TCR Friday Notes
...returns after a one week break.
- There was a brief discussion in the comments about who should be the Cubs All-Stars. I think the deserving candidates are Carlos Zambrano (leads NL pitchers in VORP), Carlos Marmol (leads NL relievers in WPA), Geovany Soto (leads NL catchers in VORP) and Aramis Ramirez as a backup at third base to Chipper Jones. Ramirez is just a few notches behind Garrett Atkins in VORP for the backup spot, but he has a slight edge in home runs, RBI's and huge lead in OBP...and the Rockie kind of suck right now.
On the outside looking in, are Kosuke Fukudome(12th among all NL outfielders), Ryan Dempster (12th in VORP) and Derrek Lee (4th in VORP). And don't be surprised if Soriano gets himself back into the mix before too long.
- I noticed today that you can view Iowa Cubs highlights from their home page. Neat.
- Speaking of our minor leaguers, Alex Eisenberg has done some writing for The Hardball Times and runs his own website, Baseball-Intellect. He recently ran a nice analysis of Tyler Colvin that includes a nifty little breakdown of his swing.
- The June amatuer draft is fast approaching and the Cubs have the 19th pick in the first round. Details of whom the Cubs might be pursuing have been sparse so far, but Baseball America posted their first mock draft today.
Chicago is the first team that has been linked to Cole, though it's
always possible that another club is lying in the weeds. The Cubs have
no pressing needs and scouting director Tim Wilken loves athletes, so
they could take a long-term project like Hewitt. Wilken's Gulf Coast
ties also could lead him to Kelly, who shows equal promise as a pitcher
and a shortstop.
Projected Pick: CASEY KELLY.
Cole is California prep righthander Gerrit Cole, Hewitt is Connecticut high school outfielder/shortstop Anthony Hewitt, and Casey Kelly is Florida high school righthander/shortstop/quarterback Casey Kelly. If this story is true, Kelly has actually committed to quarterback for the Tennesse Volunteers, so it's going to take a big bonus to talk him out of that. Good that we have practice in that (See Samardzija, Jeff).Similarly, Cole was named the top high school prospect by one website, but has a verbal committment to UCLA. I haven't found much on Hewitt, except this page which just has a picture and some combine-like numbers.
- The 2008 run differential leaderboard:
- A couple shout-outs to some Cubs sites. There's The Cubs Brickyard and Cubbie Nation. Cubbie Nation is a new addition to the Cubs Blog Army and The Cubs Brickyard was the former Bricks and Ivy Radio. Stop by and say hello.
- You may have noticed some new advertising on the site. Some of that is just ad rotations, but we do like to give a mention to those that directly advertise with us. Seatrocket.com, as the owner described it, is a more "organized craigslist". You'll see some other ticket service ads in the ad services we use, but seatrocket.com is a free service. And the last time I checked over there, I saw some tickets being offered at face value, which is always a good thing.
- We are undergoing just a few minor site tweaks, which have included so far, reducing the header on the top of the page so you can see more content when you first load the page. It's subtle, but helps a bit. We added that top banner ad on the upper right and fixed the headline size for those that use Internet Explorer 7. A few more should be done by next week.
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.