Cubs Drop 8 More from Spring Roster

Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Christian Villanueva, Arodys Vizcaino, Zack Rossup, Mitch Maier, Armando Rivero and Rafael Lopez are optioned or reassigned...and there were 45 (I think).


Castillo, Kottaras, Rizzo, Castro, Barney, Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Lake, Sweeney

Samardzija, Wood, E. Jackson, Hammel

Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Carlos Villanueva


Fukijawa, Arrieta, J. McDonald (NRI)


Valbuena, Murphy, Olt, Roberts(NRI), Bonifacio(NRI), Kalish (NRI), C. Rusin, A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon, Parker, J. Sanchez (NRI), Ramirez


Baez (NRI), J. Baker (NRI), E. Whiteside (NRI), D. McDonald(NRI),  Wells(NRI), Coughlan(NRI), Hottovy (NRI), Yong-Lim (NRI), Schlitter (NRI), Wada (NRI), Valaika (NRI)


Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Szczur, Watkins, Valdez(NRI), Pimentel(NRI), Jokisch(NRI), A. Cunningham, M. Hatley (NRI), Beeler, Hendricks(NRI), Rosscup, J. Vitters, B. Jackson, Christian Villanueva, A. Vizcaino, A. Rivero(NRI), M. Maier(NRI), R. Lopez(NRI)

Castro may end up on the disabled list when it's all said and done and I might be jumping the gun on McDonald as he said it's just shoulder tendinitis, but seems that it's going towards Chris Rusin getting that 5th starter spot out of camp while they await Arrieta to get healthy and ready. That'll keep Villanueva in the pen and 2 spots left for Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon, Parker, Sanchez or Ramirez.


h/t to Bleacher Nation for the find...

Cray CEO Pete Ungaro recently told The Economist that an unnamed MLB team purchased a Cray supercomputer with the intention of being able to analyze large volumes of information in a very short amount of time.


[The team as] one that "exemplifies an organization that, five years ago, most people would not have dreamed would need, or even want, a supercomputer."

and Tom Tango weighs in on it (he happens to work for the Cubs, so either he's playing dumb, doesn't know about it or the Cubs aren't the team).

i'm more interested in the software behind it rather than the machine crunching the numbers.

creating a custom solution software for a single organization would probably cost nearly as much as the machine, itself. there are metadata-defined data mining solutions that are already somewhat "out of box" able to do this (my former career) once you tell the modules what metadata is being pointed to...but i wonder if they're using an already made data mining solution or creating a custom piece of software.

Couple years ago I was at a Cubs Convention listening to Oneri Fieita tell an entertaining story about how in the Dominican, the Cubs used to have goats "mow" the grass.
Tied up at a small stake, they'd eat the weeds in a circle, then someone would move the stake again and again til the field was mowed.
And that was funny.
It really was.
But it's astonishing what used to be funny.

NCSU owned a piece of "junk land" for decades that they decided to turn into a golf course (a big piece of junk land).

it was overgrown with decades of grass, weeds, and kudzu. they used goats to clear most of it...and heavy equipment to remove the kudzu base roots (they get massive). the goats were put in temporary pens and moved space-to-space until it was clear enough to be machine cleared/graded/etc.

goats are pretty good at land clearing.

They're using goats out at O'Hare these days. Well, summertime.

I think this is an awesome idea and custom software isn't needed for crunching data. We're in the big data era now, and decisions are driven by analysis. Software packages already exist for this- stata, sas... there's a long list of them and in the hands of a skilled analyst, and given enough data, these systems can help make good decisions.

And it would be a mistake to assume a system like this would contribute only to baseball decisions- you could determine the best nights to offer a bobblehead, or which concessions should be added and for how much, or what team colors are most appealing to fans. Human behavior is now being measured, predicted, and manipulated at the micro-level.

The only problem with systems like this is the so-called black swans- those game-changers that we can't predict or see coming: PEDs, some data-defying superstar, _________ fill in the blank- the point is we don't know the next game-changer.

That said, I think the Cubs ought to get on this bandwagon (if they aren't already). As e.e.cummings wrote- "while Gadgets murder squawk and add, the cult of Same is all the chic" ;)

Recent comments

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  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.