It’s Catching

On Wednesday night, with the bases loaded and the game tied, one out in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Wuertz struck out Pat Burrell swinging. Michael Barrett though allowed the ball to get away, and though he recovered in time to catch Jimmy Rollins in no man's land, marooned between third and home, Barrett then literally threw the game away. What ought to have been a simple inning-ending rundown turned into a catastrophic game-ending score. And that led me to think, just how bad is Barrett's defence? And to what extent does it undermine his rather more quantifiable offensive value? The common consensus, which is based based largely on just watching the two behind the plate and with which I agree, is that Barrett is at best a mediocre defensive catcher, but that Henry Blanco is a fine defender, one of the best in the game. Perhaps it would be interesting to monitor just how the two have fared so far this year. There are plenty of complex defensive metrics around that aim to measure defence, but I generally find them just too obscenely obscure, abstract, incalculable, contradictory etcetera. But Catcher ERA, a very simple yet alarmingly crude and therefore flawed statistic, gave me an idea - calculate each pitcher's line throwing to Barrett, and then their line throwing to Blanco, and see what that throws up. And so I did...

How about this guy?

Faced with a glut of outfielders, the Giants designated Marquis Grissom for assignment yesterday. Normally, I'm all against signing aging players who are showing a considerable decline in their skills. BUT, over the last 3 years there is one thing that Grissom has done well and it's something we are in the need of. The boy's been mashing lefties... against lefties from 2002-2004: .325/.369/.616 against righties from 2002-2004: .272/.303/.414

No Gerut-tee [Of A Good Deal]

When the Cubs acquired Jody Gerut just a fortnight ago, I wrote that...
With so many similar hitters to Gerut, it's difficult to see just exactly where he fits in right now. I suspect though that Gerut will replace Ben Grieve on the major league roster with immediate effect, thereby effectively ending his Cub career, and that we won't see Adam Greenberg again this season either. Dusty will probably use Gerut in a straight platoon with Jerry Hairston as the centre fielder and leadoff hitter, which, despite Hairston's reverse splits, is probably the right way to go. It would not surprise me if, having become an irrelevance, Hairy were then traded before the deadline... And, finally, if Gerut performs, particularly with regard to his power returning, this could mean the end for Corey Patterson in Chicago. For such a seemingly minor move, this trade could end up having some pretty major long-term ramifications. We will see.
That all fell down from the "Dusty will probably..." bit onwards, perhaps because the great man's allergic to "the right way to go". Gerut made just two starts for the Cubs in his shortest of tenures, neither in centre field, where he didn't play an inning for the Cubs. And the second of those starts was cut short by the trade. Otherwise, he was limited to occasional pinch-hitting and late-inning defensive work in left field. In all, he went 1-for-14 as a Cub, with a double, two walks and three strikeouts, and a single run scored. It was Gerut himself that became the irrelevance, not Hairston, and Gerut that quickly found himself traded. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for that is that it's not been hard to see where Gerut's power has gone. His swing right now consists of a real downward chop on the ball, and groundballs have a nasty habit of not going over the fences. Without power, and with an enormous platoon split, in the long-term Gerut is highly unlikely to amount to anything as a starting major league outfielder. It may be that the Cubs have seen enough to think that Gerut's power may not be coming back any time soon, and that it's time to move him now before other teams come to the same conclusion. Whether or not the Cubs would be right in such an assessment of course remains to be seen. Whatever, it turns out the trade of Dubois for Gerut will have no long-term ramifications at all. Instead, it's this new trade, for Matt Lawton, that holds potentially interesting implications...

Cubs Organizational Report Week 17

Team Records updated through 7/31/05; Individual Stats updated through 7/31/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10
Chicago Cubs53-52(Div)13.5/3rd
(WC)4.0/5th
5-5
Iowa Cubs48-5810.5/3rd2-8
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx*22-140.0/1st6-4
Daytona Cubs14-229.0/5th5-5
Peoria Chiefs17-206.0/5th6-4
Boise Hawks19-210.0/1st6-4
AZL Cubs0-33.0/9th0-3
Cubs Ex W/L: 53-52; (2003) 53-52; (2004) 57-48 * West Tennessee clinched the first half North Division title of the Southern League

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