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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  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 19 min 14 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 19 min 42 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 28 min 31 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 48 min 41 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 1 hour 55 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 10 min ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 19 min ago view