Friday, Santo Day, Sunday...

Today is Santo Day. He would have been 72. Camp is open; so are the ticket windows, so I’m in the mood for some baseball flotsam. I thought I’d share a choice Santo anecdote that I discovered over the winter. Surely some of you know it.

For Christmas one of my sons gave me one of those “Baseball Voices” CD’s that Pat Hughes is always hawking. It’s the Santo edition. Have you heard the one about his pregame “interview” with Antonio Alfonseca?

Santo must have thought ol’ Tony Twelve was a descendant of Lew Fonseca, a good outfielder back in the depression era, because he addressed him as though his name was Al Fonseca, “the fine stopper for the Chicago Cubs.”

“Al,” he probes, “how do you feel about the trade that brought you over here to Chicago?”

Al responds with a stream of unintelligible pigeon English. Santo, as though maybe he’s just noticed that his guest has six fingers on each hand and is afraid he won’t be able to keep from asking if the extra one on his pitching hand makes Al twice as good as Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown, pulls the mic back and says, “Well, it’s good to have you with the club. Keep up the good work, Big Boy.”

And that’s it. As Hughes points out in the narration, a segment that typically ran five or so minutes was over and done in less than one.

A written account is a poor substitute for the real thing. I’m glad I have it at my disposal as a go-to laugher. I suspect I may have to cue it up more often than I’d like in the season to come as a fallback.

After listening to Ron and Al’s lively conversation one more time this morning while I had my bowl of shredded wheat I braced myself and intrepidly entered the virtual waiting room of the Minnesota Twins. Their single game tickets went on sale today. Normally there is a limit of 24 per game. For the Cub series in June the per game max was pegged at four. Within a reasonable amount of time I shouldered my way through the virtual throng to the window and was able to come away with three decent seats for the matinee on Sunday, June 10, close enough to Father’s Day that I expect I can guilt both sons into tagging along.

I wonder what the Cubs’ record will be by then. I don’t care.

Happy birthday, Big Boy. Good to have you with the club...

Comments

Heard at an AA meeting, and I kid you not (a friend told me, I can still drink a beer or two without my Alzheimer's kicking in too severely): "I can beat this (alcohol) by myself? Well, I'm Blake DeWitt, and I'm the the third basemen for your Chicago Cubs." Apparently the guy that said that got blank stares. I wasn't there (honest).

And ya, we loved Ronnie, even for all his faults. I hope he looks down soon, and smiles, and says, "thank god I don't have to say 'Oh, no', so often.

July 22nd, Cooperstown. Seeya there!

No one who paid the least attention to Tony Campana attempting to bunt last year should be surprised by this result...

Twitter//
Carrie Muskat ‏ @CarrieMuskat
Clevenger posts biggest upset, ousting Tony Campana. #Cubs

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Some reaction==

Doug Padilla ‏ @ESPNChiCubs Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
Clevenger downs Campana, who is getting crushed by his teammates for saying he was the favorite.

Carrie Muskat ‏ @CarrieMuskat Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
#Cubs Clevenger on beating Campana: "It separates the good bunters from the fast guys who think they can bunt"

SAD but troo

LOL @ Clev

But, it's also, awesome. I already like the way the new bald head thinks.

i mis-read "clevenger downs campana" as "clevenger clowns campana". perhaps that's two ways of saying the same thing...what does the current management group see in campana that could be listed as "asset"?

"what does the current management group see in campana that could be listed as 'asset'?"

He's Nyjer Morgan without the abrasive personality. Michael Bourn without the (very) occasional home run.

Both Morgan and Bourn were coveted by playoff-chasing teams last season. How do you account for that, in terms of assets?

Interesting thing about Morgan and Bourn is that their major-league slash lines track pretty well with their minor-league lines:

Morgan, minors: .293/.370/.364 (/.734)
Morgan, majors: .288/.347/.374 (/.721)

Bourn, minors: .284/.378/.392 (/.770)
Bourn, majors: .271/.336/.352 (/.694)

Campana, minors: .303/.359/.353 (/.712)

That was Billy Beane, not Theo Epstein, in the movie telling his fastest guy to stop stealing bases. Epstein and Sveum like speed--you know that, right? Sveum just painted the inside corner of all the bases blue, to indicate that this is not a stopping point. In previous springs, I think the Cubs painted the outline of both feet on all the bases.

How do you summarize an 80 pt drop in Ops and 40pt drop in Obp as tracking pretty well?

Well, what is typical? If the typical drop is 100-150 points then Bourn is tracking pretty well and Morgan is tracking extremely well. If the typical drop is 40-80 points then both are average. If the typical player does not drop much at all from the minors to major, then both are tracking poorly.

I don't know the answer, just noting that without some sort of "normal" or "average" no one knows the answer.

I took "tracking pretty well" as just a minor drop off, nothing related to what is normal. I'm not sure what that answer is. A lot depends on how they get the numbers and what type of player they are, although I would say contact hitters with speed probably are more likely to have less a drop-off than strikeout prone power hitters, but that's an assumption. Regardless, a 40-50 pt drop in Campana's OPS would make him go from barely tolerable to awful at the major league level.

on another note, just because they're fast, doesn't make them good comps. Bourn is a regular because of his defense including a very good arm. I'm not sure Bourn was coveted as much as the guy they went after because they couldn't get Byrd. Morgan has never really been a regular, more a decent platoon player. I don't know much about his arm.

I think most folks in baseball don't think Campana can manage enough singles against a major league defense to hit well enough and he has a pop gun arm. I think what we saw in just 155 PA's is actually a pretty good representation of what to expect from him. He's a good defensive replacement if you have a Soriano on the team and great guy around to steal a base. If he could learn to bunt better, he'd be a good guy maybe to get in there when the wind is howling in, but he really has no business being a regular unless the BABIP gods are being kind to him.

Morgan minors: 15% K, 7.4% BB
Bourne: 18.7% K, 12.5% BB
Campana: 15.5%, 7.5% BB

so he tracks decently with Morgan, albeit 4 inches shorter allegedly and I get about 20 pts less of iso slugging in his minor league numbers.

Well Campana's career minor league OPS is .712, so a 40 point drop would put him at 670ish, which is about what guys like Tom Goodwin and Tony Womack - two other guys who stole bases at a career 75-80% rate. So that wouldn't be bad at all.

If he had a 660-670 OPS, then he'd be a nice guy to have on the bench. Someone who is pretty much guaranteed to steal a base 8 out of every 10 times he tries. He was 24/26 in SBs last year in the majors and his career minor league rate is about 78%. So this seems pretty certain. And he can fill in adequately in LF or CF, but is not great and has no arm.

But 670 seems unlikely. His OPS last year was 603. With more experience with big league pitching and maturity, might he push his BA from .259 to .275 or .280? Maybe. But even with an OPS of say .625 he would be 50 points below those other types of speed players and right at the cusp of being a liability on the active roster.

Still, in September in a pennant chase, he'd be nice to have on the bench.

I'd rather have Clevenger. At least he can bunt.

OPS is useless for speed guys who only hit singles, imo. a couple dozen points coming from slugging can paint a false picture of talent, especially if he can use his legs and breaks on D to find some triples.

campy has a decent amount of SB, but it's important to discount or at least weigh how many times someone else earned the hit and he got sub'd in to run.

imo, we got a sam fuld-type speed upgrade and little else in campy. he's doesn't seem to have the bat control of a ben revere or a juan pierre.

either way, he's a hell of a luxury/tool to have on the bench even if he never sees regular starting time. he's got rare speed and can decently cover CF/LF.

Then use wOBA, either way he'll turn up as a not very good offensive player.

The code on speed has been cracked long ago, please stop revisiting it everyone. We know exactly what it's worth on offense.

HAIL CAESAR!

MY APOLOGIZES, SIRE!

I BRING YOU FRESH OLIVE OILS AND FINE FURS AS I REQUEST FORGIVENESS FROM THE EMPIRE!

and the "code" on speed hasn't been cracked...yeesh. also, people misuse wOBA like a champ and the recent misuse of accounting for SB value using weighted slugging is ass.

effective outcome is taken for granted...not caring how an outcome occurs is taken for granted. when you're projecting someone you can't count on a guy's legs being 100% healthy snagging a bunch of triples as much as you can a slightly hobbled power hitter still being able to smack a decent amount of homers and doubles. the speed skill set is fragile and guys who use it can fall off a cliff really fast without some other supporting skills in their batting approach.

and the "code" on speed hasn't been cracked...yeesh. also, people misuse wOBA like a champ and the recent misuse of accounting for SB value using weighted slugging is ass.

Brought to you by crunch James, Hall of Fame baseball analyst

effective outcome is taken for granted...not caring how an outcome occurs is taken for granted. when you're projecting someone you can't count on a guy's legs being 100% healthy snagging a bunch of triples as much as you can a slightly hobbled power hitter still being able to smack a decent amount of homers and doubles. the speed skill set is fragile and guys who use it can fall off a cliff really fast without some other supporting skills in their batting approach.

Like I said, the code's been cracked for about 25 years.

okay.

your mom wears combat boots, btw.

I don't think the code has been cracked, Rob, otherwise one of the prospect rankings you've been publishing the last few years would have listed Campana as a prospect. (Please don't tell me again that prospect gurus are looking for something better than mere major leaguers.)

Last year, Campana was Hendry's boy, but now a new state-of-the-art front office has come in and Campana's status has changed not at all. Possibly it has improved, since Sveum has talked about using him at leadoff, which implies a not infrequent starting role.

I don't think the code has been cracked, Rob, otherwise one of the prospect rankings you've been publishing the last few years would have listed Campana as a prospect.

I have no idea what you're trying to say there.

Campana's fast, he can occasionally hit a single, obviously has good range because he's fast, doesn't have much an arm. The ceiling is 5th outfielder, that's not gonna get a lot love in the league or prospect rankings and justifiably so.

"The ceiling is 5th outfielder"

Yet he has the same toolset and minor-league slash line as Nyjer Morgan, who has started an average of 111 games the last three seasons--not the profile of a 5th outfielder. Campana played a short season the year he was drafted, then two full seasons, mostly at Daytona his first full pro season then at Tennessee his second season. In his third full season, he hit .342 at Iowa in 30 games before being called up in mid-May. So he has had 312 games in the minors to Morgan's 517.

It would be hard to find a Cub position prospect with fewer games in the minors before being called up, although obviously Castro wins that argument, 264 to 312. Corey Patterson looks like he had 319 games before being called up at age 21.

But Campana stinks, you're right, you've had him pegged all along.

happily admit I'm wrong if/when Campana becomes a decent regular for a season or two.

As I mentioned, I don't know much about Morgan's defense, but usually speed=range and his defensive numbers seem to show that. I can't say anything educated about his arm.

I wouldn't call a 5th outfielder someone that stinks, better than most prospects. Probably undersold Campana a bit.

and it would be quite an accomplishment for Campana if he has a career to match the illustrious Nyjer Morgan but I'm certainly not counting on it.

Morgan's certainly a decent comp for Campana, but let's not write Campana's future in stone because his minor league numbers match up favorably.

Oh, I have no problem with him as a bench guy. I guess I should have clarified that. He's a perfect 25th guy especially as long as Soriano is on the team.

I gathered from VA Phil's post and previous one, he think he should be doing more.

I think that Seppalt is going to be the 4th outfielder and defensive replacement for Soriano. If Campana is going to make the team, he is likely to have to beat out Reed Johnson.

I don't think Epstein & Hoyer stop making moves when ST begins. There's a lot of duplication among Byrd, Sappelt and Johnson, and I sure don't consider Soriano a fixture on this roster.

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  • 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 1 hour 59 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 2 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 2 hours 20 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 2 hours 26 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 2 hours 44 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 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 3 hours 38 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 3 hours 40 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 3 hours 58 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 4 hours 5 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 5 hours 56 sec ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 5 hours 18 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 5 hours 23 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 6 hours 33 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 7 hours 12 min ago view
  • Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)

    Transmission 7 hours 12 min ago view