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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2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.