Cubs "Hits" Of The Week (For the Week of 4/21 through 4/27)
Quotation marks make their first appearance in the Hits of the Week headline since this week's list includes two walks.
So here they are, the five hits...er, that is, offensive events...that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):
#5 Big Hit: Tuesday, v. the Mets, 4th inning-- With the bases loaded and two out and the Cubs already leading 1-0, Reed Johnson drives a single to left field, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco, and the Cubs' margin is three, which, on a day when the Mets can't seem to get an important hit, is more than margin enough. WPA .151
#4 Big Hit: Thursday, v. Colorado, 8th inning-- The Cubs are down a run to Aaron Cook with two men aboard and nobody out, when pinch-hitter Daryle Ward works Cook for a walk to load the bases. (The promising inning will only produce one run and a tie, which the Rox will break in the last of the 8th). WPA .155
#3 Big Hit: Friday, v.Washington, 8th inning -- In the Cubs' first game at new Nationals Park, Matt Murton, suffering from that uncomfortable allergy to base hits, is sent in to bat with the bases loaded, one out, and the Cubs down a run. Murton takes a walk and ties the game...which Washington catcher Wil Nieves will eventually untie with his game-winning home run one inning later. WPA .196
#2 Big Hit: Wednesday, v. Colorado, 10th inning -- This, boys and girls, is what is meant by clutch. After Kerry Wood failed to protect a one-run lead in the last of the ninth inning, and after Reed Johnson failed to bring in the lead runner from second with one out in the top of the tenth, Theriot punches a run-scoring single to right field, scoring Mike Fontenot and giving the Cubs a second one-run lead, a lead which Carlos Marmol does not fail to protect. WPA .351
#1 Big Hit: Wednesay, v. Colorado, 9th inning -- Wednesday's ninth and tenth innings were a swell couple of frames for Win Probabilty Added. Kerry Wood wouldn't have had a one-run lead to not protect and Ryan Theriot wouldn't have had a chance to plate the game-winning run were it not for the fact that in the top of the ninth, with the Cubs trailing 5-4, Aramis Ramirez lofted a two-run homer into the left field stands at Coors Field, scoring Felix Pie, giving the Cubs a brief 6-5 advantage, and knocking the Rockies' Manny Corpas right out of the Colorado closer's job. (This is what is meant by really clutch.) WPA .640
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Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
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!!!!!!