February 2008

The phrase "ex-Cub factor" has been thrown around quite a bit. It was
originally coined by writer and Cub fan Ron Berler, who wrote an
article in 1981 stating that since the Yankees of that season had five
ex-Cubs on their roster, they were doomed to lose the World Series if
they got there. He was right -- they lost to the Dodgers in six games.


Roster Rules & Procedures


LAST UPDATED: 9-16-2014

CUBS MAJOR LEAGUE RESERVE LIST (40-MAN ROSTER):

40 players, plus three players are on the 60-day Disabled List (roster is full).

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.

With Cubs pitchers & catchers scheduled to report to Fitch Park in Mesa this week, and with position players scheduled to report next week, let's take a quick look at the Cubs 2008 Spring Training roster:

...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....

- Tadahito Iguchi, who John Dewan points out had remarkably similar numbers to Fukudome in their age 29 seasons in Japan (that was two years ago for Fukudome). Iguchi's first season with the White Sox produced a 278/342/438 line with 15 HR's. That doesn't sound $12M worthy.

- Another Dewan factoid questioning the effectiveness of the Cubs seven-year run as NL strikeout kings.

- I was actually going to mention that same "Stat of the Day" that Cubnut did earlier, but more for the fact that Zambrano has the most plate appearances (84) for a .300 hitter or above without a hit by pitch or a walk in a season (in 2005). I also wanted to note the one about "The Most Average Batters of All Time". Bill Buckner leads the list of hitters with most career plate appearances and an OPS+ between 99 and 101.

- I thought this article was a fun read by Ken Arneson on "How to Defeat a Sabermetrician in an Argument".

- A few weeks back I put up a video of Hendry watching a Felix Pie home run. Here's the clip of the actual moonshot.

Enjoy the weekend....

-- 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:

Joe Carter (52 PA’s in 1983)
Dee Fondy (51 PA’s in 1957)
Mike Hubbard (39 PA’s in 1996)
Bubbles Hargrave (37 PA’s in 1914)
Don Young (36 PA’s in 1965)
Billy Cowan (36 PA’s in 1963)
Coaker Triplett (36 PA’s in 1938)
Rob Talbot (32 PA’s in 1953)
Sandy Martinez (30 PA’s in 1999)
Jeff Kunkel (29 PA’s in 1992)

Note: no Neifi Perez. Just doesn’t seem right. (And yes, Bubbles Hargrave is Pinky's brother.)

-- A tv-related note by way of the Muskrat: Comcast marks the 10th anniversary of Harry Caray’s passing with a day of Harry-related programming on February 18th. Included will be a documentary on Harry’s life and complete rebroadcasts of three big games from Caray’s time with the Cubs, including the NL East clincher in 1984.

--The sun is out in Chicago today for what seems like the first time in months. A fitting reason to point out that pitchers and catchers report to Mesa 5 days, 23 hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds from now.

...we have rumors. 


Ken Rosenthal throws a few bones out there about the Cubs, including Coco Crisp and Brian Roberts talk. To fill my monthly MVN quota, I will be posting the full excerpts below:

The Cubs do not view Crisp as a viable alternative if they fail to acquire Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts; Crisp's .329 career on-base percentage makes him ill-suited for the top of the order, and the Cubs don't want a center fielder who might block Felix Pie or Tyler Colvin; they would prefer a platoon partner such as the Rangers' Marlon Byrd.

And on Roberts...

Trading Roberts would be the logical next step in the Orioles' tear-down, but even though the team finally is on the verge of sending Erik Bedard to the Mariners, a Roberts deal might not quickly follow. The Orioles and Cubs have spoken infrequently over the past several weeks, sources say, and while some Cubs officials believe that a deal remains possible, others aren't so sure. The Orioles are likely to insist on Pie, a player the Cubs are not willing to move in a package for Roberts ...

At least the last sentence about not willing to move Pie is encouraging.

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:

 

 

 

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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. So if you're interested in a low-key fantasy league with your fellow TCR'ers, this is the one.

I created a private league and the live draft is Tuesday, March 4th at 2:00 PM CST. If anyone is interested in joining, shoot me an email and I'll give you the league name and password to join. It's a 12 team league, but if there's an enormous outpouring of interest, we can just open up a few more leagues.

-----

Also, reader Carlos has taken it upon himself to start a little contest of guess where Kyle Lohse will sign? Just choose a team and the terms of the contract and drop them in the previous post.

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):

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.”

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?

• 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.

According to Jaffe's rough, "back of the envelope" calculations, the Brewers project to be about 42 runs better on defense, which could mean between 1.5 and 4 extra victories. That's even assuming both Hall and Braun are below average at their new positions.

• Last week, I wrote about Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis machine. Pinto finally fed the projected 2008 Cubs numbers into his virtual gizmo and the results show that the Cubs' most productive starting lineup would look like this:

Fukudome rf
Lee 1b
DeRosa 2b
Ramirez 3b
Soto c
Soriano lf
Pie cf
Pitcher
Theriot ss

In his write-up, Pinto shows (projected) love for Geo Soto and questions why Soriano's big bat would lead off, which puts Pinto in the company of many millions of wondering Chicago Cub fans.

• Just guessing here, but based on what we're hearing about operations in the Orioles front office, I suspect Peter Angelos keeps the key to the team's executive washroom locked in his desk, and when Andy MacPhail has to go, he has to ask Angelos for permission. I'm thinking sometimes the old man says yes, and sometimes the old man says no.

The Cub Reporter was established in July, 2001, by Christian Ruzich, whose first post reflected on whether or not Jason Bere and Julian Tavarez could "keep this up all year." (They couldn't.)

TCR has grown into one of the largest, independent Cubs sites on the net. Our unique team of writers doesn't let their combined 174 seasons of heartache get in the way of offering fresh takes on all things Cub.

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