February 2008

Submit, Reader! A look at Cubs Pitcher Comparisons

Part of what makes TCR great is the knowledgeable and active participation of the readers. I mean, it's a very SMALL part, of course, but still a part. Keep sending stuff in, and we'll keep reading it. And maybe, just maybe, posting it. - Trans

YOUR 2007 AVERAGE BATTING PARTNERS (ABPs)
By Lawhide

Being bored recently, I decided to work on some statistical tomfoolery: I decided to find out who was the ABP for each Cubs pitcher in the majors. What’s an ABP? I took the OBP- and SLG-against for each pitcher and tried to find the most comparable 2007 MLB hitter. For instance, batters hitting against Will Ohman in 2007 hit a line of .355 OBP and .436 SLG (an OPS-against of .791). Luis Gonzalez (the old one) hit .359/.433/.792 this year, making him Will Ohman’s Average Batting Partner, or ABP.

Keep in mind that there’s not really any useful statistical information in an exercise like this, it’s purely for fun (at least, fun for those of us who are into the numbers side of things). That being said, here are your 2007 Cubs Pitcher ABPs.

TCR Friday Notes (Sports Final Edition)

...for those that missed out on the West Coast scores.

- One of our wonderful readers, "Wolf at the Door" has been burning the midnight oil with all kinds of fancy charts and graphs over at the Wolf-Report. Fantastic stuff. His latest is a comparison of Japanese players making the transition to the majors, although he did forget one player....

Friday Notes

-- Dayn Perry’s anti-All Star list–the worst National Leaguers, position by position–includes no Cubs, but two exes, Jason Kendall and Juan Pierre.

Congratulations, men.

-- Riffing off of Friday's Stat of the Day feature at Baseball-Reference.com, a list of players who went an entire season without a BB or HBP, here’s a list of Cub hitters who achieved the feat, in descending number of plate appearances:

The Ryan Dempster Question

Today, Carrie Muskat asks herself, "Can Dempster make a successful conversion from closer to starter?"
Her answer:

After three seasons as the closer, Dempster is switching back to the rotation for the first time, full-time, since 2002. The right-hander has trained hard this offseason, but it won't be easy to go from one-inning outings to seven or eight. He'll be challenged with the addition of Lieber.

I think Dempster will mostly be challenged by the fact that he is not a very good starting pitcher.
Dempster's career numbers as a starting pitcher only, along with those of another guy who we often kick around:

TCR Fantasy League

MLB.com has a free head to head fantasy game that opened up today and I thought some of you might want to play along. It seems simple enough and you can even win $10,000. Since I'm already tied to a few other leagues that waste enough of my time, I thought this one would be easy to maintain as the scoring is pretty simple, you only have to set-up lineups once a week and to be eligible for prizes, you can't have trading.

Why Sell Wrigley, You Ask?

There's been a lot of talk lately about the potential sale of Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Many seem to be wondering why Sam Zell would risk devaluing the Cubs by selling its most valuable asset. The answer is simple...and obvious; more money.

While searching for the answer last night, I stumbled across the writers at Field of Schemes, who, in my humble opinion, are doing the Lord's work. It's been my long-held opinion that public subsidized stadiums are nothing more than corporate blackmail. The owners ask the state or local government to pay for their stadium. In return, the team won't move...how nice of them. The Field Of Schemes authors have a book whose subtitle explains it best: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Bingo! The octogenarian's in Florida have it right though, don't pay. In most cases, the teams need the city and its population more than the city needs the team (except Green Bay which I'm certain would be swallowed up by the Earth if the Packers left).

But how does this all relate to the Wrigley Field situation, you ask? The Chicago Reader explains what some of the reasoning might be behind Zell's plan (link found via Field of Schemes):

No Love for Sam

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sam Zell’s plan to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is “alienating would-be buyers” of the ballclub, A member of one of the prospective ownership groups says, “Splitting (the team and ballpark) absolutely diminishes the value of the team and my interest level.”

Who Starts in 2008?

What a difference a year makes. During the 2007 spring training, the starting rotation discussion centered around which of these three candidates would be our number five starter: Wade Miller, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman. Combined, they started six times (three apiece for Miller and Guzman) Trachsel also started four games, with the next smallest total belonging to Sean Marshall, at nineteen.  Congrats to Marshall for grabbing the "Ruben Quevedo Fifth-Man" mantle, and running with it.

This year? Carrie Muskat gives the rundown on the candidates for the two open spots in the rotation. The first bit of news is this notion that the fourth spot is open, that Marquis evidently has to apply for his old job. The other applicants being Dempster, Lieber, Marshall (also applying for his old job) and Gallagher.

Among the more interesting observations from the Muskat article is that Marquis has a history of fading in the second half. A quick check of ESPN's stats page shows Marquis with a 4.41 ERA pre-All Star break for the last three years, 5.54 after it. How stupid and unrealistic would it be to let him have the fifth spot for the first half of the season, then ship him off to some unsuspecting foe, and bring up Gallagher for the second half?

Friday Notes (Late Night Version)

• There has been a lot of talk–some of it here–about how Milwaukee's signing of Mike Cameron and resultant shifting of Bill Hall to 3B and Ryan Braun to LF will improve the Brewers' overall defense. On Friday, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus (subscription req'd) tried to gauge what that improvement might be.

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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.

    The E-Man 55 min 48 sec ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 2 hours 54 min ago view
  • 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!

    billybucks 2 hours 55 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 2 hours 57 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 3 hours 25 sec ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 3 hours 48 sec ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 5 hours 38 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 10 hours 57 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #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

    Rob G. 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • great defense

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 2 hours ago view