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Archive for the ‘Cubs’ Category

The final rosters do not have to be finalized until Sunday afternoon, but looking at what we know today, here’s how I see it in the NL Central:

Pos Cards Astros Pirates Cubs Brewers Reds
C Molina Towles Doumit Soto Zaun Hernandez
1B Pujols Blum Clement Lee Fielder Votto
2B Schumaker Matsui Imamura Fontenot Weeks Phillips
SS Ryan Manzella Cedeno Theriot Escobar Cabrera
3B Freese Feliz LaRoche Ramirez McGehee Rolen
LF Holliday Lee Milledge Soriano Braun Gomes
CF Rasmus Bourn McCutchen
Byrd Gomez Stubbs
RF Ludwick Pence Jones Fukodome Hart Bruce
OF Craig Sullivan Raynor Nady Edmonds Dickerson
OF Stavinoha
Michaels Church Colvin Gerut Nix
IF Mather Keppinger Young
Tracy Counsel Fransisco
IF Lopez Johnson Crosby Baker Inglett Balentien
C LaRue Quintero Jaramillo Hill Kottaras Hanigan
SP Carpenter Oswalt Duke Zambrano Gallardo Harang
SP Wainright Rodriguez Ohlendorf Dempster Wolfe Cueto
SP Penny Meyers Maholm Wells Davis Arroyo
SP Lohse Norris
Morton
Gorzelany Bush Bailey
SP Garcia Paulino McCutchen Silva Parra Leake
RP Franklin Lindstrom Dotel Marmol Hoffman Cordero
RP McClellan Lyon Donelly Grabow Hawkins Masset
RP Motte Gervacio Meek Marshall Stetter Herrera
RP Miller Byrdak Taschner Caridad Vargas Owings
RP Boggs Sampson Penn Samerdzija Coffey Lincoln
RP Hawksworth Moehler Carrasco
Berg Villenuava Rhodes
25th Reyes Fuclhino Lopez
Russell Hopper Ondrusek
  • Cards: Pagnozzi, Greene, Jay, Robinson, P.J. Walters, Hill
  • Astros : Berkman, Barzado, Arias, Shelton, Cash, Borguios, Bogesivic, Banks, Switzer
  • Pirates: Pearce, Hanrahan, Ascancio, Hart, Pearce, Vazquez, Jones, Ford, Tabata, Sanchez, Jakubauskas, Yates, Lincoln
  • Cubs: Lilly, Guzman, Castro, Hoffpauir, Scales, Fuld, Gray, Vitters, Jackson
  • Brewers: Suppan, Riske, Butler, Naverson, Gamel, Lucroy, Salome
  • Reds: Volquez, Chapman, Wells, Janish, Miles, Castillo, Burke, Cairo, Sutton, Wood, Lehr, Maloney, Miller, Dorn, Heisey, Anderson, Valaika

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This is certainly not the nasty boys bullpen of 1990s. However, the Cubs have a decision to make on who will close games. Unfortunately, spring training numbers seem to be used for something, and that is in roster decisions. With Marmol and Gregg engaged in a battle, where the numbers this spring point to Gregg getting the job.

This offseason the Cubs made a real short sighted deal, trading for one year of Kevin Gregg for about 5 years or more in closing prospect Jose Ceda (who was thought to be untouchable in deals). It will be no surprise when the decision is made. What happened this offseason with the trade, and the selection today, sure seems like it has Piniella’s fingerprints are all over it.

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Baseball Awards Starts Now

After a dream season with the Rays in the World Series, it seems Rays Nation has already been rewarded. But, Baseball starts handing out its awards. Today the American and National League Rookie of the Year winners are announced.   Tomorrow, the National League Cy Young winner is announced.  This is followed this week by on Wednesday the Managers of the Years and Thursday the American League Cy Young. The MVP winners will not be announced until next week.

As those of you who participated in the early season blog voting, it was apparent that the award selections is not an easy thing to do . It had more to do with the body of work, rather than who was performing the best out of the box on a week to week basis. Hello Evan Longaria and Soto of the Cubs as winners.

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Ouch, Pie Drama Continues

Pie is out for about a week with a problem below the belt. I have spoke about the Pie and Piniella situation before, and this procedure probably is not taking place now if there is still a competition for the CF job. So, either the Cubs want Pie healthy when they start the year, or they want him healthy so when they trade him, he has no pre-existing medical issue that holds up a trade.

I  find it hard to believe that Piniella is happy with a platoon situation which is being discussed for CF.  It seems Lou  would be intrigued by  a more established situation in CF.

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In 2007, Jake Peavy was rewarded with his first Cy Young award as a 19 time game winner, while pitching most of his games in pitcher friendly Petco Park. His progression from one of the best best power pitching prospects in baseball, to one of the best pitchers in all of baseball seemed to have started in 2005. But, after the impressive 2005 season, his 2006 season was slightly a disappointment. But, fantasy owners who showed him the faith got to witness a Tom Seaver like season. With the 19 wins, an ERA of 2.54, a WHIP at 1.06, strikeout rate of 9.67 per 9 innings (which amounted to 240 Ks), these pitching numbers were the equivalent of a hitter winning the triple crown.

One thing I thought is interesting about Peavy, is he is a balanced flyball/ ground ball pitcher.

Name GB BABIP TB BB HR SO/9 DIPS ERA WHIP TEAM DER
Peavy 254 .266 253 68 13 9.67 2.76 2.54 1.06 .7125 (6th)

For example, his teammate Chris Young who had a real nice season in 2007 had only 131 ground balls (GB) on the season, where as two other very good pitchers in Brandon Webb and Hudson had over 400 ground balls on the season.

Name GB BABIP TB BB HR SO/9 DIPS ERA WHIP TEAM DER
Hudson 441 .281 298 53 10 5.30 3.40 3.33 1.22 .7188 (7th)
Webb 431 .277 295 72 12 7.39 3.18 3.01 1.19 .7066(10th)
Lowe 398 .278 293 59 20 6.64 3.89 3.88 1.27 .6991 (16th)
Oswalt 361 .300 324 60 14 6.54 3.51 3.18 1.33 .6997(15th)
Maddux 359

.297

326

25

14

4.73

3.55

4.14

1.24

.7125(6th)

The balls that are put in play on the ground are much harder to turn an out with than fly balls are as indicated by higher BABIP.

Name GB BABIP TB BB HR SO/9 DIPS ERA WHIP TEAM DER
James, C 157

.264

295 58 32 6.47 5.19 4.24 1.38 .7188 (7th)
Young, C 131

.235

183 72 10 8.69 3.43 3.12 1.10 .7125 (6th)

With Ground ball pitchers, the success the pitcher exhibits depends highly on the defense. Where as, fly balls are easier to make an out with. If a pitcher that is balanced like Peavy, he gets the benefits of getting the easier outs with the fly balls, and have the infield defense to help you out on the ground balls. A stat that measures this is Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER ) :

measures the percentage of times balls in play are turned into outs by the team’s fielders, not including homeruns. There are different versions of the formula for DER but one most commonly used is (BFP-H-K-BB-HBP-0.6*E)/(BFP-HR-K-BB-HBP) where BFP = batters faced pitcher, H=hits allowed, K=strikeouts, BB=walks allowed, HBP=hits batsmen and E=errors

Thus, for these ground ball pitchers in 2007, How did their defense help them is worth taking a look at.

Projection GB BABIP TEAM DER
Hudson 441 .281 .7188 (7th)
Webb 431 .277 .7066(10th)
Lowe 398 .278 .6991 (16th)
Oswalt 361 .300 .6997(15th)
Maddux 359

.297

.7125(6th)

So, all these pitchers with the high number of ground balls, are backed with defenses that are good at making outs when the ball gets in play. Take some of these pitchers, and place them with a bad defense, it would be interesting how there numbers would turn out.

One last thing I decided to do was take a look at the Range of the infielders involved in these good ground ball pitchers. I used Dave Pinto’s PMR:

uses play-by-play data to determine the probability of a ball in play being converted to an out based on six parameters: Direction of hit (a vector), The type of hit (Fly, ground, line drive, bunt), How hard the ball was hit (slow, medium, hard), The park, The handedness of the pitcher, The handedness of the batter.

Arizona (99.87 19th)

C 1B 2B SS 3B
96.26 (24th) 99.98 (14th) 104.12 (4th) 100.82 (11th) 94.61 (28th)

Braves (100.66 10th)

C 1B 2B SS 3B
115.67(2nd) 104.28(7th) 97.70 (22nd) 99.22 (17th) 99.90 (15th)

San Diego (100.08 17th)

C 1B 2B SS 3B
95.97 (25th) 105.21 (5th) 96.61 (27th) 98.44(22nd) 98.37 (18th)

Los Angeles (99.87 20th)

C 1B 2B SS 3B
108.91 (5th) 97.07 (19th) 96.99 (25th) 105.60 (3rd) 100.85 (14th)

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A few weeks ago we were wondering about Mattingly’s wife and what happened ? The Daily News has a story and pictures about Mattingly’s life, and Donnie’s current unfortunate situation. My first memory of Mattingly was the summer of 1983, when both Don and Steve Balboni were getting a shot at the first base job after being called up from minors.

brett_livid.jpg In fact, I happened to be visiting friends in New York and witnessed the Pine Tar Incident Game on the Yankee broadcast. Recently, I was thinking about a baseball related user name for some account I was creating. I gave it the name of The Pine Tar Incident since that game was one of the most memorable games that I ever watched.

More Blasts From Around the Web:

Piniella  predicted number of wins:  89 wins. Chone has the NL and AL predictions too. 89 wins for my Rays!

We’re Talking Squawking Baseball on  Cone for Ed Hearn

Brock for Broglio has PrOPS .

A great week of content at Greeny’s site. with DIPs, Contact Rate rate, Home / Road standouts.

If you own Hanley like I do, check out the Disabled Informer on HRam

Jason Stark covers the history making arbitration win for Ryan Howard. Will Phillies slugger ask them to “Show me the Money” with a  136 Million next?

I thought Heyman’s GM  list was ridiculous. Glad someone else does too.

I did not Know Topkin of Times wrote for Melnick and Greco?

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With The Orioles bringing in quite a haul with the Erik Bedard trade, you have to think that they will continue to look to the future and unload Brian Roberts.  The Cubs are a good trade partner, but like we have said before, You win with Mark DeRosa. The trade does make sense for the Cubs, but Pie its not going anywhere. It seems they will settle on starting pitching.

After a long while, the Fire Joe Morgan fellows have unmasked themselves. Sorta like when Kiss took off the makeup.

Kevin Goldstein does double duty counting down the prospects at SI.

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