Since the Cubs are snowed out, what say we congregate in Parachat and discuss the game airing on ESPN 2? Seattle's much-hyped pitching phenom Felix Hernandez faces the Red Sox, tonight. His counterpart on the Sox seems to be garnering a fair bit of attention, too. - update - King Felix has an Interesting Statistical Event going, through 7 IP.  come join us.
That'll be the question we hope to be asking a lot over this season as this Cubs offense was certainly built with an eye toward the long ball. And as we fret over the early season power outage - four measly homers in eight games - I think we all know the chances of this team hitting 81 homers over a 162 game season are right around the odds that Mark Derosa hits forty homers this year (his current pace). I thought it would be fun to take a look at just how many home runs we could expect from this club. The prediction game is certainly not a perfect process but we can make some reasonable assumptions. For this exercise, I took the expected regulars and looked at their career best and career worst seasons, their Hardball Times projections and their three year averages when applicable. For career worst seasons, I just did a reasonable cutoff for the career worst in terms of games played. For example, Derrek Lee's worst season for homers would be his one homer in 22 games in 1997, but it's better to use the 17 homers he hit in 1998 when he played 141 games. But even in that case, as is with most of the career worst seasons they occurred early in these players careers and generally not indicative of their current capabilities. I also skipped over Derrek's 2006 season for the three-year averages, I just don't see how a 50 game season for a player who's played 155 or more games the previous six seasons is relevant. Everything else should be pretty self-explanatory, for Murton's three-year averages I just used the last two years naturally.
Reader Rynox posted this in the comments and it gave me quite the chuckle, thought everyone should be able to enjoy it. I've also included some add-ons by other readers. (Rob G.) -------- In today’s edition of Panicky Cub Fans v. The Chicago Cub’s the prosecution calls their main witness, Small Sample Size, to testify.
I'm gazing out my office window in downtown Chicago right now, and it's snowing like a bastard. Today's game has been canceled...which is the most positive news to come out of Wrigley Field this week. Make-up date is 7/12.
Game Chat Chris Sampson vs. Jason Marquis (No pictures until we find out our what our little Internet Explorer problem is...) Lineups:
Biggio 2B Soriano CF
Ensberg 3B Jones RF
Berkman 1B Lee 1B
Lee LF Ramirez 3B
Scott RF Floyd LF
Burke CF Barrett C
Everett SS Derosa 2B
Ausmus C Izturis SS
Sampson P Marquis P
Game Chat
   
W. Williams T. Lilly
Lineups:
Biggio 2B Soriano CF
Burke CF Jones RF
Berkman 1B Lee 1B
Lee LF Ramirez 3B
Ensberg 3B Floyd LF
Lane RF Barrett C
Everett SS Derosa 2B
Quintero C Izturis SS
Williams P Lilly P
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W. Miller C. Capuano
Lineups:
Soriano CF Weeks 2B
Theriot RF Counsell 3B
Lee 1b Hardy SS
Ramirez 3b Fielder 1B
Derosa 2B Jenkins LF
Barrett C Gross RF
Murton LF Miller C
Cedeno SS Gwynn CF
Miller P Capuano P
A buck short and a day late....the story of my life. - A hat tip to reader Jacos for this link, but check out the Michael Barrett Blues over at Bricks and Ivy Radio. It's number four on their playlist to the right. - Aramis Ramirez is pegged as a breakout candidate this year due in part to his exceptional spring training numbers. The theory set forth by STATS, Inc. co-founder John Dewan is that a hitter with a slugging percentage 200 pts greater in the spring over his career numbers often has a better than normal regular season. We can only hope. - Check out the new MLB roundtable here at MVN. Me or one of the TCR writers will be making appearances about every three weeks and this week it was more useless predictions by yours truly. - Our minor league site, Road to Wrigley, has a new writer Mike Wellman who will be providing eyewitness accounts from Principle Park in Iowa. You'll see him in the comments here once in awhile and I'm sure some of his writing will find its way on the front page on occasion. - And congrats to brand new papa, TCR founder Christian Ruzich. - We're going to make our quota for the ad-free version of Parachat plus a bit extra, so thanks to everyone who donated. I'll announce the final tally next week.
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C. Zambrano B. Sheets
Lineups:
Soriano CF Weeks 2B
Izturis SS Hardy SS
Lee 1b Fielder 1B
Ramirez 3b Hall CF
Jones RF Estrada C
Murton LF Jenkins LF
Derosa 2b Hart RF
Blanco C Counsell 3B
Zambrano P Sheets P
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R. Hill D. Bush
Lineups:
Soriano CF Weeks 2B
Jones RF Hardy SS
Lee 1b Fielder 1B
Ramirez 3b Hall CF
Floyd LF Estrada C
Barrett C Mench LF
Derosa 2b Hart RF
Izturis SS Graffanino 3B
Hill P Bush P
Thanks to Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, the Cubs have gotten two great starts in three games. How great was it for those guys? According to Bill James’ formula for starting pitchers’ Game Scores, Lilly’s Cub debut on Wednesday—7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9 K and just 1 BB--earned a score of 75. In Ted Lilly’s world, that’s not just good, it’s not just very good, it’s three-years-and-63-starts good. Yes, it was all the way back in 2004, August 23rd to be exact, when Lilly threw a three-hit complete game shutout at the Red Sox, that the lefty last tallied a Game Score as high as, or higher than, Wednesday night’s. As for Marquis, his effort on Thursday—6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 K and 2 BB—amounted to a Game Score of 62. Nice, but hardly a number for the ages. Still, it was better than the righthander did in any of his last 12 starts with the Cards in ’06, when Marquis had the lowest average Game Score in the National League (42.79) and had the league's two lowest single-game scores, including a harrowing -11 against the White Sox in June. Another thing that struck me going through his career numbers was how frequently Marquis throws low-strikeout, low-walk games like Thursday’s. Ten times last year, he pitched six or more innings while striking out four or fewer hitters and walking two or fewer. He pulled off the trick ten times in ’05. As others have pointed out, Marquis doesn’t miss many bats. So he’s going to have to keep the ball on the ground and get lots of help from his defense if we’re going to see many starts like Thursday’s. (In case you're wondering, the highest Game Score recorded last season in the National League was a 92 by our very own Rich Hill against the Reds in September: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 10 K, 1 BB.)
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J. Marquis K. Lohse
Lineups:
Soriano CF Freel CF
Murton LF Dunn LF
Lee 1b Phillips 2b
Ramirez 3b Griffey Jr. RF
Jones RF Encarnacion 3b
Barrett C Hatteberg 1B
Derosa 2b Gonzalez SS
Izturis SS Valentin C
Marquis P Lohse P

The First of our 97 Wins

Game Center Box Score Play-by-Play Box Score Game Chart Photos W - Lilly 1-0 L - Arroyo 0-1 S - Dempster 1 Not much to report here. If you missed the game, Lilly looked every bit as dominant as his box score suggests. 7 IP, 1 run, 1 BB and 9 K. To my untrained eye, he seemed to be throwing both a hard and a slow curve, each one with excellent control, while mixing in a fastball, also with terrific command. He started to labor a bit in the seventh, but even the obnoxious-even-by-MLB-Broadcaster-standards Reds' announcers had to credit Lilly with a masterful performance. Dempster looked shakey in the 9th. After walking Encarnacion with one out and going ball one on Griffey, we had our first Lou Piniella Moment of the season. LouPa stormed out of the dugout, barked about five words at Dempster, and stormed back to the dugout. As best as I could tell, the remarks ammounted to (translating, since we're a family-friendly blog) "Gentle fireman, if I might be so humble as to suggest, would you please consider directing the baseball over home plate, with your next toss? Thank you, kindly." Ryan then threw the next pitch (another ball) before Lou had made it back into the dugout, before settling down (somewhat) for the save. Offensively, the middle-infielders provided the pick-me-up, with run-scoring singles by Izturis and DeRosa. With the Cards dropping their third straight to the Mets, the Good Guys are already one and a half games up on the pre-season favorites. Life is good. Reminder- early game time tomorrow, 11:35 AM Central
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T. Lilly B. Arroyo
Lineups:
Soriano CF Freel CF
Jones RF Phillips 2b
Lee 1b Dunn LF
Ramirez 3b Encarnacion 3b
Floyd LF Griffey Jr. RF
Barrett C Conine 1b
Derosa 2b Gonzalez SS
Izturis SS Ross C
Lilly P Arroyo P
A couple months back, I put together as many of the Cubs prospect lists as I can find. But those all focused on how the Cubs ranked amongst each other. Now it's time to see how the Cubs prospects rank in the grand scheme of baseball heading into 2007. We have a variety of sources here and their methods of evaluating are all a bit different. Most of the sites I imagine everyone is familiar with and for those you haven't heard of, feel free to read up on them. Some of the links will get you to the entire list, many of them will only get you to a portion of the list and some navigating is necessary to access the full lineup. The current Scout.com 300 list is only available in their prospect magazine.

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