Archive for February, 2009

Inside the Boxscore: Game 2

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Joey Gathright – He surprised me a little by not only playing leadoff, but by playing it well and going 3-for-3 with a walk. Four times at the plate and all of them yield a time on base. That’s what a leadoff man does. Great job. I don’t see him having any chance at winning the starting CF job right now, but I’d love to see him make a run at it.

Milton Bradley – Left the game with tightness in his left quad muscle. Here we go. First game and first injury.

Jake Fox – Had a big day at the plate. I’m not sure if he’s comfortable playing third, but if he could be the guy to establish himself at the plate, perhaps he could fill that backup IF role at the corner and we could same the money / resources this spring by having to go out and find one.

Nothing else really jumped out at me. What did I miss?

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Lollipop Guild

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Greetings to all you loyal readers of VFTB – I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Sherm, and I’m one of the new bloggers here. Rather than tell you all about me at one time, I’ll delight you with tidbits over time. Perhaps years. Or longer. We’ll see.

For the time being, suffice to say that I am a big Cub fan – a prerequisite for blogging here, of course, and I have the tattoo to prove it. Same tattoo that keeps me from being able to go undercover at other team’s fantasy camps. Didn’t think that one through, apparently.

I hope that you will all enjoy the words I post here and have comments galore. Or hate my words. And have comments galore. Nah…I don’t really care. I like my words. That’s all that matters. Not really. I care what you think. All of you. Truly. (Might as well be nice on the first day.)

My first real baseball topic of my first VFTB blog is the middle infield, which I like to call “The Lollipop Guild.” The real battle between the three little Cajuns is to determine which one gets to sing the song to Dorothy. Between the three, Theriot, Fontenot and Miles…it’s a serviceable enough middle infield. Serviceable being the operative word. None of them are that good. None of them are that bad. Theriot has earned shortstop for the time being, which only means that we don’t have anyone better on the horizon. I would still prefer to see him play second base everyday. It hurts watching him throw the ball across the diamond. (No, Ryan, the pitcher is not the cutoff man.) Fontenot, who I really like, and would love to see with more at bats…just isn’t that good a second baseman. He’s fine if you hit the ball right at him. His range is suspect, and he always plays too low. Milot? He’s got better range than Fontenot, but has some trouble with balls hit right at him. I don’t care how you slice it…neither is as good at the position as Mark DeRosa was. Period. DeRosa had the bad sense to bat right handed, though, and therefore had to go. And none of them can play third base if (dare I say “when?”) Ramirez needs some days off for whatever reason.

I think Milot (yes, I know it’s Miles, but I like the silent T’s that the other guys have so I thought I’d give him one, too. Just be glad I don’t type Soriano, Soto and Zambrano all year. This, like all things, will pass.) Anyway, I think Milot is going to be the semi-super infield sub. Kind of like Ronny Cedeno, but hopefully without the low IQ. I think Fontenot wins second base – with his bat – and will hit twenty homers this year (helping fill the DeRosa Homer Void.) I think Theriot gets the lion’s share of shortstop starts and will spend most of his time batting second. I’d rather see DLee in the two hole, but that’s another blog entirely. Not today. Aaron Miles (happy?) is an upgrade over Cedeno and I think that will show up early and often this season.

Anyway – the Cubs are playing the Brewers right now…I won’t give away what is happening. Let someone else talk about that. I really just wanted to say hello, to introduce myself and talk a little bit about the Lilliputian’s, or Lollipop Guild, or whatever they are. Maybe they should bat 1,2,3 and all crouch way down. Give them fractions for their jerseys.

Welcome to Sherm’s World.

More later. Or not.

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Inside the Box score: Game 1

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

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Box score

Today was game one of the march toward October and I wanted to take a look at the box score and see if we can note some things after one outing.

  • Alfonso Soriano – We saw him in a limited role, but nevertheless, still in the leadoff spot. I’ll be honest with you. I’m really OK with that. If that’s what the lineup looks like come opening day I don’t mind. At the plate, Sori was on base in both trips to the plate with a single and even a walk. Yes, you read that right, a walk. He’s not really a guy on the bubble to make this roster, but it was encouraging to see him due what a leadoff man does in the very first game.
  • Ryan Theriot – The Riot had the honor of the # 2 spot in the order, which is also where I feel his bat belongs. He mentioned that if given the shot to leadoff, we’d see more than 30 steals from him, but what people forget is that with those will come 20+ caught stealing as well. Theriot is not the best base runner and doesn’t have the best instincts. That being said, I like him in the second spot because it limits the running slightly, while not completely curbing it like the 8th spot does.
  • Micah Hoffpauir – Uh oh, now the Hoffpauir for MVP folks will be out in full swing. Micah not only hit a homerun, but it was a grand slam. The fact remains, there really isn’t a spot for him on this roster due to the numbers game. Even if the Cubs carry five outfielders out of camp, that would leave Gathright out of the mix and I believe Hendry wants that speed on the roster. It would be fine for Hoffpauir to fill that backup infielder role IF he could actually play defense in anyway and had experience backing up 3B. Look at the numbers folks. 5-OF, 2-C, 12-P leaves room for 6-IF. Lee, Ramirez, Miles, Fontenot, Theriot are slotted for 5. None but Ramirez has any significant experience at 3B. That final IF spot has to go to someone who can play the corners. I don’t know who that guy is at that point, but my guess is he’s not currently on the roster. Carrie Muskat mentioned “With Mark DeRosa gone, the Cubs need to find a backup third baseman. Luis Rivas, a non-roster invitee who has played for Minnesota, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, was working out with the regulars on Tuesday and will get a good look.” We’ll have to wait and see, but I don’t think the answer is on this team right now. A guy like Nomar Garciaparra makes a lot of sense for this team because of his versatility. We’ll have to wait and see.
  • Mike Fontenot

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    – Game one of the second base battle goes to Miles, who didn’t even play. Fontenot went 0-for-3 with a LOB. Not a good start for Mike.

  • Jeff Samardzija – He’s battling for that 5th starter spot and got the “start” today, even though that means just two innings. In that time, two runs on two walks and three hits were the result. A less than impressive start. Mitch Atkins, an outside competitor for that spot as well after his 17 win season in the minors, came in the game in the third and was a shade better, though not much.
  • David Patton – Rule 5 guy that is intriguing to me. He used to be a highly touted prospect at one point. I’m curious to see what he can do over the course of the spring. Even if he doesn’t make the active roster, perhaps he’ll clear waivers and be declined by the Rockies to take him back. If that turns out to be the case, he could be placed in the minors and try to work his way to the Majors as a starter.
  • Jason Waddell had two strikeouts in his inning, but do you care?

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Cubs Agree to Terms w/ Several Players

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The Chicago Cubs media relations department sends along the following:

(more…)

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Spring Training Battles: Centerfield

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This one is simple for me, though many may disagree. If I was starting the season right now, Kosuke Fukudome is my everyday centerfielder. I like Reed Johnson a lot. I know he did great things for us last year in that platoon role, but the fact is that he’s not an everyday, 150 start kind of guy. I truly believe he can be the kind of guy we need in a platoon role, but not as an everyday starter.

Fukudome, on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment last year and very much needs to rebound. I feel like a lot of the failures were due to being in a new country, with the longer schedule, more travel, and day/night games. That’s a lot of transition for a guy to get used to in addition to being away from a newborn baby and wife while trying to learn what to expect from all the pitchers. You’re going to see a much better Fukudome at the plate this year, but the only way to see it is to give him the starts he needs to put up the numbers we paid for.

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