TCR Friday Notes
- The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.
- Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.
More after the jump...
When ex-hitters become managers, some, like Lou Piniella of Seattle,
never develop an understanding for pitchers. Piniella has been able to
channel the manic competitiveness of his playing days into the dugout,
barking at umpires, screaming at his coaches, demanding accountability
for mistakes and sometimes just plain bullying his players. Hitters
like Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez have responded to his
intensity. Pitchers have not. Piniella ''is the manager who hates
pitchers,'' says Jeff Nelson, a Yankees reliever who used to pitch for
Seattle. ''It's not hard to understand why that is.''
was a great hitter for 18 seasons; his professional responsibility was
to loathe pitchers. How could he just shut that off?
doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers.
He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying:
'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was
supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' ''
To quote Jim Kaat from Sunday night's BBWAA dinner, about his old
Yankees teammate Lou Piniella: "I've always been amazed that a guy
could be such a successful manager even though he hates pitchers."
- A look at the potential mechanical flaws with Rich Hill. I have some issues with the article since it appears to be relying on stock photos from different time periods with no true reference point. For all we know, those could be at different points in his motion and nothing has changed. For the right way to do a pitching mechanics comparision, check out a Carlos Gomez or Chris O'Leary post (NSFMPH - Not Suited for Mark Prior Haters).
Also, the article points to a re-teaming with O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz, although Hill has often given more of the credit to Alan Dunn. Of course, Dunn is the bullpen coach for the Orioles, so same difference.
- Wild-ass speculation on my part, but let me weigh in on this Blanco vs. Bako debate that seems to be raging. When the first reports of Bako signing came out I recall a throwaway line about the Cubs wanting someone who would be comfortable with not playing much. Then last week there was another throwaway line from a radio report that the Cubs weren't too pleased with Blanco last year. This leads me to the conclusion that Blanco did a bit of behind the scenes sulking about not getting into more games and probably why they chose to go another route. And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.
- To follow up recent top 50 announcers of all-time lists, Yahoo Sports does the bottom 50. I respectfully disagree on #13(Gus Johnson) and #29(Dick Enberg). If you don't like Gus Johnson, you watch sports for all the wrong reasons.
- The Heckler pokes fun at the Bleacher Stalkers.
- Wrigleyville23 and Out of Right Field have taken up our MVN spot after The View from the Bleachers left. Hope it goes better for you guys. (Bites lip...checks calendar to see when non-disclosure agreement expires).
Enjoy the weekend!
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.