Guest Column

Soler vs. the Cubans

by CubsfaninCA

There have been a lot of opinions on the floor and ceiling for Jorge Soler since he started his career. Most agreed that he had a solid floor, but opinions on the ceiling varied and he was even described as “possibly the best in the organization, might be better than Bryant.”  I think it’s safe to say that’s not going to be the case. (If it is, he’s got some catching up to do this year already.) With most players you could easily pull up some players for comparison, but Cuban players generally have different developmental paths than most major leaguers do.

Soler has passed the 300 PA mark, so it’s typically safe to say a lot of his numbers are stabilizing to some point. He’s been heating up lately so maybe he’d fare better if I waited a couple more weeks, 300 is a nice round number. We can thus take some similar Cuban players over their first 300 PA--I actually used their first 72 games, in most cases about the same--and see how they worked out. Obviously there are some apples to oranges, especially considering the advanced age of players like Jose Abreu, but these are the 12 other significant Cuban players still in the league compared against Soler. The left side of the chart is their career numbers (thus far) and the right side is how they fared after their first 72 games, ranked by their OPS after those 72 games.

Do the Cardinals Really Know How to Draft Pitchers Better?

by CubsfaninCA

Much has been made over the Cardinals “voodoo” that suddenly takes no-name pitchers and makes them stars. They seem to do the same with some hitters on occasion, but it’s mostly the pitchers that seem to come out of nowhere.

I wondered if it’s luck or voodoo, or do they really just know how to draft and/or develop pitchers better than other teams.  So I went through the last 10 drafts and pulled out the pitchers drafted by 4 teams—the Cards, our Cubs, the Braves (who also seem to have an abundance of young pitching) and the Phillies (who lately as an organization don’t seem to be doing anything well). I listed the pitchers who got to the majors and to eliminate the cup of coffee guys, used 20 Ks as a minimum threshold.   

There were a few interesting anomalies: the Cards drafted Michael Stutes but he didn’t sign and later signed with the Phillies, the Cubs originally signed Sonny Gray but he also didn’t sign, and it was fun seeing our own Brian Schlitter’s name in another team’s column.

Best Cubs Drafts

I was intrigued by the recent ESPN article that proclaimed the 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers draft to be the best ever. The Dodgers picks that year were exceptional. All told across the various January and June drafts, the Dodgers drafted and signed EIGHT players that would go on to have successful major league careers. They are listed below with their career WAR according to Baseball Reference:

Who’s On First in 2012?

Sweet Lou brings us a guest column on what the Cubs may do at first base in 2012

It will be interesting to see who will be playing first base for the Cubs in 2012. There was talk in recent weeks that the Cubs had an interest in Albert Pujols, but that obviously didn’t materialize. Now that Pujols is headed to California, who might the Cubs turn to to fill the void at first base?

The Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano Cubs

Reader dcf (he of the Ron Santo for the Hall pieces from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years


The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.

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  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 2 hours 55 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 3 hours 48 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 3 hours 55 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 3 hours 58 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 4 hours 10 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 4 hours 31 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 7 hours 23 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 9 hours 55 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 10 hours 28 min ago view
  • If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.

    If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.

    Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.

    chitownmvp01 10 hours 30 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 12 hours 27 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 14 hours 46 min ago view
  • Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.

    billybucks 15 hours 42 min ago view