January 2011

Brett Jackson Makes A List and Other Cubs Minutiae

The rush of major league prospect rankings are about to make their way out and MLB/MILB.com and Jonathon Mayo is the first out of the gate. OF Brett Jackson is the only Cub and is listed as the #46 best prospect in all of baseball. Just traded Cub, Chris Archer, finished one spot below Jackson at #47.

Stretching: The Truth

I'm planning on a series of articles to update our readers on some of the current concepts in pitcher related injuries and diagnoses that most fans have not heard much about.

We've all had our fill of reading about pitchers with rotator cuff and glenoid labrum tears. There are some interesting trends in sportsmedicine that have lead to changes in exercise programs throughout the majors and minors in an attempt to protect pitchers from a cascade of preventable injuries most fans don't know about.

Diagnoses such as:

GIRD: (Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit...not to be confused with the stomach malady also known as GERD which Cubs fans get from watching too many losses). Pitching (both cocking phase and deceleration phase) leading to a tight or thickened posterior shoulder capsular ligament plus a loose anterior capsule and loss of internal rotation of the shoulder. Extra external rotation of the shoulder develops at the expense of internal rotation.

Scapular Dyskinesia: Shoulder blade weakness with altered kinematics.

Internal Impingement: Thought to be related to posterior shoulder contracture from GIRD with subsequent instability of the shoulder as the humeral head (ball of the shoulder joint) which shifts back/posteriorly and upward/superiorly). This is a different entity from subacromial or rotator cuff impingement which is more common and typically occurs from friction outside the shoulder joint.

...and finally connecting the dots, sorting out how the the injured or weakened shoulder (scapula) leads to severe strain on the elbow and tearing of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (aka the Tommy John injury).

My attention to this topic started last summer, when  I heard a remarkable interview on XM radio with renown Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Craig D. Morgan with hosts Jim Memolo and Rob Dibble. The focus of the interview was Stephen Strasburg's shoulder tightness and the subsequent ulnar collateral ligament elbow injury that lead to "Tommy John" reconstruction of that ligament last summer. Dr. Morgan said that he had predicted elbow problems in Strasburg by watching the way he held his shoulder.

More on how the arm bone is connected to the...after the jump.

Prospecting: Jackson and Vitters Make Some Lists

Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com's minor league guy is running a list of top 10 prospects for each position in the minors leading up to his top 50 minor league prospects that will air on Tuesday on the MLB network. It appears he's gone through everything but the pitchers so far and two Cubs can be found - Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.

Cubs Jump On Bears Bandwagon, Sign Another Wide Receiver

According to an NFL draft analyst Tony Paulino and confirmed by Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Cubs have signed Matt Szczur. The deal is reportedly for $1.5M (triple their original offer) and he will not participate in the NFL draft of course.

As long as a 40-man roster spot and a no-trade clause don't come with it, sounds like a wise deal.

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2010 Catcher Rankings by WAR

We've had a bit of a discussion lately about back-up catchers with the trading away of Robinson Chirinos, the signing of Max Ramirez and the head-scratching re-upping of Koyie Hill via the arbitraton process. Reader WISCGRAD put together a spreadsheet of catchers by Baseball Reference's WAR values which does include a defensive component.

More Ivy at Wrigley?

With yesterday's trade for Matt Garza, the by-product that caught my eye is the fact that the Cubs seem to have cornered the recent market on Ivy Leaguers. Fernando Perez studied creative writing and received a degree in American Studies at Columbia and now joins the exclusive Cub club of four.

Perez has published in Poetry Magazine.

Perez says he turns to poetry when he's "after displacement, contrast" from the game of baseball. "The thick wilderness," he continues, "of, say, late Ashbery can wrangle with the narrowness of competition."

From his Poetry Magazine article, titled: Para Rumbiar

Like poetry, baseball is a kind of counter culture. The (optional) isolation from the outside world (which I often opt for); the idleness about which—and out of which—so many poems are written or sung: I see this state of mind as a blessing.

...and if you haven't seen the Fernando Perez You Tube video on "The Working Poor" here's the link.

"nobody talks about the Fernando Perez(s), Jason Nix(s), Emilio Bonafacio(s), all these great players, playing for the minimum, that keep these guys (the stars like ARod) afloat."

Growing more Ivy, after the break...

I Guess the Cubs Really Want Garza

UPDATE #2: Make it Archer, Guyer, Lee, Chirinos, Sam Fuld for Garza, Fernando Perez and and a minor league pitcher. Nothing is official yet according to Morosi.

 

UPDATE: Levine says it's Archer, Guyer, Lee, Chirinos, Sam Fuld for Garza, and a minor league outfielder and pitcher. I can't really evaluate the trade till we know the names the Cubs are getting.


Bruce Miles is reporting that the Cubs will send Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee and Robinson Chirinos for Matt Garza, with possible other pieces still being involved. I realize as a fan of the Cubs I'm probably a little bias towards their own prospects, but that sounds like as good or better package than what the Royals just got for Zack Greinke.

Now I realize Greinke costs more than Garza at the moment, but in terms of talents, it's not even close. I suppose there's the worries over Greinke's social anxiety issues and whether he would approve a trade to the Cubs, but he seemed to just be interested in trying to win.

On the other hand, they're just prospects and only Archer and maybe Lee have much of a chance of being better than league average players. Folks and myself have freaked out before on trade packages including prospects to eventually discover those prospects end doing nothing. But man, it's quite the stomach punch if they do end up being good.

Greg Maddux and The Hall of Fame

Alright, we all know Greg Maddux will get in the Hall of Fame on his first attempt in 2014. We all agree on this, right? There's not one person thas ever read this blog - that wasn't looking for porn by accident - that wouldn't cast a ballot in favor of Maddux if they were given a vote, right? So my question, which of the 539 or so voters are going to go down as the biggest assholes of all-time? I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, as the 2011 results are just about to come filing in, but I already know I'm going to be angry about it.