* Zac Rosscup
* Chris Rusin
* James Russell
* Travis Wood
* Wesley Wright
* George Kottaras
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Anthony Rizzo
* Luis Valbuena
* Logan Watkins
* Brett Jackson
* Nate Schierholtz
* Ryan Sweeney
SPRING TRAINING NRI (28):
* Tommy Hottovy
* Eric Jokisch
* Jonathan Sanchez
* Tsuyoshi Wada
* John Baker
* Rafael Lopez
# Emilio Bonifacio
* Chris Coghlan
* Ryan Kalish
* Mitch Maier
Back in April, I put up some polls for our readers to rank the position players and number one pitchers in the division. I originally intended to get them up before the season started so any hot starts wouldn't influence the results. I failed miserably at that and the poll results showed that (Derrek Lee second?). Nonetheless, let's revisit the fun.
I had to take a little break to bash Brenneman yesterday, but NL Central Smackdown is back. I was going to just try and cover all the pitching in one post and have you guys vote on the pitching staffs as a whole. But who really want to decide between Brandon Backe vs Braden Looper. On the other hand, the crown for the best staff ace is worthy of discussion.
Before we examine left field, I remind you to check out and vote on center field and right from this weekend if you missed it. As for the left fielders, I think it's an intriguing group and something that should really test the "homer" vote that's been going around
in the previous installments. I think Soriano is as good as they get
out there in the division, but he seems to be quickly falling out of
fans' good graces as of late.
Before we head to the outfield, we take on the field generals. A difficult position to evaluate with the numbers just because there's just no great way to numerically measure a catcher's defense, leadership and ability to work with his pitching staff...but we'll do our best. I did want to note, I'll keep going with these through the weekend just so we can finish this up by early next week. If you take the weekends off from TCR, be sure to check back Monday and vote on the polls you missed.
We march on around the diamond. Today it's the double play partner of yesterday's vote. The Cubs so far have the 2nd best first basemen and second basemen in the division. Can Ryan Theriot keep the streak going? Answer - no!
I started off with the first basemen yesterday and I'll leave the poll up until I get through all the positions. If you need a primer on all this, be sure to check out that first post as well on the first basemen.
Today though we move to the second basemen. While Hendry tries to win by sheer numbers, it's about quality, not quantity. Your contestants after the jump....
I was going to try and get this up before the season started, but that clearly didn't happen for a variety of reasons. But that's no excuse to let the work go to waste. Basically I thought it would be fun to go through each position player in the division and the starting pitchers and see how we rank them. Who’s the best now? Who will be the best over the next 3 years? I'll be using Baseball Prospectus's WARP-3 numbers for the most part, which includes both offense and defense and most importantly for this exercise, projections for the next three years. Once we get through the eight positions and the starting pitchers, I'll finish it off with a Bill Simmons inspired (ripped off) trade value chart.
Here are the ground rules. We're trying to figure out who you'd rather have on your team. Do your best to take your Cubs bias out of the equation if possible (that shouldn't be hard for some of you). But we're also trying to figure out who has the best players on the their team right now, so I'm going to use the players projected to get the most playing time this year. Sure, Jay Bruce will eventually take over center field duties in Cincinnati, but who knows when. The chart after the jump includes their 3-year WARP-3 averages (2005-2007) and their projected 2008-2010 averages.The final column, appropriately labeled "Rob's Rankings", are simply how I ranked them before looking at any stats. For the most part I was pretty close to what the numbers bear out. I should also note that I did my rankings before the season started.
We'll start off with the toughest and most talented position, the first basemen. Your gladiators after the jump....
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I was at the game, the box score pretty well tells the story. They got rocked and couldn't hit anything. I sat really close to the dugout and it seems there is never a coach more than 2 feet from Soler. Just by looking in the dugout during the game, on the field pregame, and during the national anthem, he seems to be on a short leash on a personal level. He must have some Puigness to him. He stood right in front of us during the anthem in just his under armor.....that's a strong kid.
unless the box score is screwed up (mlb.com), g.kottaras is playing CF and leading off today. not much about that sounds right...i dunno if i trust that box score. i'm inclined to believe it's really j.lake...or boni. -edit- updated boxscore shows j.lake...phew.
barney playing SS.
t.wood not having a good day. 2.2ip 9h 5er 1bb 0k
rondon also got smacked around 1.1ip 5h 6er 1bb 0k
Right-hander Pierce Johnson, the Cubs’ second-ranked pitching prospect, has been sidelined from workouts for much of the past week because of hamstring “tightness,” but the Cubs don’t consider it serious enough to have a lingering effect into the season.
Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ senior vice president for scouting and player development, said it could push Johnson’s season debut at Class AA Tennessee back by maybe a week.
“It might be one skipped start,” he said, “but it shouldn’t be a situation where he’s left back here in Arizona.”
zach petrick making his second spring training appearance with the cards...he's already trumped his brother's career everywhere but the wallet =p ...throws an inning of no hit, no walk, 2K ball...
billy...drafted in 2002...not even 30 years old yet. sigh. he was pretty good when his arm wasn't falling off. he kept the ball in the park, didn't walk many, got Ks... he couldn't stay healthy as a starter or reliever, though.
The Rizzo triple should have been scored a double and an E-8 (the CF executed a kick-save while sliding to stop it).
Also Kris Bryant looked bad at 3B again, not being able to reach down and field a routine grounder that was scored an E-5 (maybe he is just too tall & stiff?), and then not being able to come in and field a swinging-bunt-bouncer and make a throw (a play most third-basemen make).
Today is the first day that Draft-Excluded players can be sent to the minors (by outright or optional assignment), and it's also the first day that players selected in the Major League Phase of the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft can be returned to the minor league club from which the player was drafted (presuming Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured) or sent to the minors or released by the drafting club (if Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured and the club from which the player was drafted declines to re-claim the player).
INF Tim Saunders is also wearing a wrap & pressure sleeve on his right elbow (same as Bruno), and he isn't throwing overhand, either. I don't know what his injury was last season that landed him on the Daytona 60-day DL, but it's pretty obvious that he is rehabbing some kind of significant elbow or triceps injury.
BTW, both Bruno and Saunders can hit just fine. They just can't throw. So I would expect both of them to start the 2014 season at Extended Spring Training.