39 players are on 40-MAN ROSTER (roster is full)
Three players are on 60-DAY DL (do not count against 40-man roster)
One player is on 15-day DL
13 players have been optioned to the minors
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* James Russell
* Travis Wood
# Dioner Navarro
* Anthony Rizzo
* Luis Valbuena
* Julio Borbon
* David DeJesus
* Nate Schierholtz
* Ryan Sweeney
15-DAY DL (1):
Matt Garza, P
60-DAY DL (3):
Scott Baker, P
* Steve Clevenger, C-IF
Arodys Vizcaino, P
Alberto Cabrera, P
Rafael Dolis, P
* Brett Jackson, OF
Junior Lake, IF-OF
Trey McNutt, P
* Brooks Raley, P
* Chris Rusin, P
Dave Sappelt, OF
Jorge Soler, OF
Matt Szczur, OF
Christian Villanueva, 3B
Josh Vitters, 3B-1B
* Logan Watkins, INF
This is a couple of weeks old, but Chris Dial at Baseball Think Factory came out with a huge spreadsheet rating every player in the league on offense and defense with the appropriately named metric OPD (Offense Plus Defense). It does not take into account baserunning though, and be aware that players are compared to those who play the same position. He briefly explains the methodology in that link and a further description of the defense can be found here. I didn't spend a lot of time assessing the merits of his system, but it seems solid enough. It tells me Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer were the best players in their respective leagues last year and well that certainly passes the smell test, although by no means is it the ONE stat that will settle every argument from now until the end of days.
The full Google spreadsheet can be found at this link and I've listed the Cubs team ratings and individual players below. It would have been nice to put a ranking next to each player so I didn't have to count them out, which I'm not going to do for every player, but I'll let you know that Soto was 17th in the NL and DeRosa 18th. The numbers are runs relative to average, not replacement or wins, and of course, a positive number is above average, negative is below average.The general sabermetrician's rule of thumb is that 10-12 runs is good for a win.
One of the many toys at Baseball Prospectus is something they call "Secret Sauce". BP has successfully cracked the code to playoff success and nailed the last 45 World Series winners. What? How have you never heard of this amazing prediction system? Because I made that last part up, but nevertheless a fun tool to look at as we await our playoff opponent.
I looked back through 2000 and BP did predict three World Series winners and six of the 16 participants in the World Series correct. You scoff, but what's your playoff prediction success rate?
The formula is simple enough and rather intuitive to what is commonly believed among baseball folks that power pitching, a good closer and good defense wins in the playoffs. In this case, BP uses FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average), EqK9 (Equivalent Strikeout Rates per 9 innings) and WXRL (Win above Replacement Pitcher for the team's closer) and comes up with a score.
Their predictions and the 2008 rankings after the jump.
No, this isn't a bold Ryan Dempster-like statement about the Cubs 2008 chances. We're going to hop into the DeLorean we have sitting around here at the sprawling TCR headquarters and visit my all-time favorite Cubs team - the 1984 ballcub.
I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who can point to the 1984 Cubs as the reason why they're still Cubs fans today. As a young nine-year old living in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, I had not yet quite sworn my life-debt to either Chicago team. If anything I was leaning towards the White Sox as they had just come off of a successful 1983 season and Dad G. fancied himself more a White Sox fan over the Cubs. Plus me and my brother scored like 8 White Sox helmets on a giveaway day the year before and that was kind of cool.
Then 1984 hit and the Cubs-love swept through Chicago. The mix of the "Daily Double", WGN, Harry Caray and being able to catch the end of most Cubs homes games right when I got home for school was enough to sway me to the Northsiders.
But, this piece isn't about my reasons for being a Cubs fan, rather about one man's bold prediction.
"Some of the best advice I've gotten is, I was sitting with Ian Stewart, talking about hitting and I was feeling for my swing as you do early in the season," Jackson recalled. "He asked if I was comfortable at the plate and I said I'm not very comfortable right now. He's like, 'You need to be yourself at the plate and be comfortable and be the type of hitter [you] want to be.'"
Interesting tweet in the tweet box: z'Remember when Rizzo was striking out a lot? No K's in last 31 AB's..tied for 2nd longest active streak in majors"
Don't know if that includes last night, but it sure goes a long way to explaining his improved hitting. It's a curious thing, though, the difference between the way his season started and now. How does that happen?
The Cubs will wait to see how Matt Garza (lat) feels and how his bullpen session goes Saturday before they make a decision about activating him.
Garza declared himself ready to rejoin the Cubs' rotation after six scoreless innings during Thursday's rehab start. It's probably just a formality at this point before the team announces that he'll rejoin the rotation next week. Carlos Villanueva is the likeliest candidate to be demoted to the bullpen.
Remember Albert Almora? The Cubs’ first-round pick last June is almost all the way back after breaking his hamate bone in mid-March. He’s been playing center field and hitting in extended spring games in Arizona and should soon be assigned to the low-A Kane County Cougars. There’s no sign yet of Junior Lake, who suffered a stress fracture to the top rib on his right side in mid-March. Outfielder Reggie Golden, a second-round pick in 2010 recovering from two torn ligaments in his left knee, appears close to completing his recovery.
"Analysis: This is Appel or Gray, assuming one of them goes first, with Appel the preference. The Cubs are in the catbird seat in this draft -- they don't have to pay the premium that comes with picking first overall but are guaranteed to get one of the two huge arms in the class."