Vogel-Jack Bomb Not Quite Enough to Overcome Giant Attack

Cubs 2011 2nd round draft pick Dan Vogelbach crushed a tape-measure three-run HR over the RF fence to cap a five-run 4th, doubled and scored to key a five-run 8th, and reached base four times to lead the Cubs back from 8-2 and 14-7 deficits, only to see the AZL Giants score twice in the top of the 12th on two consecutive two-out balks and go on to defeat the Cubs 17-15 at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning, as the AZL Cubs were officially eliminated from contention in the AZL Wild Card standings.

box score

Vogelbach (called "Fat Boy" by the Giants when they first saw him) showed his hitting skill throughout the game, as the opposing pitchers mostly tried to work him away. While he pulled (tomahawked) a high, hanging breaking ball out for the monster HR onto the roof of the batting cages in the 4th, he also hit opposite-field ropes in four other ABs when the Giants tried to stay away from his pull-power (line-drive single to LF in the 1st, L-7 line-drive out in the 3rd, hard-hit 6-3 ground out in the 6th, and a ground rule line-drive double that sliced into the LF corner before going out of play in the 8th). Vogelbach also displayed plenty of patience in his six plate appearances, showing that he is not afraid to go deep into counts and hit with two strikes (the lead-off walk in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied 15-15 was vintage Rickey Henderson).

It's hard to explain Vogelbach's baserunning, because he is certainly is not fast, but while Rock Shoulders (for instance) is bottom-heavy and runs like a 350-pound nose tackle, Vogelbach runs more like a pulling-guard. Again, he is not fast, but he runs hard, is light on his feet, and gets down the line OK. He is most-definitely faster than Shoulders.

In addition to Vogelbach's big day, Cubs 2011 9th round pick LF Garrett Schlecht (Waterloo HS - Waterloo, IL) reached base five time (four walks and a single) and scored three runs. The 18-year old lefty-swinging Schlecht has (at best) average speed, and is a below-average defender with an average arm, but he is a solid spray hitter with power potential, and (as evidenced by the four walks) is EXTREMELY patient and choosy at the plate. Three of his four walks today happened after he was initially down 0-2. Schlecht had signed an NLI with Middle Tennessee State before opting to turn pro and sign with the Cubs for a reported $235K (about equivalent to "4th round money").


Two pitchers recently drafted and signed by the Cubs made their pro debut today, with somewhat opposite results.


20-year old 26th round draft pick RHP Michael Jensen (Hartnell JC) had a rocking-chair easy nine-pitch 1-2-3 top of the 1st (F-7, K-swinging, and an F-9), while 19-year old 5th round pick RHP Tayler Scott (Notre Dame Prep - Scottsdale, AZ) allowed three runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple) and a walk, with one strikeout and a 1/3 GO/FO, in 1.2 IP (25 pitches - 14 strikes). Both pitchers threw nothing but fastballs, but Jensen's sat at 94, while Scott's was topping out at 91.


Jensen gave up a chance to pitch at USC when he signed with the Cubs for $225K ("4th round money") and appears like he could maybe be another one of those McNutt-Struck-Kurcz JUCO finds, while Scott is the South African baseball & soccer prodigy whose parents moved to the U. S. just so Tayler could work with pitching guru Tom House. Scott gave up a chance to both pitch AND play soccer at the University of Arizona when he signed with the Cubs ($279,950 bonus).


Kudos should go out to AZL Cubs closer Yilver "San-Cheese" Sanchez, who threw five innings and 70 pitches in relief after Tayler Scott, Hunter Ackerman and Felix Pena got pounded for 14 runs in innings 3-4-5-6. The Cubs have a rule where AZL Cubs pitchers are not permitted to throw more than five innings or 75 pitches (whichever comes first), so Sanchez milked the "five innings or 75 pitches rule" for all it was worth. The Cubs scored three in the 7th and five more in the 8th while Sanchez was in the game, but they just could not manage to push across the winning run before Sanchez had to depart. (The Cubs had runners on 2nd & 3rd with two outs in bottom of the 9th, and runners at 1st & 2nd with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but the runners were left-stranded).


Two Cubs players had on-field tantrums that got them unceremoniously yanked out of the game.

18-year old Venezuelan hitting sensation Gioskar Amaya was pulled from the game by Manager Juan "Pee-Pee" Cabreja after smashing his bat to smithereens when he struck out (swinging) in the bottom of the 5th, and LHP (and losing pitcher) Luis Villalba was kicked out of the game by the home plate umpire after vehemently protesting the second consecutive balk called against him in the top of the 12th (which directly resulted in the Giants scoring what would be the eventual winning run and an "insurance" run). Fact is the Giants baserunners just absolutely screwed with Villalba's head with two outs and runners at 2nd & 3rd in the top of the 12th, causing him to make unnecessary movements while standing on the pitching rubber in response to two different baserunners faking a steal of home... TWICE IN A ROW...


A sad end to a very long (and very hot) day.

Return to Homepage

Comments

I-Cubs also came back late from a big deficit (6-1) on the road tonight before losing 7-6 in the tenth. Brett Jackson doubled home the tying run in the ninth, after walking with the bases loaded the inning before. Snyder and LeMahieu homered in the game.

AZ Phil -

Have you seen any of Vogelbach at firstbase yet?

Submitted by QuietMan on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 10:00pm.

AZ Phil -

Have you seen any of Vogelbach at firstbase yet?

================================

Q-MAN: No.

Just DH so far.

Thanks Phil.

In addition to pending state and federal charges, now Dykstra is charged with indecent exposure:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08...

This story comes as no surprise to me, after what I've read about Lenny's behavior. He's got some significant behavioral problems (understatement).

Oh no not Lenny!

kids, turn off the tv. i have some bad news about lenny.

Because the font became too narrow to respond, I'm posting this for those touting Samardzija for the rotation. He was a mediocre starter in the minors, and doesn't have a 3rd pitch to help get through the order 2 second or third time.
2006- Boise-Peoria: 1-2, 2.70 ERA...in 7 starts. small sample?
2007- Daytona-Tenn: 6-11, 4.57 ERA in 26 starts, 1.54 WHIP, 65K-48BB. Fared better in AA
2008-Tenn-Iowa 7-6, 4.29 ERA, 1.421 WHIP, 84K-58BB in 21 starts
2009-Iowa 6-6, 4.35 ERA in 17 starts, 1.404 WHIP, 71K-27BB
2010- Iowa 11-3, 4.37 ERA, 15 starts, 20 games in relief, 102K-67BB, 1.374 WHIP.
In MLB (sample size alert)
starter: 2-3, 7.77 ERA, 14K-15BB, 1.808 WHIP..in only 5 starts
reliever:8-6, 4.11 ERA, 113K-78BB, 1.477 WHIP in 109 games.

He's finally having some consistent success as reliever. Why mess with that? He can air it out, hitting 97+ out of the pen, and not having to use his other pitches as much.

You're using the same logic that people used to defend Soriano batting leadoff... because he's going well in MLB this year, and he happens to be a reliever, it doesn't necessarily mean that he wouldn't have done approximately as well as a starter.

In short, correlation is not causation.

In each season in the minors, when he started, he had some fairly good stretches.

Stretches. In the minors. And he had stretches where he got torched. His decent fastball as a starter, becomes a weapon as a reliever, instead of hitting 92-94, he's touching 97-98. He can use that mostly, and throw in a few splitters. His lack of a reliable 3rd pitch, and wildness has held him back as a starter. After a few seasons of inconsistency, he's finally shown some consistent results at this level....as a reliever. Why not go get a starting pitcher, instead of trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit?

Do you know how hard he can throw over seven innings? Do you know that if being moved to a starters role he has no third pitch to use? Do you know what's more valuable, a average starting pitcher or an average relief pitcher? Why pay someone $8 million a year to do what Samardisja may be able to do for $3?

Ok.
you're right. Pitcher's usually don't gain a couple mph on the fastball when they move to the pen because they're not holding back to conserve pitches? Pitcher's pitching an inning usually don't rely on 1-2 pitches? Starters generally don't need a 3rd pitch to get through the order more than once? When did he show that? He had some minor league success...SOME. His 4.30 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, and 1.63 K/NN ratio scream that he's a starter? He's had success this season as a reliever, after coming up the last few seasons, and getting torched, but hey let's make him a starter.

Do you really not know that some pitchers are better at maintaining their velocity than others? Did Randy Johnson throw 105 in the first inning and 97 in the 7th?

Last year with the Cubs his ERA was 6.19 as a starter and 18.90 as a reliever, so that proves that without a doubt he's going to be much better as a starter.

All I am saying is that no one knows what would happen if he was moved to the rotation. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

Lol..when discussing Jeff Samardzija, let's not bring up Randy Johnson, ok?

I'm saying...he's been inconsistent at best as a pitcher in the Cubs system...as both starter, and reliever. He's finally had almost a full season of success in the bullpen....maybe he's found his niche?

I will accept, that it's possible Samardzija could have success as a starter, if you can accept that it's possible that moving him to the pen and keeping him there could be why he's successful this year.

I will accept that you're making a Strawman argument. When did I say he wasn't better suited to be a reliever?

Sigh

Fine ...since Randy Johnson can sustain his velocity, then I'm sure Samardzija can.

Yes!

This is about your sixth post in a string of an argument that just because someone has sucked for years doesn't mean they suck. And hey, despite only having two pitches, let's put him in the rotation. Throw those 5 years of being a horrible SP out just because you want to argue he's not a bad SP, despite the facts proving the opposite.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

"I'm a dipshit."
'Paul Noce'

Tito went on and on about how there was no way that Dempster was going to be a better starting pitcher than Zambrano, and that was just for one season.

Anyway, DB manipulated the stats to prove his point.

2006 ERA as a starter 2.70
2007 in AA 3.41
2008 in Iowa 3.13

I know you're a dipshit, but how is that "years of sucking"?

my request to all parties to refrain from the derogatory personal insults...

Don't drag me into your stalking of Paul Noce.

I don't remember saying that, but unlike some people, I have no problem admitting I was wrong.

Good, because replying to someone's comment directed to you is not stalking.

The stalking comment was a joke, but you did bring me up when I wasn't involved in the discussion.

How's that D-Lee "abandoned his charity" research coming?

Remember the last five years at ST when he they were hawking "Project 5000" bracelets? Don't worry, no one does.

Wow, good sleuthing, Columbo!

BTW, it's Project 3000.

Dempster had success before as a starting pitcher. He was an All Star in Florida as a Starting pitcher. He held the Marlins career win record as a starter.

Jeff Samjay has been awful at every stop as a starter. His repertoire isn't conducive to being a starter. However it is enough to be a pen arm.

Its Apples and Watermelon.

Explain to me how you can read this:

2006 ERA as a starter 2.70
2007 in AA 3.41
2008 in Iowa 3.13

Process it, and come up with this:

Jeff Samjay has been awful at every stop as a starter.

I am not attacking you, I am genuinely really curious.

TRN,

You accuse Dusty Baker of having "manipulated" the stats, yet you clearly cherry-picked yours. Rather convenient of you to ignore Samardzija's 20 A+ starts in 2007 (ERA over 4.50), his 21 starts at AA in 2008 (ERA over 4.00) and his 17 starts at AA in 2009 (ERA over 4.00).

Moreover, his 2007 AA and 2008 AAA ERAs were the result of only 6 starts each. For someone who always refers to sample size, it's interesting that you ignore that in this case.

No doubt you'll ask: if Samardzija was so bad in the lower leagues in 2007 and 2008, why did they promote him? Simple, because they were paying him a major league salary and rushed him at every chance they could.

I already explained this. Try to keep up.

Show him your balls now.

Rationalized, sure. Explained? Not so much.

If you take partial years, sure.

Anyway, DB manipulated the stats to prove his point.

2006 ERA as a starter 2.70..in 5 starts
2007 in AA 3.41- in 6 starts. At Hi-A in 20 starts (24G total)- 3-8, 4.95 ERA, 1.649 WHIP, 11.9 H/9
2008 in Iowa 3.13..in 6 starts..
at AA Tenn- 15 starts (16G total) 3-5, 4.86 ERA, 1.487 WHIP, 5 BB/9, 1.05 K/BB

I manipulated them?
So over 3 seasons, you have 17 starts where he did well, and 35 where he blew chunks. Neal, you of all people should look at the sample sizes.

The 2008 BB and K rates you quoted there are worse than his numbers this year, and he did them as a starter which is impossible because he only throws 88 MPH as a starter, right?

You were refuting my point from the previous post which said "at times he pitched well as a starter every year". His numbers last year were pretty solid as well, if you adjust for the PCL, which explians the 11-3 record.

But yes, if you mix up the times when he pitched poorly, with the times he pitched well under a different set of conditions, it makes his overall numbers not look as impressive.

My point, is that when he was going right, he has shown that he has the talent to pitch well, deep into games.

We haven't seen that in the majors yet. They've fucked around with him so much it's impossible to even know what his best pitches are.

Please note that every time I have quoted MPH, I've said "he goes from 92-94, up to 97-98."

He was 11-3 last year in AAA...sure, in 15 starts, 30 relief appearances.

If you mix up the facts that he's done well as a reliever, and inconsistent at best as a starter, well sure you can say he could pitch deep into games.

Refresh me, when did he do well as a reliever? So well that he showed he was clearly better in that role?

"Why is that so hard for you to accept?"

People want to take 2010 numbers and carry them over into 2011 and 2012. Often it works, but sometimes players break out, especially a BSL (Baseball as Second Language) player like Samardzija. Now that he seems to have learned how to pitch, I would encourage the Cubs to go back to their original plan of making him a starter, a job for which he seems suited by arm and delivery and body type and demeanor.

Big Lowitzki asked me if there were any starters with Samardzija's 5.3 BB/9. Any pitcher with that many walks has control problems, but a small number are able to get away with it, at least for a while. The best comparison to Samardzija might be Jonathan Sanchez, whose BB/9 this year is 5.9. But Sanchez gives up only 7.1 hits per 9 innings, and last year led the league (among starters) with 6.6. Samardzija's H/9 this season is 6.3.

In 2006, Zambrano was fifth in Cy Young voting with a BB/9 ratio of 4.8--he led the league in walks with 115--but his H/9 was 6.8, which held his WHIP at a respectable 1.29, the same as Samardzija's this year.

Samardzija's BB/9 in the minors was 3.9.

I would love to see Ninja become a decent starting pitcher. I would love lots of things...so I hope it works. I go on record saying that I don't think it'll work out.

That I can agree with that.

Off the top of my head, Samardzija doesn't seem like a groundball pitcher, but if he were to induce a few double plays that would also help his BB problem.

er, why are we still talking about Todd Wellemeyer, I mean Samardzija?

but if our goal is a maybe league average starter, but probably worse, then by all means let's move Samardzija to the rotation.

personally I hope he's one of the first guys the Cubs trade under new gonna-be-totally-awesome-and-do-everything-I-want-him-to-do GM.

I like the cut of your jib mister!

Then what do you do with Wells?

;-)

if I read AZ Phil's explanation correctly, he has a pseudo-option year left next season. Let him compete for a spot...

can't have much trade value anyway, while some numbnuts GM might believe in Samardzija's season.

I have nothing to prove this, but doesn't seem Wells was fully healthy when he returned. Having a much better 2nd half at least.

I just keep seeing Well's games and thinking, "I could hit that." He needs to throw harder.

more circumstantial evidence that he could be trying to fight through an injury, FB velocity down about 2 mph this year according to fangraphs, slider and changeup too.

I've got this theory, totally unsubstantiated, that you've got to throw about 91 to force the majority of major league hitters to respect your fastball. Otherwise they can guess something else and react when they see it is the fastball. I think I developed it watching Maddux's 2nd tour of duty.

Jamie Moyer, Livan Hernandez, Ted Lilly and Tom Glavine disagree...

maybe only lefties can get away with.

I realize it's an average and not terribly accurate and maybe you're talking about topping out at, but the list of guys that throw under 91 is quite substantial on fangraphs and many on the list are successful.

How do you see that list? I guess I'd put it at 91 as the average, maybe 90.5.

Fangraphs->Leaders->2011->Starters->Pitch Types->FBv column

Wells doesn't qualify, but he'd be 10th worst

from the bottom
L. Hernandez, Dickey, Francis, Buehrle, Arroyo, Marcum, Lilly, Vargas, Maholm, Narveson

would definitely like to see him back in the low 90's range though, previous 2 years they had him at 89.6 average

Thanks, I looked there, but thought v was "value". Smart.

Jered Weaver sort of sticks out like a sore thumb on that list.

I didn't realize Marcum wasn't a hard thrower. Obviously if you're a change of speeds guy an average is going to hurt you.

That 91 rings a bell with me. David Weathers pitched for 19 seasons and in his declining years had a 91-mph fastball that he threw confidently and was completely unembarrassed about.

Mike Wuertz, on the other hand, had a 91-mph fastball that he was very timid about, seldom throwing it for a strike. (That's one of the reasons I still hate Rothschild.)

Fangraphs (pitch FX) has him throwing the same # of fastballs, with the A's, but it had him throwing lots of changeups with the Cubs. I don't remember that at all.

my memory of mike wuertz is throwing his slider a lot and with great success.

according to the pitch type values on fangraphs, that seemed to be the case and his fastball was the pitch he got hurt most with.

Also seemed to notice that pitch fx mistakes split-fingers and change-ups a lot. Thought Wuertz threw a splitter myself...

-edit- this fella says it's a change

http://www.60ft6in.com/Athletics.html

A couple of years back Wuertz's slider was named the nastiest in baseball, if I remember correctly.

And yup... here it is:
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090...

I remember how great he did in Oakland his first season there. Not like we missed him here, what with Eyre and Howry around.

Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 11:32am.
if I read AZ Phil's explanation correctly, he has a pseudo-option year left next season. Let him compete for a spot...

can't have much trade value anyway, while some numbnuts GM might believe in Samardzija's season.

I have nothing to prove this, but doesn't seem Wells was fully healthy when he returned. Having a much better 2nd half at least.

============================================

ROB G: Randy Wells will be arbitration-eligible for the first time post-2011, so he is a trade or non-tender candidate. Otherwise the Cubs have him under club control through 2014. If he is not non-tendered, Wells will likely get about $2M in 2012. My guess is the Cubs will retain Wells for 2012.

Once the Cubs decline Jeff Samardzija's 2012 $3M club option (which is VERY likely now that Hendry is gone) he loses his "no trade" rights and will revert to being an "auto-renewal" (pre-arbitration) player. However the Cubs will not be able to cut his salary more than 20%, so if he is not non-tendered, the least Samardzija can make in 2012 is $2.4M. He will be eligible for salary-arbitration for the first time post-2012. I suspect the Cubs will retain Samardzija for 2012 even though he is over-paid for the role he serves.

Big Lowitzki asked me if there were any starters with Samardzija's 5.3 BB/9.

So you have one pitcher. Sounds like a trend!

I gave you what you asked for, "any starters," etc.

Here are two who are not having good years in 2011: Volquez, 5.8 BB/9, Liriano, 5.0. I gave you Zambrano at 4.8 in a good season.

I don't think Samardzija can be be successful with that many walks. But Dempster was 4.8, 4.3 as a reliever. Now he's in the mid to low 3's. Samardzija is a recent convert to pitching and may have a lot of improvement left in him. I'm impressed by his progress this year.

I asked this on the previous thread, and no one answered it. But how many effective starters are there with BB/9 over 5?

the whole ninja debate is stupid, imo...the guy you could only count on to go 5-6ip anyway and he's not lights-out enough to screw with what's the team's "iron man" relief guy. his arm seems to respond well to being used 3-5 times a week. he had a rough outing today, but he was hitting 98mph with no sign of fatigue.

I asked this on the previous thread, and no one answered it. But how many effective starters are there with BB/9 over 5?

---

The answer is 0. Of the 102 SP's listed on Fangraphs this season (129 ip or more), the highest bb/9 is Liriano of Minnesota with 4.98. The next guy is Tyler Chatwood, at 4.35, and it drops from there. There are only 5 sp's in the majors with 4.0 or higher bb/9.

Liriano has had an unusual season and is 9-9 with a 4.84 era, but this is a guy who has electric stuff when he's on and is awful when he's not. He's also coming back once again from elbow surgery. This is only the 2nd season Liriano has been over 4.0 bb/9. The other season he had 4.28 bb/9 and was 5-13 with a 5.80 era, which shows how strange a season he is having this year to experience much success being that wild.

Another Strawman. Who said that Samardijsa can be effective as a starter walking 5 guys per nine innings?

Let's lower the inning threshold and see if there are any starters who walk that many:

Kyle Drabek
Sanchez
Edison Volquez
Coleman
Dough Davis
Andrew Miller

Pretty much that lists consists of two guys on the Cubs and four guys I wish the Cubs had (to varying degrees). Dempster used to struggle a lot with walks. Greg Maddux walked 4.28/9 his first full season. Not that I think he's going to be either of those guys, I don't even think he would succeed as a starter, but there are guys who improve, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that he's one of those guys. He hit the majors with about 280 minor league innings under his belt. That's about 200 less than Maddux and 40 less than Coleman.

Another Strawman.

So what is the strawman? That no one is arguing that he can be effective as a starter? Or that no one is saying that he will continue to walk 5+ guys per 9?

You each had one. Who said "I think Samardijza can do exactly what he is doing now as a reliever and be an effective starter"? It seems that's the guy you're arguing with when you bring up his current walk rate.

Who said "I think Samardijza can do exactly what he is doing now as a reliever and be an effective starter"?

Sigh... I never said anyone said that.

It seems that's the guy you're arguing with when you bring up his current walk rate.

Well, I would argue that VA Phil, in the previous thread, did pretty much say that there is no reason that Samardzija can't continue to pitch the way the he has, as a starter, and be effective.

But what I am saying that Samardziha hasn't shown any ability to throw strikes consistently. Could he magically start throwing strikes consistently and not walking 5 guys per 9? Sure. But it isn't likely.

What I did originally is as VA Phil a question - what has Samardzija done to show that he can be an effective starter? And what successful and/or effective starters walk 5 guys per 9?

If you don't think that those are valid questions when talking about Samardzija as a starter, I don't know what to tell you.

Could he magically start throwing strikes consistently and not walking 5 guys per 9? Sure. But it isn't likely.

Isn't baseball filled with guys who have done exactly that? In the second half of the season it's down to 4.5 (I understand that may just be sample size). If he can strike out 9 and walk only 4, while maintaining decent results on his batted balls, he's going to be at least a league average starter. His SIERA is on this season 3.82, that would rank 30th in the NL as a starter. And yes, I also understand that it's difficult to go deep into games if you are walking a lot of guys (and his pace this year he'd reach 100 pitches roughly half way through the 6th on average).

I am not advocating giving the guy the third starter spot and running him out there 33 times next year. I am just saying there's no really good reason not to give him a crack at a starting job. The upside would outweigh the downside.

Isn't baseball filled with guys who have done exactly that?

I wouldn't say "filled," but I would say that yes, there are some that have done exactly that. And there are a lot more that have not done magically started to throw strikes consistently and we don't remember, or even know, most of their names.

while maintaining decent results on his batted balls

I'll go out on a limb and say he probably won't maintain a .249 BABIP.

who cares about SIERA, BABIP, IFADSF, ASKHDFH, AIHWEI, and IEWHKSDF when it takes you 20+ pitches to get through an inning?

if you want to dismiss your iron man reliever who can play 3-5 games a week without issue and make him a starter that needs 3-4 relievers to finish a game...he's ideal to start.

there's no need to involve advanced tools to analyze the situation. the guy can barely go 5-6ip without needing 100-120 pitches to do it.

it's a double "screw you" taking ninja out the pen and his role as iron man reliever to put him in the rotation. you gain a starter that needs more relief support and you lose your reliever you can march out more than others to cover for those kind of starters.

that said...it wouldn't surprise me to see him in another false competition this spring with carpenter/wells...won't hurt at all to stretch him out any way you roll it.

Thanks Buster Olney, but the grownups are talking.

don't you have 20 other people on TCR to tell you're awesome and correct without getting into it with me?

yes, i have an opinion, yes, you think you're the only one who's matters.

thanks for not calling me a dipshit...i guess i didn't frustrate you enough.

Sweet... THE Real Neal thinks I'm a grownup!

Samardjiza has the 6th highest bb/9 in all of mlb among relievers with at least 40 ip. (5.47) He's not a rock solid reliever. I'd much rather see him not on the team next year in any role.

Maybe we have a different definition of "magic". To me it sounds like you're saying "once in a blue moon". What it looks like in reality is "two guys per MLB staff".

Zambrano and Dempster.
Wolf, Marcum and Gallardo
Carpenter
Volquez (decent without correcting it), Bailey, Arroyo
Norris
Etc, etc...

Obviously that takes a big advantage of the survivor effect, but it's pretty common that guys hit the big leagues as hard throwers with control problems, and figure out it's better to throw strikes and let them hit it sometimes.

Headline on WGN this morning.. "Lenny in Trouble for Showing His Squiggy"

Lenny=Dykstra, not Kasper

Thanks Jacos....although they are keepin an eye on Kasper too!
=P

Hey nowwwwwwwww!

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Zeke DeVoss, 2B/OF, Cubs (Short-season Boise): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Has been moved to center field over last week; .333/.489/.390 in 30 games.

Jae-Hoon Ha, OF, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. 10-for-18 in last five games and up to .281/.317/.422 in 52 Southern League games.

Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Rookie-level AZL): 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R 3 RBI, BB. First professional home run for over slot draftee.

on a somewhat related note since we're talking about pitchers...

Does everyone still hate Larry Rothschild?

Kinda miss him now.

Dan Evans - another GM candidate to consider:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Can Randy Smith or Omar Mineya be far behind on the candidate list?

Starlin6//Barney4/14gamehitstreak5/Baker3/Soto 2/Byrd8/Soriano7/Johnson9/Lopez1

vs. Randy Wolf

http://twitter.com/billazbbphotog/status/1071...

dude is infringing on AZ Phil's territory, but says Javier Baez played today

It's awful, and I won't infringe, but I will give the link to the boxscore for those of us who can't wait for AZ Phil's highly anticipated writeup.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats...

impressive to already have 3 errors for Lockhart...

H. Simpson needs some time off...at least a mental break.

He's a mess, but I still won't begrudge the pick. I'll give it one more year first ; )

That pick sucked the minute it was announced. Everyone thought so then. Everyone still thinks so now.

The guy who we SHOULD have gotten is outperforming Vitters in AA. And he got taken by the Cards just to compound the buffoonery that the Cubs exhibited.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/index...

Not sure if you league adjust that whether he's outperforming Vitters, and just about no one thinks he'll play 3rd in the majors, but yeah, if you evaluate the draft a year in, he's obviously a better choice.

fwiw,

Cox, OPS+ is 123 in AA (8.1 BB%, 18.5 K%, .370 BABIP, 22% LD .145 ISOP)
Vitters is 105 (4.4 BB, 11.3 K, .299 BABIP, 15% LD, .156 ISOP)

Cox is 3 months older

on a somewhat related note, Cardinals have 2 of the top 5 pitching prospects in baseball...fuck them.

do we need a 3rd useless arguement on the day for TCR?

a 15-20hr future LF/RF...neat, everyone loves cox. lulz.

Aren't we waiting on David Kelton's inferior twin to save our 3rd base future?

lol hey! I still have an autographed baseball card of his around here somewhere.

The Astros traded for Cox's twin last year... this year they sent him to AAA, I guess because they're so good.

Edit* Holy, Firefox fuckup Batman.

I did want to say about Ng, that all the compliments almost make me weary of her, like people are afraid to say anything bad about a female (presumably a minority) swimming with the big carp in MLB.

Given the chance, Hendry could mock up an articulate interview as well.

I'd trade Vitters and Simpson for either one of them.

Wouldn't you also give a four year contract to a DH with a 60 OPS+ to play first for the Cubs?

I took a look at Vitters' stats. Injuries have really taken a chunk out of his career. If he plays one more game this year, he will tie his career high in games played for a season (120). He only has one year in addition to this one where he played 100 games or more. After 5 years in the minors, he will have played about 30% of his career games in this year. He's still only 21. No reason to give up on him yet, but he needs to do a lot better to make it.

In Baseball America, they said he'd taken 7 walks in 23 games this month, which for him is like getting struck by lightning more than twice.

His walks by month are 4-2-2-5-7

iso-D by month
056-029-020-040-053

I'm still a Vitters fan. I don't think players have to follow such a linear progression to make it. He has been a victim of injuries and he's also been promoted aggressively.

What is this? AZ Phil enjoying a Friday night dinner and a movie when we want a writeup? The nerve!

heh

link you gave shows AZL Cubs on the road, so if it wasn't at Fitch Park, he probably wasn't there.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/689...

All-Star game at Wrigley for 2016, improvements need to be done to handle fan fest and such, so guess they figure the triangle building or whatever they end up doing there will be done by then.

Within the story...

The Ricketts family has been busy attempting to purchase land around the park. It envisions the Wrigleyville area around the park will be a one-stop shop for hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

One purchase the family is attempting to make is the land on the corner of Clark and Addison that houses a McDonald's, which is the third-busiest in Chicagoland. That would be a multimillion-dollar purchase, if completed.

the tribune should have done it the maaaaaany times they had a chance to do it.

if people are serious about wanting to keep wrigley field the place where the chicago cubs play it has to scale up it's profitability as well as attractiveness to players they want to get.

the ticket prices are getting too high and there's not many places left to add seats or non-tacky revenue sources.

Would you be against video screens?
Mcdonalds would be easy put a franchis in new building

i'd be for leveling wrigley and moving into a modern park...

You and me, both.

I think any purchase around Wrigley will be a multi-million dollar deal. Those houses across the street go for several millions each.

As recently as the early 1980s, they were practically worthless compared to now. My ex-cousin-in-law was part of an investment group that was going to buy 3617 N. Sheffield around 81-82 for I think $200K, but one of the investors got cold feet about "pissing his money away" and they walked away. Oops.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers...

yet another prospective GM list

gee, I hope it's Allard Baird

Come on, man, he's forgotten more baseball than you'll ever know... or something.

Old interview with Kim Ng. Seems like a sharp tack.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Everybody speaks highly of Kim Ng. I'd much rather see her get the job than some recycled GM that didn't accomplish anything at his last job.

Tanner Boyle disagrees.

Cashner going today again for Smokies

1-2-3 first, groundout, K swinging, groundout on 15 pitches

Raley out for the 2nd

probably 3/44, but FSL home page doesn't update often

piece on Evan Crawford

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/artic...

spoiler: he doesn't win the batting title

SPOILER: Castro HR to lead off game.

Jackson hits one for Iowa about the same time, Ramirez streak goes to 15 games

That's nice, but I want to know if he was eating sunflower seeds.

best thing about a castro homer is he can't make an error while doing it...

seriously, though...he's getting better with the D and it's either clicking and/or he's working hard to make it better.

He's still making some "inexperience" ones though. Eventually he'll probably settle in as a 15-20 error guy. Certainly not the end of the world, especially if his bat continues to develop.

Which takes me back to the Ng interview how she likes guys who can hit up the middle (Castro, Soto, Jackson)... probably curtains for Barwin Darney as our second basemen if she got the job.

Re: Soto

Yes he can hit up the middle
No he doesn't hit there often enough

I'd love to see the new GM trade high on him. Bring in Castillo and Clevenger for L/R combo.

I think hit up the middle means guys who play in the middle of the field and can also handle a bat.

Point-Counterpoint! Somebody (Lawrence Holmes?) yammering on the Score yesterday: "You got Starlin Castro out there, he has NO baseball instincts AT ALL, he has NO IDEA what he's doing..."

o___0 running just a leetle too hard with the Valentinian analysis. Sheesh.

Well, when you let your, for want of a better word, "manager" throw the boy under the bus once a month the media starts to catch on.

"...starts to pile on."

/fixed
/Rosenbloom'd
/Sullivan'd

*implosion*

My son calls Lopez "The Man with No Stuff", like a character in a spaghetti western. Why do we have him? In every game he pitches, hitters really square up on him and it's only a matter of time before he gets destroyed. Note to Quade: if he gives up a baserunner after the 4th, pull him.

he's one of those guys who should be good, but isn't...because he's so damn hittable.

he throws low/mid 90s (used to work in the 94mph range more, but still same results) and has nice control...he's even got a decent, though nothing special, slider.

he can't mix it up effectively, though...it gets hit, and he's a fly ball pitcher most of the time...bad combo.

If he went to St Louis he would win 12-15 games. Duncan and Molina would keep him down in the zone and get some decent results out of him. The Cubs current and last few regimes would not be able to pull that off. Kind of gets old, you know?

Quade seems to take a nap from the 4th inning and later in every start Lopez makes. Lopez consistently runs into trouble and gets shelled, normally in the 5th inning, but when he loses it he loses it right now. Q again sat there oblivious to what was going on and lost the game in the 5th inning tonight. Consistently horrible managing from a guy who has proven he's not a major league manager material.

it would have helped if d.barney didn't screw up twice.

Quade wants his starters to go six innings, or five at an absolute minimum. That's their job. It's bad enough to lose this game, but don't go to the pen too early and lose tomorrow's game tonight.

So if it's the fourth inning and a pitcher acts like he wants an early shower, Quade says, "tough."

Except Lopez has shown zero ability to really be stretched out and go even 5 innings successfully. I understand that they are in a bind for SP, and they have decided that Lopez is their best option, but is the goal to just get the season over or to try and win games? The way Quade acts by ripping the kids to the press repeatedly, talking up the veteran 'hustle' on this team, and playing Reed Johnson over Colvin, he is clearly trying to keep his job and thinks he can win with his crazy moves. All the more reason to recognize that Quade is a moron. Lopez hits the wall hard in the 5th inning in every start, if the team is actually trying to win then they need to have Ortiz or someone else on standby at the start of the 5th inning. There's no reason why Lopez can't throw 4 + ip and once he starts to lose it, like every OTHER manager in MLB, you take him out. Quade likes to leave Lopez in until he gives up another 3, 4, or 5 runs and the game is already over.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/spl...

Take a look at that. That's Lopez' ERA by inning for the season.

1st - 3rd innings - all 3 are between 2.31 and 3.27, he's been very good.

4th inning: 6.75
5th: 6.97
6th: 7.11

Times facing a batter as the SP:
1st time through the order: .253 opponent avg
2nd time: .269
3rd time: .446

those first 3 innings are a lie...there's nothing in his arm or history that makes him anything less than a very hittable pitcher. he's had years where he sucks in inning 1...he's had years where he doesn't...etc etc.

he's just a good control pitcher who's got good stuff on paper...but can't keep the ball out of the sky and gets hit too much for a guy that can't keep the ball out of the sky. meh.

he's a loser option for a non-contender...cubs 2012 fit that option. pure filler...give him enough innings and he'll screw himself...usually doesn't take much.

I'm not saying he's a good pitcher, but he's been very consistent as a starter for the Cubs, pitching ok for 3 innings and then trouble starts. Very predictable, it happens every start right on cue.

For his career his first three innings are lower than the rest, except the 8th where he, I am assuming, was mostly relieving.

Quade is the man who gave us Russel and Coleman as our sixth and seventh starters... what else can you say?

We should see Jay Jackson in Sept for a few starts (hopefully replacing the Lopez-Ortiz gang-bang games). He pitched 7 innings and one run ball for the I-Cubs last night before Gaub got toasted in the bottom of the 8th leading to a nine spot for OKC. Jackson has been inconsistent but does seem to be a bit better lately and he certainly goes deeper into games.

Frankly without Z, I miss having a pitcher who can really hit.

Btw, when does Z come off the disqualified list (I think he went on it Monday, 8-15)? Has there been any word on the mlbpa appeal? The 30 days, if let run to completion would end after Tues, 9-13. What is the most likely scenerio after that? It won't impact another player since the roster will have expanded in September.

The appeal is just about the money. He's not going to play any more this year.

Do you have a hunch about where Z will wind up next year?

He's probably going to veto anything other than to an NL team, a rebuilding team is not going to take him, and a team that thinks it is a favorite probably doesn't want to deal with him, so maybe a team like the Nationals with some cash and some playoff fantasies... the Cubs fit that bill too, huh?

Cubs it is!

zambrano and ozzie gullen will both re-locate to miami this off-season.

Submitted by Cubster on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 8:14am.
We should see Jay Jackson in Sept for a few starts (hopefully replacing the Lopez-Ortiz gang-bang games). He pitched 7 innings and one run ball for the I-Cubs last night before Gaub got toasted in the bottom of the 8th leading to a nine spot for OKC. Jackson has been inconsistent but does seem to be a bit better lately and he certainly goes deeper into games.

Frankly without Z, I miss having a pitcher who can really hit.

Btw, when does Z come off the disqualified list (I think he went on it Monday, 8-15)? Has there been any word on the mlbpa appeal? The 30 days, if let run to completion would end after Tues, 9-13. What is the most likely scenerio after that? It won't impact another player since the roster will have expanded in September.

====================================

CUBSTER: I would bet that the arbitrator rules in favor of Zambrano in the grievance hearing, meaning the Cubs will have to reinstate him from the Disqualified List with back pay minus a token fine for cleaning out his locker and leaving the clubhouse early without permission (Z makes about $100K per day, so a $100K fine might be acceptable to everyone involved), and then the Cubs will probably send him home for the rest of the season (as they did with Milton Bradley in 2009) and table any decision about Zambrano's future with the team until the off-season.

Of course the big problem from the Cubs POV is that (unlike Bradley) Zambrano has a full "no trade," so the Cubs might not be able to trade him during the off-season even if they find a club interested in acquiring him. If that turns out to be the case, the Cubs would then have to decide whether to bring him back in 2012, or just release him and eat the $18M 2012 salary.

I have a feeling he will be back with the Cubs in 2012.

Normally I would agree with this line of thinking, but when the owner say he has a hard time seeing Zambrano pitching for the Cubs again, I think I will take his word for it.

I guess we will see if the new GM can pull a rabbit out of his hat this off season.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/08/22/...

For all his issues Z is still a legitimate 3-4 starting pitcher. Especially in the NL.

I just don't know how prudent it is to pay a guy to go away, when that guy is still the 3rd best pitcher in your organization?

Hopefully a new, sober, GM will realize this. The current Cubs don't like Zambrano's crazy antics in the clubhouse? Someone should let the current Cubs know they're 22 games out of it with 5 weeks to go. The 2008 Cubs, and maybe the 2004 Cubs can bitch about chemistry. These jokers should be handing $20's out to the fans at the turnstiles.

Couldn't agree more about the chemistry issue, particularly because I believe chemistry (with some exceptions) arises from having winning teams; there are a few players who are overall terrible clubhouse people (Bradley) and a few players who are considered exceptional for the clubhouse no matter what (not sure of a good example, maybe Kruk?), but otherwise the team gels well and chemistry is created IMO when the team is winning (or some other action occurs that closely unites the team, such as an unfair negative fan/press reaction, a tragedy or other event).

Whether to absorb Z's salary and trade him truly comes down to the market for him. If a prospect more than a filler is available, perhaps someone projectable as a decent middle reliever or something else even better, then I want to trade him; we certainly will not offer arbitration, so that is the only way to get value. I would be fine with Jay Jackson/Eric Jokisch/Chris Rusin (or someone else) struggling at the MLB level after that trade. But I wouldn't give him away and receive nothing of value in return.

From the comments section in Bruce Miles Blog:

... There was no trade market for Byrd. He has cleared waivers, but I still don't expect any teams to come after him. ...

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 08:16

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/6195#comments

You mean there was no trade market after the team they rebutted traded for Michael Bourn? Too bad Hendry's bootlicking reporters couldn't be sent packing with him.

almost hate that the game is starting in 40 minutes...i've spent most of today in my sun room with the door open enjoying the breeze/rain and cool temperatures from being on the edge of this storm (200 miles inland in NC). it's moving veeeeeeeeeeery slow. when we usually get these inland hits of tropical storms or hurricanes (every 5-10 years or so) they've usually run their course much quicker than this one.

as slow as it's moving it's pretty lucky to those on the shore this was "only" a Cat1. even a little hurricane is still a very major storm, though.

Even the smallest Hurricane's can rock you. Just ask the Scorpions.

S. Castro ss
N. Perez Lite 2b - 1/3rd the power, 1/3rd the pay, 1/3000000 the internet complaints
A. Ramirez 3b
C. Pena 1b
T. Colvin rf - he lives...and gets a decent lineup spot to show something
M. Byrd cf
A. Soriano lf
G. Soto c
R. Dempster p

Closer to 1/7th the pay for Barney.

you have a way with math and cherry picking years/money regardless of whether it's starting, relieving, bench, or whatever...i could point out multiple posts, but hell, you've already broken out both skills in this thread on another subject.

i suggest sticking to an insult or just walking away as a response. =p

homeboy started 1 full season...got paid 1m bucks...and who got his place the next year...a kid who's even f'n worse...a "might as well play the kid"...a thank you very much ronnie cedeno.

i know what you did there, and i know what you think you know, but you're talking about a guy who in 2003 only started a touch over 1/4 the games in april and didn't even see much action as a starter until injuries rolled in.

the guy only had a starting role in 2002 and he was replaced by an even worse player in 2003.

another "pena shift" bunt...forced an error on the pitcher, pena on 1st leading off

why the hell is m.byrd playing so shallow today?

2nd time he's been playing shallow vs. c.hart and the 2nd time he's hit an xbase hit going over byrd's head.

he's a slugger even if he's a leadoff hitter, quade. c'mon.

unf! byrd with 2 killer catches deep, 2 innings in a row. neat.

Hey AZ Phil,

I know he's not in your area, but I wonder if you have any thoughts on Micah Gibbs? The 3rd round draft pick hasn't shown much offensively so far other than a willingness to walk. Does he look like he has the tools to succeed? Does he look like a guy whose skills have not transferred to pro ball? Thanks, as always.

Submitted by Charlie on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 9:44pm.

Hey AZ Phil,

I know he's not in your area, but I wonder if you have any thoughts on Micah Gibbs? The 3rd round draft pick hasn't shown much offensively so far other than a willingness to walk. Does he look like he has the tools to succeed? Does he look like a guy whose skills have not transferred to pro ball? Thanks, as always

=========================================

CHARLIE: From what I saw of Micah Gibbs at AZ Instructs post-2010 and at Minor League Camp this past March, I would describe him as a good defensive catcher with above-average receiving skills and an average arm, and at the plate he is a patient hitter but with a slow bat (especially RH) and only occasional power (mostly LH).

Because he is smart & solid defensively he would probably project as a protypical MLB back-up catcher, but his bat is defintely a question mark and might keep him at AA & AAA for a while.

Gibbs should be the #1 catcher at Daytona next season, even though defensively he is probably ready for AA. And with Luis Flores serving a 50-game PED suspension that won't be over until May, Gibbs could actually start the 2012 season at Tennessee.

I like Rafael Lopez and Neftali Rosario better than Gibbs, though.

Although he was drafted a year after Gibbs, the left-handed hitting Lopez is a year older, but while Gibbs is a better receiver (Lopez was converted from 3B at Florida State), Lopez has a stronger arm and he can hit (and hit with power).

Rosario is a Welington Castillo clone (below-average receiving skills, slow runner, and too many strikeouts, but with a plus-arm & a dangerous hitter with plus-power).

I think Lopez will likely be the #1 catcher at Peoria in 2012 with an outside possibility that he could jump Peoria and go straight to Daytona (especially if Gibbs starts the 2012 season at Tennessee), and Rosario will probably be the #1 catcher at EXST, with a chance to get to Boise if he can smooth out some of the rough edges by next June.

AZ Phil - That is a perfect description of Gibbs. I have seen Gibbs all year long at Peoria and the first two words I would use to describe him is "slow bat"! The bat speed is noticeably slow and 3/4 of the AB's I've seen were LH. His defense is acceptable, but unless the bat speed improves significantly, I don't see how he could have any success at AA or beyond.

Is there such a thing as improving bat speed?

Contact Victor Conte @ Balco-labs.com

LOL, but did that really improve bat speed? Or just provide some extra thump? I would think it would actually slow bat speed a bit. I know that when I bulked up using free weights (but not any roids so it may be a completely different scenario), my flexibility got so bad my wife was able to talk me into yoga. My overall running speed also declined. But of course I was stronger in other areas.

I'm just wondering if, other than maybe the rare mechanical change in someone's swing, if you can change bat speed at all. Seems like something pre-ordained. You either got it, or you don't. But it's a question -- I've never coached so much as a little league game.

I saw a video with Will Clark several years ago at a "sports lab".

It's not traditional weight training like you or I do at the gym. It's a lot of resistance and elliptical type of exercises. More lean muscle mass and elasticity training.

My uneducated guess is 75/25 between god given ability and hard work to improve bat speed. So with some hard work Gibbs might be able to develop into Koyie Hill 2.0!

Of course you can increase bat speed! Using the same principles that have seen tournament professional golfers increase their average driving distance from 260 yards to 300+

(1)lighten your bat
(2)change your technique
(3)weight training

#'s 1 and 3 are pretty intuitive and straightforward applications of physics.

Technique changes can involve such things as using a hip slide to start your swing rather than your arms, keeping your arms out in front of and in synch with your body and holding your wrist cock until just before striking the ball. All of which will increase your bat speed just as they will increase the speed of the head of a golf club.

Ugh. Sounds like a wasted 3rd round pick from the 2010 draft--to go along with what is so far a pretty terrible first round pick.

Being in NY and working too much (along with some general disgust toward the team), I haven't seen as many games on TV as I normally would. Looking at the stats, it seems Colvin is starting to become more similar to what he was last year, a player who strikes out a ton but a decent power hitter when he does make contact.

For people who have seen him more consistently than me, is this true? Or is he still struggling (and looking terrible) as before but perhaps getting a little luckiler (or less unlucky) than in the first half of 2011.

He looks significantly better than the beginning of the season to me, but not quite back to the Colvin we saw last year. I think part of that may be the pressure of trying to lift that average out of the .140s every day though. If he went 16 for his next 32, his average would only be up to .205.

His peripherals for the year are comparable to what he did last year and in the minors, although they are mostly down a little bit. What's down the most though is his BABIP, which I don't think is only luck in this case. I think he's made really poor contact through most of the year. His HR/FB% is down from last year's awesome 19.4% (not sure anybody thought he would sustain that) to this year's 8.8%, while his IFFB% is up from last year's 8.7% to this year's 14.0%. His line drive rate is also down from 17.0% to 14.1%. Basically what I get from that information is that he has had some timing issues that are not resulting in more Ks (he's actually K'd a smaller percentage of the time) or significantly fewer walks, but that are resulting in more popups and fewer hard-hit balls in the air. That is what he seems to have turned around a bit of late. I don't see him pounding the ball into the ground or popping it straight up quite as much.

That said, his batting average for August is only .212, and his BABIP remains a low .229. His 3 HRs on the month are the only things keeping his OPS somewhat respectable at .712.

X
  • Sign in with Twitter