4th AB vs. Wagner (2 out, nobody on)

Slider - Called Strike

Slider - Ball

Fastball - Fouled Off

Fastball - Swing and a Miss for the K

10 pitches, 8 sliders total (2 from a lefty though)

Days left on Soriano's contract (assuming Sept. 28, 2014 is the last day of the season, could be Oct. 5, 2014).

Some other observations from yesterday's game...

  • As Carlos noted in Parachat, yesterday's bottom of the first inning was a highlight reel on the luck(or lack of luck for the Cubs) of BABIP
  • At least Z kept his composure out there and the Gatorade machine was spared. I keed.
  • Byrd looked kind of slow out there in center field, didn't he? I also thought he liked to play shallow?
  • Speaking of defense, the adage is you want to be strong up the middle. The Cubs answer to that is Byrd, Theriot, Fontenot and Soto.
  • Where will Ninja be playing on the home opener - Wrigley or Iowa?
  • How do we convince Fukudome it's always April? 337/452/535 with 15 2B, 2 3B,5 HR, 38 R, 25 RBI's over the last two seasons and a game during the inaugral month.

The good news is there are 161 games left to go...I think that's good news.


"Facts are meaningless; they can be used to prove anything"

I sorta noticed last year when catcher was sitting behind lh hitter's box when Sori batted.

what's up with pitch FX anyway? this offseason i spent some time digging through their data and was blown away at how many mis-classified pitches they've assigned to pitchers.

it was a revolution 3+ years it's getting a lot of head scratching with it's findings. it REALLY has issues with 2-seam vs. 4-seam fastballs and imo you cannot treat these pitches as the same with almost any pitcher. if a guy throws a pitch from another arm slot that takes a little off the velocity it can even end up being called a slider or similar...

guys refining their fastball and playing with velocity (esp. if it leads to the ball moving or dropping) can get weird results, too.

es hardly perfection and they don't change the settings everytime a new pitcher comes in...

I imagine the software is programmed to judge by velocity, drop, release point, movement and spits out a pitch.

I think we all know, as I stated, that there is some issues with their pitch recognition, although the 10 pitches to Soriano yesterday were in line with what I saw.

From the aforementioned Joe Posnanski in the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview, quoting Bill James...

"Willy Mo Pena never saw a slider in his major league career. He thought they were all fastballs."

(Replace WMP with "Fonzie")

Nothing strangulates a sports club more than having older players on long contracts, because once they stop performing, they become immovable. And as they become older, the risk of injury becomes exponential. It’s less costly to bring [on] a young player. If it doesn’t work, you can go and find the next guy, and the next guy. The downside risk is lower, and the upside much higher. It’s almost like he is managing a mutual fund.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Simon Kuper, Financial Times)


Quoting Billy Beane quoting Arsene Wenger? Don't you know that Arsene Wenger's shit doesn't work in the Champions League?

Cubnut's back with 2 zingers in a row...

I'm not sure how many people here got that, but that cracked me up. Especially since when you posted that Messi was three goals into his one-man demolition of Arsene's boys.

To add to what Billy Beane says, it also makes it almost impossible to deal players when No Trade Clauses are handed out like candy.

Manny, back and better than ever.

And just like that, he's gone. Underground. Nobody has ever seen him since...

has billy beane seen his team lately?

cost-wise he's correct...but saving money is about all the A's are up to the past many years.

low risk suck is still suck.

the A's bats last year and this year are barely MLB capable.

I'd have to say the the "Billy Beane Magic" hasn't done shit for a number of years. His teams have sucked as CRUNCH says. Looking at Ben Sheets this year, and the rest of their lineup, things aren't gonna get much better, imo.

the real sad part is guys he's traded away vs. what he's kept.

i bet they'd like to have andre either back. they wanted milton bradley, though. heh..

Or GMs could just stop overpaying guys when they are getting really old. GMs set the market value, don't they?

Soriano was brutal yesterday, no doubt, but anyone can have a rough day. I'll give him a few weeks. Love the countdown, btw.

Wow, that's right, I actually once upon a time contributed useful insight around here. Cool!

differences I spotted from Phil's report on Sunday

T. Blackford & D. Patton aren't on the AA roster

L. Sommer and C. Siegfried will start with Daytona rather than AA

C. Lambert is on the Tennessee DL (along with M. Spencer as noted)

no sign of J. Leverton, D. McDaniel, J. James, L. Flores, or A. Sosa, all of whom Phil saw assigned to Daytona.

I assume some were cut and some will stay back in extended spring training.

Why the hell didn't Colvin start in left, anyway?

And why the hell did Lou start Silva instead of Z?!!

I'm thinking Silva would have pitched better.

... That's a depressing thought: Silva is in the same rotation.

i fail to see what this has to do with bobby scales and if you're not talking bobby scales you sure as hell aren't talking about winning.

I'm glad we finally agree.

Rank the amount of faith you have of the Cubs pitchers named Carlos-

1-I would die if he had a bad appearance

2- I would cry if he had a bad appearance

3- I would eat pie if he had a bad appearance


april 10 (SAT) through april 18 (also, SAT) we have 8 day games in a row. 2 @CIN and 6 @CHC.

*golf clap* bravo.

that's 9 days, though.

off day smashed up in there.

i'm just settling into the fact that after missing the cubs opening day because of it being a day game it seems i'm in for another week of it except for some weekend games. it's a me-thing rather than it being a bad team-thing.


How can April 10 and April 18 both be Saturdays?

Must have something to do with he earlier Daylight Savings time.

Thank you for affirming my casual observation that Marlon Byrd looks awfully chubby and slow for a CF.

How bad will it have to get to remove Soriano from the lineup? I mean, seriously, if he's batting .193 at the end of May, will they do something?

that's not chub...that's steroid-like muscle definition busting out all over his jersey (seriously, dude is a tank).

gabe kapler is built as hell, too...some claim it slowed him down and made him plodding more than athletic.

I think the steroid needles sticking out of Kapler's ass is what slowed him down.

Speaking of chubby and slow, did you see Tiger Woods lately?

Mcghee tonight, 2/3 and 3-run HR. Fun with MLB cable "trial" period!

ha...joe borowski is doing field interview/analyst work for Fox Sports ARZ.

We could use him right now.

Good Morning Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to get Alfonso Soriano to bat OUTSIDE the lineup. The secretary knows this has never been done outside of the American League. But god knows the manager can't do it, so it is up to you and your team, Mr. Phelps. Find a way to get Soriano in Left field without him actually coming to bat as an automatic out. As usual, if you or any of your team gets caught, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your activity. Good luck Jim. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds.

outside Wrigley now by marquee on Clark

According to the site that hosted the web cam, you can get Milton Bradley home jerseys for only $95! I snapped up a dozen. Suck it!

I wish Ricketts was worrying more about what's ON the field than on the walls.

Just wait. If this flies with the fans, those pix will be replaced with advertising sometime down the road.

what exactly do you want Ricketts to be doing with the team? He's an owner, they should worry about making money and hiring the right front office personnel to spend the money.

Wrigley is still there biggest cash cow to spend on players, he should absolutely be worried about it and trying to improve the fan experience.

They've committed to Hendry for at least this year, let Hendry do his job. Then fire him if they don't make the playoffs this season.

The photo banners are just there for openning week. They had to get permission to do that because of the landmark status of the marquee.

I've got one word for you. TOYOTA.

They need permission for that too. And it's not going away in a week.

These pix are all about Tom Ricketts not the Cubs.

I hate it. Shoot me.

The Toyota thing isn't a done deal yet.

I don't like this either.

But I understand the desire for more revenue.

Yeah, megalomaniac greed.

Pass the Kool Aid! Those pix on the walls are part of Ricketts' PR campaign that's all about himself.

"YEAR 1"

Anybody been to, or seen, Fenway lately?

Like going to a NASCAR race.

If you want to keep Wrigley, prepare for advertising, and lots of it.

I understand not wanting Wrigley to become some sort of corporate shrine filled with product placement and massive advertising signs. However, I also think that the argument that BECAUSE Wrigley is an old school ball park there should be no adulteration of it in any way is silly. All of the old school ball parks had advertising plastered everywhere. I tend to think that the advertising disappears into the noise after a few visits to the ballpark. Id much prefer a few signs to uniforms that are basically advertisements first like in Soccer. Soccer has little choice with no timeouts and only two 45 minute halves. They need the revenue to come from somewhere. But Id take a Toyota sign over the Cubs becoming sponsored by Poker or Emirates Airlines.

Looks like rumors may be starting about Samardzija's nightlife while in Daytona.. Would anyone be surprised to find out that he may have spent a bit of time getting laid and drunk while there? I sure wouldn't...

that sponsorship has been up since last season...

I believe we had a friend of Samardzija from Indiana defending him in the comments when I mentioned it.

yeah, i settled out of court with the dude in a million-dollar internet lawsuit.

I sincerely hope that dude comes back. He probably had freshman geometry with Samardzija in high school, but by god he will defend him to the DEATH!

Byrd vs. Jurrjens, Swisher vs. Lackey (terrible track record for Swisher vs. Lackey but has started the season off well), T. Snider vs. Harden @ Texas or JJ Hardy vs. E. Santana @ LA?

I'm leaning towards Snider.

Snider or Hardy. Probably Snider.

Recent comments

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  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • 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.