Archive for February, 2011

GirlieView (02/07/2011)

Monday, February 7th, 2011

By the time I post my next GirlieView, pitchers and catchers will be in Arizona. And thank goodness for that. It’s becoming more and more difficult to think up something new and exciting to discuss. Or even something old and boring. Nevertheless I thought up another prediction you guys can make for next season. This one’s much easier than predicting the entire roster, while still challenging. Look for our Monday Morning Discussion Question after the (brief) week in review.

Lizzies

  • Today is Ernie Banks birthday (80). Wish him a happy one.
  • Sunglasses-guy emoticon, how I hate thee..
  • I predict no one will be 100% correct, the Cubs will make a trade during ST and the roster will have a name on it that isn’t a Cub right now.
  • Made myself clear on how I stand on Hill still being around, but if Augie forces a guy off the 40-man to make the Opening Day roster, you might as well call me in 2012.
  • I also don’t understand the Ojeda signing. We already have two weak-hitting middle infielders with limited range. Do we get a free sandwich if we collect five of them?
  • It’s the move that got everyone drinking the kool-aid again.
  • no one to back up at 3B
  • Sorry we don’t live up to your obviously high standards around these parts. Perhaps you’d be better served at one of those wine and cheese blogs.
  • Wouldn’t it be a WHINE and cheese blog?

Lizard

  • My problem is that I feel like the Cubs don’t have a direction.

Monday Morning Discussion Question

Predict the starting rotation, in order, as it will stand on Opening Day. I’ll dig up one prize for this one. If multiple people select the same correct five in the same correct order (as I’m sure some will) I’ll pick randomly among them. Post your prediction up to and including February 12 to qualify for the prize. Good luck!


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Video Review: The Tenth Inning – “Top of the Tenth”

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Cubbiedude chimes in with a video review of…a video.

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The 2010 Flat Bat Awards

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Each year we give the Flat Bat Award to baseball’s best bunter, and it’s time to hand out the 2010 award. First, let’s look at the best bunters in sacrifice situations. Here are the best sacrifice bunters in baseball for 2010, listed in order of most sacrifices:

2010 Sacrifice Hit Leaders
Player Successful Sacrifices Sacrifice Attempts Percentage
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 18 18 100%
Elvis Andrus, TEX 17 17 100%
Chone Figgins, SEA 17 19 89%
Ryan Dempster, CHC 16 17 94%
Nyjer Morgan, WAS 15 15 100%
Juan Pierre, CWS 15 21 71%

Now we have the best at bunting for hits, listed in order of most bunt hits in 2010. As you can see, the most successful bunters have a very high average when bunting for a hit. Of the 23 players who attempted at least 10 bunt base hits in 2010, their combined average on bunts was .490.

2010 Bunt Hit Leaders
Player, Team Successful Bunt Hits Bunt Hit Attempts Average
Erick Aybar, LAA 18 35 .514
Julio Borbon, TEX 17 30 .567
Elvis Andrus, TEX 12 18 .667
Angel Pagan, NYM 12 18 .667
Gregor Blanco, KC/ATL 12 17 .706

Last year’s Flat Bat award winner Erick Aybar again led the league with 18 bunt hits (in 35 attempts). Rangers rookie Julio Borbon gave Aybar a run for his money with 17 bunts hits. However, Aybar was also 11 for 13 in sac bunt attempts, giving him an edge over Borbon (8 for 11).

Congratulations to Erick Aybar for successfully defending his Flat Bat title!

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.

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Chet’s Corner: Insert Matt Garza…….

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

A prospect is a prospect until proven worthy at the big league level.

As a Cubs fan, I have never been so happy to see prospects, promising ones at that, get traded in such a flurry.  As a matter of fact, this is the first time in recent memory that I can remember my beloved Cubs trading away the future for the present.

Chris Archer ……gone…….Hak-Ju whatever your name is …..gone.  Traded away for Matt Garza, a former Tampa Bay Ray starter with some youth left to boot!  Did I mention he was good?

Prior to this move, the Cubs seemed determined to stick with their homegrown talent at any cost.  Names like Rich Hill, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson were once prospect’s of gold!  It appeared that championships were waiting to be picked off like a snoozing runner with a big lead at first.  It was as if the Cubs brass hoped if only one of those prospects could be the next Ernie Banks or Greg Maddux we could end this streak and do it with our own talent….discovered in house…. by our own people.   For a period of time this seemed to be the game plan on Chicago’s north side.  Nobody wanted to give up the next Ernie banks for , well……the next Ernie Broglio.

Insert  the Matt Garza trade..…… He will get one of the top three spots in the Cub rotation for the coming season.  Don’t get me wrong Wrigleyville, I’m not trying to predict greatness but the move does give the Cubs a certain validity in the NL Central.  The real question won’t be what he does on the mound but what he does for the rotation as a whole.  Even a pedestrian effort could bear fruit in year one!

With Garza’s acquisition a certain amount of strain is removed from Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano.  Two above average Pitchers (on their good days) carrying a rotation is a stretch, and up to the Garza trade your Cubs rotation looked like a head case, an injury waiting to happen (the reason we have Dempster is due to an injury riddled past) , and a guy that another team couldn’t wait to get rid of for Milton Bradley followed by two doses of some young unproven talent.  One word…Yuck!

With Garza the clouds seem to part.  If he gives us 200 innings this year, which many believe he is capable of, then the grey skies become blue….Cubbie blue!  Zambrano continues his form from 2010’s second half 8-0 effort, Dempster proves the injuries are in the distant past and keeps forging his path of consistent, not dominant, but consistent stuff and Silva becomes a nice back of the rotation starter.

If Garza can win 10 or more against the AL East, what can he do against the NL Central?  Does anybody remember what Ted Lilly did when he came over to the division?

This leaves one spot for a new guy.  A young gun in need of some nurturing, but one who has the stuff to be good…..  A “get your feet wet at the back of the rotation” guy……who could it be?  This is when it gets fun!

Now, if only Carlos Pena hits above .250……………..

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Month in Transactions: January

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

So Long…Farewell

Brian Schlitter – He was a local kid that came to the Cubs in the deal that sent Scott Eyre out of town. The Yankees claimed him off waivers early in the month, which made room for Kerry Wood on the 40 man roster. He didn’t really fit into the bullpen mix this year, so it’s not really a big loss.

Chris Archer – Some say he was one of the top prospects in the system. It’s no wonder the Rays coveted him in exchange for Matt Garza. He’s got a good, solid mix of four pitches that should allow him to move through the Rays system and into the rotation in a year or two. At best, I see him as Matt Garza. I’m OK moving him in an effort to get a upper part of the rotation guy.

Robinson Chirinos – He probably wasn’t going to play with the Cubs unless Geo were to be injured. Tampa gives him a chance to try to win a job before he hits 30.

Hak-Ju Lee - Koreans don’t seem to stick the with Cubs. Hee-Seop Choi never really amounted to anything with us and now Lee moves on. There were people who said he’d move Starlin Castro from SS to 2B, but I’m not buying. He has zero power to speak of and still has work to do with his footwork on the field to help cut down on the errors (34 in 2010)

Sam Fuld – He’s been over-hyped since the big catch in a September call up and the MVP in the AFL. He’s done nothing since and in return we replace him with a younger version of him in Fernando Perez.

Brandon Guyer - I like Guyer’s talent and ability in both the offensive and defensive end of the spectrum. He’s a speedy OF that broke out in 2010. The biggest question I see for him is discipline at the plate. He didn’t really have a spot in the current OF as constructed in Chicago so he was expendable.

Tom Gorzelanny – This trade just happened and as I sat down to write this, I honestly couldn’t remember who we traded him to. It is a deal that will have that much impact on this current team. We have a TON of guys that can pitch out of the rotation. Gorzelanny was just another name in the mix. Dealing him allows us to grab a couple youngsters in an effort to replenish the system.

Hello…My Name Is

Matt Garza – In case you missed it, we broke down the trade from both sides here.

Zach Rosscup – I’d like to see a big jump for him in 2011 to see what he can do.

Max Ramirez – Claimed off waivers from the Red Sox. He could battle with Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo for the backup job.

Fernando Perez - I have a feeling he’s got the inside track on the 5th OF spot. If not, follow him on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.

John Urick – Career minor league hitter that can play first base. We don’t have many of those guys.

Reed Johnson – I really love Reed. I don’t think he’s going to make this team.

Lou Montanez – “The Cubs got nostalgic and signed 29-year-old corner outfielder Lou Montanez, whom they originally drafted third overall in 2000. Back then Montanez was a prep shortstop from Miami, but his bat simply never developed in the Cubs system, so he departed for the Orioles when he became a free agent after the ’06 season. With Chicago, Montanez logged just 45 games above high Class A in his first six seasons, but it didn’t take him long to find his stroke with Baltimore. He enjoyed a career year with Double-A Bowie in ’08, batting .335/.385/.601 with an Eastern League-leading 26 homers (he also won the batting title and tied for the RBI lead with 97). He made his major league debut that season.” ~ Baseball America

Rubi Silva – “Silva, a 21-year-old lefthanded hitter, signed for a $1 million bonus. At around 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Silva is a good athlete who has played both center and right field with above-average speed and a strong arm. An aggressive hitter, Silva has a line-drive swing and gap power. Silva played for La Habana in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2008-09 and hit .276/.305/.428 in 283 at-bats with 10 triples, four home runs, 12 walks and 44 strikeouts.

Some scouts believe Silva has enough versatility to possibly even move to the infield, an option that wasn’t available to him on the Cuban junior national team, which featured Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias and Blue Jays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria up the middle.” ~ Baseball America

Yaniel Cabeza – “Cabeza, also 21, signed for $500,000. Cabeza stands out for his work behind the plate, earning praise from international scouts for his receiving, throwing and game-calling. His defense is ahead of his bat, but one Latin American director said Cabeza has solid bat control and is a good situational hitter. A teammate of Silva’s for La Habana in 2008-09, Cabeza hit .195 with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 82 at-bats in 2008-09.” ~ Baseball America

Braden Looper – The only way I know how to describe him is Old, Ugly, and Bad.

Todd Wellemeyer – Not as old, not nearly as ugly, but just as bad.

Augie Ojeda – I honestly had no idea Augie was still playing. How can that be? Even if Jim Hendry mistakenly glanced at his 2010 OBP and mistook it for his average, there would still be no excuse to sign him. If I’m Blake Dewitt, I’m offended.

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