ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN DECEMBER 2014 RULE 5 DRAFT Gilberto Abreu, RHP Gioskar Amaya, INF John Andreoli, OF Delbis Arcila, OF Jose Arias, RHP Jeffrey Baez, OF Frank Batista, RHP Zach Cates, RHP Hunter Cervenka, LHP Pin-Chieh Chen, OF Gerardo Concepcion, LHP Willson Contreras, C Wes Darvill, INF Taylor Davis, C Zeke DeVoss, OF Alberto Diaz, LHP C. J. Edwards, RHP Kevin Encarnacion, OF P. J. Francescon, RHP Victor Garcia, LHP Dustin Geiger, INF Anthony Giansanti, OF Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Kyle Hendricks, RHP Marco Hernandez, INF Michael Jensen, RHP Eric Jokisch, LHP Austin Kirk, LHP Matt Loosen, RHP Rafael Lopez, C Jeff Lorick, LHP Barret Loux, RHP Dillon Maples, RHP Andrew McKirahan, LHP Trey McNutt, RHP Alberto Mineo, C Yoanner Negrin, RHP Carlos Penalver, INF Felix Pena, RHP Ivan Pineyro, RHP James Pugliese, RHP Austin Reed, RHP Victor Salazar, RHP Matt Scioscia, C-1B Tayler Scott, RHP Rock Shoulders, 1B Rubi Silva, OF Brian Smith, LHP Elliot Soto, INF Antonio Valerio, C Yao-Lin Wang, RHP Ben Wells, RHP Oliver Zapata, OF Tony Zych, RHP
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....
Javier Baez rolled his ankle last Friday... "I thought it was broken," Baez said...Baez suffered the injury at Memphis while fielding ground balls during batting practice. "I jumped a little bit to throw the ball and when I landed, it was kind of like a hole or something (there)," Baez said. The 21-year-old said after rolling the ankle, he braced for the worst.
I may not be as Old or Blue as Old & Blue (maybe approaching this)...but I marvel at the Tampa Rays.
They don't spend - except wisely, have an incredible scouting and development machine - and a fucking smart MLB Manager - and when they sucked, they sucked ass for long enough to make their draft choices really count.
However, much of their foundation building came before the latest CBA.
It's hard to get a real gauge on this ownership. They seem committed in many ways, and it's not really sensible to complain about their lack of making an impact in an insane free agent market. The real test is wins and losses for me as a fan. So far, that hasn't gone well at all under this ownership.
setting up for 5 seasons in a row of getting top-tier draft picks (2011-2015 draft classes) along with the recent slew of trading away the roster + signing then trading almost everyone they get on 1-2 year contracts goes a long way in collecting youth.
it'd be hard to not screw that up. the downside is sitting through this many years of trash, though...especially considering the 2010 season preceding all of this was a crap season, too.
2007 and 2008 seem so far away. that was fun...until the LDS.
I'm not mixing them up at all. The Cubs have had both, in abundance. They've never had greatness. Just shittiness, mediocrity, and shitty mediocrity.
When Theo changes that, and I'm at least thinking there's a 50% chance he will, I'll be the first to praise him. He has stuff going against him (see comments on ownership by others) that aren 't going to help him at all.
We shall see. I'm a Cubs fan and their history justifies my skepticism. It has nothing to do with Theo, really.
One thing that is always overlooked when complaining about Cub mediocrity is ownership. Without good ownership, a team will languish. The Cub's ownership history is indicative of the won-loss record posted by Cubs' teams over the past many decades. Mr. Wrigley was not an owner that wanted to spend too much to procure or develop players to win consistently. This was no secret. The Tribune Company was most happy with bottom-dollar profits - Harry Carey being the best acquisition they ever made. Again, this was no secret. The worst owner also was the least tenured, Sam Zell.
TOONSTER: When Marco Hernandez first arrived at Fitch Park (Instructs 2010) as an 18-year old he had good range at SS, but he threw sidearm (sort of the "sidearm sling" second-basemen use) and so his throws would sometimes bounce to 1st. He also was a switch-hitter back then, and he just could not hit with any authority RH. But then he changed his arm slot and stopped switch-hitting, and his two main problems disappeared overnight and he had an outstanding 2011 season with the AZL Cubs.
I think they have been investing in the organization and minor league system. I posted a week back, in a drunken rage, when Theo came on the scouts didn't know what excl was and there were feral cats roaming the scout office. (only one is a joke)
I believe why you see the influx of kids because someone with a clue is in there now and not basing players on their looks or how their girlfriend is.
That being said I will be disappointed if they spend on some pitching this offseason.
"it is unacceptable for the Chicago Cubs to have the 8th lowest payroll"
A team committed to a serious rebuild should spend less money, not more, in order not to fill positions with veteran free agents who are slightly on the plus side of mediocre. Olt is having enough trouble displacing a guy making $1.7 million. Would you prefer that the team won more games but Lake and Olt were in Iowa?
We all knew rebuilding would be painful, but it has to happen, mostly because of the shitstorm Hendry left behind. The guy should have been axed on Ricketts first day as owner. Yes, there are a lot of good prospects around the league, but for the first time in a long time, the Cubs organization actually has a number of good prospects. Not just "Cub good", but actually good. Good organizations aren't built in one year, it takes time.
Sometimes as a Cubs fan I forget how bad it really is. I tend to think it's not so bad, that all those years of mediocrity is just that. Mere mediocrity. Then reality hits me on the head when I read an article like the NYT link today in the twitter feed. "In the 68 seasons since, the team has finished above .500 only 19 times.". That's not mediocrity. It's pure, unfiltered shit.
I've been a Cubs fan for a long time, and sometimes people rightly get annoyed when I complain about what I see as a slow pace with TheoCorp, but this is why:
I'm curious how you feel Gleyber compares, off of what little you've seen so far, to Carlos Penalver and Marco Hernandez, first, at the same stages in their careers (in Arizona, XST), and second in general. I've read/seen all the reports, just curious about your gut feeling so far. (it's possible you answered this in a comment before, if so, sorry).
Phil from a few days ago:
Submitted by Arizona Phil
on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:52amPermalink.
CUBSTER: Gleyber Torres is an exceptional defensive shortstop. He makes the routine plays consistently, and I mentioned in a comment a couple of days ago that he made a leaping catch sideways (leaping to his right) in the "sim" game on Monday, and you have to be fairly athletic to get elevation while leaping sideways... and he just turned 17 in December!
He is very confident and poised for his age, and he doesn't show emotion or get flustered when he makes a mistake.