NL Central Smackdown: Shortstops
We march on around the diamond. Today it's the double play partner of yesterday's vote. The Cubs so far have the 2nd best first basemen and second basemen in the division. Can Ryan Theriot keep the streak going? Answer - no!
Your scrap-tastic contenders after the jump....
UPDATE: Thanks to you wonderful readers, it was brought to my attention to check Tejada's projections since he revealed his true age. His WARP-3 three year projection is updated in the chart and went down from 4.13 to 3.2. I'd still rate him first though even though he now drops behind Hardy and Wilson in the WARP-3 projections.
|Player||3-Year Warp-3 Average
||3 Year Warp-3 Projection
|Ryan Theriot||2.6 (2 years)||2.47||5|
|Jeff Keppinger||1.9 (2 years)||4||3|
The Justification: This one gets a bit difficult as the Reds muck up my little chart. They're going to do that a few times in this series. Alex Gonzalez is signed through 2009 with about $11 million owed to him between this year and next, plus a 2010 mutual option for $6 million. He also has a fractured left knee and a player currently playing in his place who is probably better than him. I'd dismiss Gonzalez altogether if it wasn't for the fact that he's got a contract to justify and has Dusty Baker as his manager. So what to do? Well I included them both in the chart above and if it was just Keppinger, I'd easily rank him third ahead of Jack Wilson and possibly second ahead of JJ Hardy.If it was just Gonzalez, I'd push him behind Jack Wilson for fourth (who's brilliant glovework makes up a lot for his deficient bat). Overall though, I'm guessing they share the playing time and I think the composite of the two is a just a bit better than Wilson for the three spot.
As for the rest of the rankings, Tejada still gets the nod as the top spot. He probably won't stay at shortstop for much longer or with the Astros, but stanozolol rises to the top with this weak competition. Hardy's twenty-plus homer potential and 26 years of age give him the two spot in my rankings. You can flip the three/four spots between Wilson and the Reds shortstops however you wish. I don't expect Ryan Theriot to last the season as the Cubs shortstop, either because of a trade or Ronny Cedeno taking over the job. He's only saved by the presence of Cesar's ghost in the division from being a bottom, which seems like a place Cesar is very comfortable occupying.
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The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
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.