The Cubs 2008 MVP
Be sure to vote on the poll below...
Now that the Dodgers have been rightfully ousted and played like the team I expected them to play like (bad defense, no one hitting besides Manny, overrated starting pitching), I can go about acknowledging baseball again. I know, sounds like a bunch of sour grapes and I don't really care. The Dodgers weren't a good team, the Cubs just beat themselves and I have always had a healthy distaste for the Dodgers and their fans.
Before I start looking forward to 2009 later in the week, let's take a look at 2008 and revisit the Cubs MVP talk. Bold indicates team leader...
||League OPS @ Position
||.857||746 for 2b/788 for RF||21||87||103|
There is a write-in option in the poll as well, so you may want to also consider the following. Soriano led the team in HR's with 29 and Theriot lead the team in batting average (.309) and OBP (.387).
I imagine they'll be some sentiment for the Jim Edmonds/Reed Johnson
platoon. Combined they were good for a 6.5 WARP-1, 22 HR's, 85 RBI's
and 86 Runs scored and a rough back-of-the-envolepe batting line of
A reliever, no matter how dominating, isn't likely to get much love in any cumulative stat, but they are counted on when it supposedly matters most. Reader "Real Neal" did the legwork for me (although I swear I was going to mention it), but here are the WPA numbers for some of the Cubs.
Dempster 2.37 (-1.17 due to batting)
I usually don't get too caught up in who meant more to the team or who defied expectations when it comes to my MVP vote. To me, it's pretty much a rough formula of 95% whomever had the best season statiscally and 5% for everything else. On that note, I don't like to put all my stock in one number like WARP-1, but a range of stats that cover offense and defense. Right off the bat, I'm going to knock Marmol and Ramirez out of the race. When you're only contributing 6% of a team's innings, I don't think you can afford to slip much and Marmol had that brutal stretch in late June/early July. It was a small hiccup in his season in retrospect, but he wasn't nearly overwhelming enough after that for me to truly consider him. Ramirez had another solid season with the bat, arguably one of his best as a Cub, but the 22 runs he saved with his glove last year looks to be the anomaly, as he gave back three this season. A matter of fact, he's put up negative fielding numbers at third base every year of his career except last season.
That leaves DeRosa, Soto and Dempster and I'm pretty tempted to wuss out here and call it a three way tie. I think statistically there's solid arguments for each, so that means it's time to argue everyone' favorite topic, intangibles. Soto seems to be maturing into the field general quite nicely as the pitching staff seemed to have nothing but good things to say about him. DeRosa' s defensive flexibility helped the Cubs overcome injuries and ineffectiveness. Dempster's remarkable consistency helped lead one of the better pitching staffs in the league.
In the end I gave my vote to Geovany Soto. I think it's harder to find a catcher who can hit and not be a disaster behind the plate (paging Michael Barrett) than it would be to find replacements for what Dempster and DeRosa did last year.
And he has the most important intangible...great hair.
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
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.
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.