Game Preview: The Hapless Cubs vs. The Surging Giants

The things you miss not caring about this team...

The Little Cajun That Could was traded to the Giants yesterday for speedy center fielder Evan Crawford. The two reports I read on him are hardly flattering...beyond his speed.

In terms of pitch selection, Crawford is not afraid to work deep counts. However, I’d attribute this more to laying off all offspeed offerings to hide a weakness and not good pitch selection. Crawford looks for the first decent fastball middle-in and tries to yank it down the line. When he’s forced to fight off pitches with two strikes, I’ve seen curveballs make him look silly in the box.

Considering it was a waiver wire deal, you can't expect much to receive much for Mike Fontenot anyway. Darwin Barney has been called up to take Fontenot's spot on the roster.

Geovany Soto went to the disabled list and Derrek Lee is tending to his grandfather, paving the way for Micah Hoffpauir and Welington Castillo to get called up.

All of this was news to me this morning.

The Cubs are currently the proud owners of the 7th spot in the draft and just 2.5 games from the 4th spot, with a little work I think they could even manage to catch the Mariners for the third spot.

As for today's game, the power hitting, but OBP challenged Colvin is leading off, it's like those two two plus years of Soriano in the leadoff spot never happened:  lf colvin, ss castro, rf fuke, cf byrd, 1b nady, 2b dewitt, 3b baker, c hill, p wells

One last piece of fun, Cubs OBI%(Other Baserunners Driven In) this year via Baseball Prospectus. It really should be the go-to stat when folks talk about driving in runners. If I ever accomplish anything with this blog, it will be making this stat more widely accepted and known. The best in the league will be in the low 20's and anything in the 15-17% range is acceptable to good and just like BABIP or many of the rate stats out there, it does fluxuate widely from year to year, but the power hitters who can put the ball in play will tend to be more consistent from year-to-year. For comparison, here's the Cubs in 2008.

Castro
16.3%
Soto
16%
 Soriano 15.7%
 Ramirez 15.3%
 Lee 14.3%
Byrd
13.9%
Fukudome
13.4%
 Nady 12.9%
Colvin
12.0%
Theriot
10.4%
Baker 9.6%

The real treat here is that Soto has batted 7th or 8th most of the year, while being the best Cubs run producer. I know, nothing ground-breaking in terms of information, but still fascinatingly inept to witness.

Comments

Do the Cubs realize that Evan Crawford is neither Evan Longoria nor Carl Crawford?

i think the greatest benefit from the trade...unless the cubs are f'n sly...is saving a few 100K and having a chance at a 4th OFr if he progresses his game.

"The real treat here is that Soto has batted 7th or 8th most of the year, while being the best Cubs run producer."

when it comes to RBIs it helps when the batters in front of him can hit...unlike what the 5/6 hitters got from the 3/4 slot most of the year.

it helps if they can get on-base....

but when it comes to RBI's, it's a matter of opportunities and then driving them in, the table in the post lays it our as clearly as can be.

There's nothing ambiguous here.

That being said, a 2 percentage point difference isn't huge or anything, but given Soto's OBP/SLG and OBI% numbers, just a gross waste of resources this year.

If Soto maintained his pace of driving in runs, and had the same number of opportunities that Lee had, he would have 9 more RBI's.

A couple of other nuances that OBI% doesn't look at is intentional walks (and pitch arounds) and the number of outs that a batter has when he comes to the plate. I would think it's much better to be a 3rd and 4th hitter than a 5th hitter when driving in runners on third base.

That doesn't impact OBI%, which is Rob's point.

it's just an aside...he actually had people in front of him getting on base he could smack in and lingered in the 7/8 slot. it was/is fun fun stuff.

Wonder how many RBI's our lead off hitter might have from another spot in the batting order. He's 10th in the majors in home run frequency with 1 HR every 15.27 AB

yeah, he's not a 1/2 hitter f'sure.

that said, i think (no proof) he's hitting up front with castro in order for them to get maximum ABs to be polished for 2011. it's not uncommon to do this, anyway.

Yeah, I don't care where he's hitting because a) I want them to lose games and b) I want the kids to get experience.

Bear in mind, Lou is managing. I doubt he's paying enough attention to think about AB's for rookies. His own reason is "what're ya gonna do?"

i'm cutting him slack on this one because he's putting both guys up top.

why colvin is batting in front of castro most of the time is the only odd part to me. neither are gonna take walks i guess.

colvin with 9bb batting 1/2 over 150ab

castro with 2bb batting 1/2 over 143ab (most all in #2 slot)

that said, i think (no proof) he's hitting up front with castro in order for them to get maximum ABs to be polished for 2011. it's not uncommon to do this, anyway.

it is in the majors and if they wanted maximum Ab's for him, they wouldn't have sat him the last few days cause he was struggling.

he's there out of laziness and some vague "necessity" they keep harping on...

it's in the majors but the cubs are out of it as hell and then some.

i don't pretend to understand the dynamics of a lou lineup, though. he's not as predictable as some managers year to year...like his pen management it can be kinda skitzo.

From Bruce Miles:

"He’s (Colvin) in the leadoff spot out of necessity, and it’s a challenge for the kid. In talking with some Cubs people last weekend, they can see him in the fifth spot next year."

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/4503

Sandoval "The Fat" just got a triple. That always makes me think of the cake animated gif.

I love Pablo.

Was there an earthquake in SF?

555. Reminds me of Z barreling around the bases in spring training.

Wow, the Fat is having a day.

Mike Fontenot 17.3%
Castro 16.3%
Soto 16%
Soriano 15.7%
Ramirez15.3%
Lee 14.3%
Byrd 13.9%
Fukudome 13.4%
Nady 12.9%
Colvin 12.0%
Theriot 10.4%
Baker 9.6%

I meant to do 200 PA's, but then I decided on 150 and forgot to put Fontenot back in.

thanks.

holy crap castro...dont set up on the side or back of the bag...again...when trying to make a SB play.

As a Cubs fan, it's kind of fun to watch Burrell and Huff chase fly balls. If I were a Giants fan I would be suffering daily heart attacks.

well now...3-7...awesome.

go cubs.

Aw, look. They're trying to win a game. Ain't that cute?

i could go for a nice 15-20 inning time waster.

6-7 now.

...and we have tie.

theriot lite getting his debut at 2nd in the bottom 9th.

well that sucked.

Castro is good, the Cubs are awful.

I think they can stop putting Cashner in the Cubs "3 top rookies to build around" talk for now. His control is poor and he's very hittable right now (when he does get the ball over the plate).

burn him.

burn him like the witch he is...

high walk rate, mediocre K rate at the moment, probably could use some more minor league seasoning imo.

I think he could use regular work, his control has just gotten worse and worse since he got called up.

Treat him like the Cubs treat Szmarj. Rush him along because you have a lot of money tied up in him. He's a starter. No, he's a reliever. Promote him before he's earned the promotion. No, he's a starter. Send hime back down. Maybe he's a reliever. Promomte him when he gets couple guys out. That didn't work. Make a starter out of him again. Send him down. Jerk him around until he doesn't know what in hell is happening.

I thought you were talking about the Bears for a moment. Hahaha. That's how they treat half their roster.

Unfortunately the Cubs do the same thing with any good prospect hitters.

As soon as they reach AA, start the shuttle back and forth to Wrigley. At least until the kid is out of options. Then trade em for PTBNL's or weak prospects.

I really don't see much difference between minor league Cashner and Cubs Cashner. Overall he's been a 7K/9--5BB/9 pitcher on the farm. So far he's doing 6/6 with the Cubs.

He's got one pitch, working on a second. This is Samardzija junior. Not ready for prime time.

overall he's been a 7.8 K/9 (most educated folks round that up to 8) and a 4.1 BB/9 minor league pitchers (most folks round that to 4).

fastball seems straight more than anything as well as not located well and at least fangraphs pitch value seems to support that...if I'm reading that right.

the folks I trust around here seem to think it's more a lack of not using his changeup much so they don't sit on his fastball rather than a lack of a slider.

You trust people around here?

Rob left me TCR in his will.

Because he hates you.

Ha! Sounds right.

anybody think Marquis Smith has mlb potential or upside, he has gotten his average over .300 at Iowa

I was hoping he'd do well this year, but when AramRam went down he was hitting like .215. His potential seems to be a second division starter, but we never thought Casey McGhee was going to go even that far.

I saw him in one game against Round Rock and he actually looks like a real good hitter to me. Unfortunately, he also looked like a pretty hapless third baseman. Maybe it was just a bad game, though -- you can't put too much in one game, but he really looked bad in a couple of routine plays.

EDIT: The same should be said of course about the hitting. Showed some good power though and I think he knocked one out that day.

Funny, because his rep is that he's a really good defensive third basemen who may never have the bat. I envisioned him as maybe a Terry Pendleton type if he put it all together.

.935 fielding percentage at third this year, .939 career. I agree with you about his rep, or at least I remember reading that he was a sponge at third. Wet sponge or dry, I guess is the question.

After watching him that September with the Cubs I thought he played well enough to be considered a decent utility guy, since he could play several positions. I didn't expect him to become a solid everyday player at any position. But it was still a bonehead move to put him on waivers.

tonite

fuku-rf

castro-ss

lee-1b

byrd-cf

dewitt-3rd

sori

barney-2nd

hill-c

Is it bad that I am wishing for more of Lee's relatives to pass away?

Barney gets a start, that's cool.

In the last week, the offense has gotten to Carpenter, Cain, Zito and Lincecum - not too shabby.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 18 min 43 sec ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 19 min 44 sec ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 10 hours 55 sec 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 12 hours 58 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 13 hours 11 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 13 hours 19 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 13 hours 25 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 13 hours 43 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 14 hours 19 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 14 hours 37 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 14 hours 39 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 14 hours 57 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 15 hours 4 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 16 hours 9 sec ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 16 hours 17 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 16 hours 22 min ago view