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Wednesday

14

June 2017

19

COMMENTS

Hitting is Contagious

Written by , Posted in General

News broke early in the day that Anthony Rizzo was going to be batting leadoff on Tuesday. The move smelled like a bit of desperation to me. Luckily, it wasn’t the only thing I had wrong on the night. Rizzo hit the second pitch of the game to dead center, over 450 feet by my estimation, to get the Cubs on the board early.

Unfortunately, Cubs pitchers in the first inning are like the kids game, Mad Libs.

__(last name)__  pitched very  __(verb)__  and gave __(name of city)__  an early run(s).

Jon Lester escaped the first giving up only one run. In the second inning, the Cubs showed some patience by drawing some walks as well as getting the second hit in as many nights from a pitcher. Kyle Schwarber walked, Lester slapped a hit into left (why can’t some of our “real” hitters use that approach), and then Albert Almora took a four pitch walk to bring up the new leadoff man, Rizzo. After two quick strikes, Rizzo battled back to draw a walk and make it 2-1 Cubs.

In the first inning, I was internally thinking that it might be time to send Ian Happ back down to Iowa to keep working on his game. Wrong again, Happ drove a ball over the fence in left-center for a grand slam to give the Cubs a 6-1 lead. The big inning continued as Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, and Addison Russell all picked up hits to throw up a very crooked number seven on the board and make it 8-1.

The Cubs continued to add-on and it quickly became a much needed laugher. The Cubs, behind five home runs (Rizzo, Happ, Heyward, Bryant, and Javier Baez) defeated the Mets 14-3 and snapped a nine game road losing streak.

Commentary

So Lester and the bats helped the Cubs creep back to the .500 mark. If the Cubs were a stock they would certainly be something like Hertz (HTZ). It had a great run in a prior year but is now mired in mediocrity. When evaluating these kinds of stocks, fund managers (and some individuals) look at the strength of management and specifically, see if there were major changes that has led to the stock’s decline.

I would say that there haven’t really been major internal changes with the Cubs, but perhaps some competitors are using some of the strategies that once made them great and a lack of focus has gotten the team to the .5oo level.

I’m a contrarian and a value investor and I see the value in the Cubs. I’m loading up at these prices and watching for a rise as we head toward October.

So are you buying the Cub’s prospects for the near-term or do you want to hop on a new high-riser like the Astros or Yankees?

My Thoughts

  • I thought that the Mets announcers of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez were very pleasant to listen to on MLB network. Even in a blowout they kept it interesting.
  • Rizzo can stay in the leadoff spot against right-handed starters for a while, especially if the pitcher continues to bat in the eight spot.
  • I’m still not convinced that Happ shouldn’t see some time down at Iowa. Granted he had a grand slam but he also had four strikeouts.
  • Felix Pena will probably be back on the shuttle to Iowa.
  • I’m becoming more convinced that I don’t want to see a knee jerk reaction at the trade deadline and see the team acquire a position player such as Cameron Maybin. I would be ok with adding a starting pitcher of course, but I don’t want to waste any trade bullets on position players.

Draft News

  • The Cubs first five draft picks were all college starting pitchers. It appears as if the Cubs were specifically looking for guys with solid off-speed pitches. While many of these guys will be basically shut down for the rest of the season due to high college workloads, look for a couple of them to be potential major league bullpen options as early as late next season.
  • A total of eight pitchers in the first eleven picks, only one of which is a high-schooler.

On the Farm

AAA: Iowa (27-38) 8, Nashville 4: The Cubs scored six times in the seventh inning to win this one. Starter Casey Kelly gave up all four runs in his five innings. After Kelly, four Cub relievers each went one scoreless inning to get the win. No Cub batter was overly outstanding, but catcher Victor Caratini hit a solo homer and outfielder Mark Zagunis hit a bases clearing triple in the six run seventh inning.

AA: Jackson 8, Tennessee (35-29) 7: None of the Smokie pitchers looked impressive as three pitchers each gave up at least two runs and combined for only one strikeout. Once some draft picks start signing contracts, look for some turnover of some pitchers. Leadoff hitter Charcer Burks had three hits to raise his average to .310 on the season.

High A: Myrtle Beach (39-26) 2, Frederick 0: The Pelicans shutout Frederick behind seven shutout innings from starter Adbert Alzolay. Catcher PJ Higgins had a solo homer to lead the offense. Watch for Alzolay to get the call to Tennessee once some of these new draft picks are signed and add him to the list of potential high-fliers along with Dylan Cease.

Low A: South Bend (38-26) 3, Lansing 2: A “Short” game! Third baseman Zack Short hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 13th to lead the Cubs to victory. Strong pitching was the name of the game for the Cubs in this one with the gold star going to Wyatt Short who threw three scoreless innings in relief.

 

  • Brad Lyerla

    Put me down as a value investor here, Doug. I like the Cubs for the post-season based on talent.

    This morning Steve Rosenbloom is ripping Lackey and David Haugh is calling for him to be released. On Monday, Jim Morrissey excoriated Joe Maddon’s use of Kyle Schwarber.

    The Chicago press is growing restless.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    Hopefully this is the season low for Cubs stock and it’s all upward from here. Buy low, sell high!

  • Dork

    Interesting take on the draft and pitchers with good offspeed pitches.

  • Adam Peters

    Why, in God’s name, would they trade for a position player? We have too many of those as it is.

    I continue to hope that the Cubs will wake from their malaise, but that starting pitching concerns me. Not going to get anywhere without that.

    • cap’n realist

      They certainly drafted like a team loaded with position players. Something like 6 out of the first 7 Cub picks were pitchers. A good idea, but time always tells with a draft. I’m still on record as hating the Schwarber pick in 2014 and he’s a shoo in for the Hall of Fame. Or he’s headed to AAA. One of the other for sure.

      Loving the Met broadcasts. Darling has a ton of knowledge and is ACTUALLY funny. Monday night he said the Cubs looked like space cadets out there, and said Zobrist had no business whatsoever playing right field Last night, he called Schwarber ‘less than elegant’in left field, after a pathetic attempt to field a ball in the air. When last nights game got out of hand, Darling and Cohen started terrorizing an intern, sending him on food runs and such. Then they spent the last 2 innings looking at obscure 80’s baseball cards. It was actually entertaining, because they’re actually funny, intelligent guys. Len and JD probably rambled on about the local Queens music scene, Gary US Bonds playing at the Flushing Flusher, etc.

      Proud to report that 2 players from my last HS team in 2013 were both drafted in the 8th round yesterday, by the Tigers and Indians, respectively. I hope they both make it to the bigs.

      • Bryzzo1744

        2 guys who were on Doc’s 2011 LLWS champs were drafted as well

      • Buddy

        I was not drafted again this year. Very disappointing.

      • Eddie Von White

        I was rooting for you Buddy. I hear they want to start a team up in Montreal again. If they hurry, you might still be eligible for that one.

      • Buddy

        Canada, eh? Great idea! Maybe I’ll do some tuque shopping this weekend.

      • Doug S.
      • Eddie Von White

        I think Javy Baez and that other guy who used to play right field probably have one they could spare.

      • Adam Peters

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’ve been loading up on pitching via the draft for years. They’ve just been using their first pick on a position player and going all pitching after that. This year I guess they figured their first round pick wasn’t high enough to get an elite position player so they said “screw it” and went 100% pitching.

  • Buddy

    Nice job on the article! No need to worry about a Cameron Maybin trade. There’s no way the Cubs would deal for him. However, a SP seems very likely. Just a question if it will be a rental, or a somebody with a few years of team control.

  • Bryzzo1744

    If the Cubs were a publicly traded stock, I would buy stock in them now and wait until the double barrel revenue increase in 2020 to sell. And actually, when the Tribune owned them, their stock went from $45 a share to $50 a share before and after the Cubs playoff run in 2003. I had to do a project in my economics class on this. When Sosa was traded away, the Cubs gave him his payout in a lump sum, and that payout hurt the Tribune’s books for the first quarter of 2005. Made no difference in the end though bc the money would have been paid out over the season.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Adbert alert! Someone inform Sherm!

  • Doc Raker

    My Thoughts and Commentary

    The Cubs are for real, 14 runs in 1 game, Rizzo leading off, Lester pitching well. I am looking for a serious surge right now, that 5.50 starting pitcher ERA, sell that short because that is going to drop like a Led Zeppelin. That’s what Len said.

    Ron Darling is a great announcer, smart and funny opposed to Len who is dimwitted and dull.

    Two of our local Huntington Beach Ocean View Little League stars where drafted, Nick Pratto and Hagen Danner. MLB did a piece on their journey together. Cool story. Dana has always been the more talked about player and Pratto went to the Royals in the first round and Danner went to the Blue Jays in the second round. Danner pitchers mid 90’s but I believe the Jay’s drafted him as a catcher. Pratto pitches as well but has always been a superior hitter and was drafted as an outfielder. In addition to winning the LLWS they have both played on Team USA for the past few years.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I hope they saved some runs for tonight, because if they come home from New York with two loses, I will want to send them back as a punishment for only playing 1 good game.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Well they scored 4 runs. Hard to win when the pitching allows 9

  • Bryzzo1744

    UIC alum Curtis Granderson puts the Mets up 5-4. Lovely. And it was his 300th HR