Archive for February, 2011

Chet’s Corner: For Pitching, The WAR is On!

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers report………say it again with feeling……. PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT!!!!……..oh, that felt good.

Well, they already reported actually, on Sunday, but it’s really a week long celebration.  Spring training will eventually drag.  Somewhere, late in the third week of March, we will yearn for a game that means something.  However, like  a starving animal trolling a Chicago alley for some kibble, we accept spring training with open arms.

Today, I offer you a side dish to accompany your kibble.  A little look into a stat called WAR or Wins Above Replacement and how it relates to the Cubs starting pitching staff.  Now, I know what you are thinking, I have poo-pooed these new age stats in the past but WAR is somewhat different.  WAR attempts to quantify, with a number, a players whole value to a team.

A quick  definition from Alex Rimington(Yahoo Sports, Big League Stew Blog),

Simply put, Wins Above Replacement means: how many wins did that player contribute to his team’s win total above and beyond what they would have gotten from a “replacement value” player, someone they could have picked up off the scrap heap for next to nothing?

You need a PHD to figure this stat out, no joke, something in Nuclear Physics would help.  If you have interest click the link above to Alex Rimington’s site and you can learn anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the WAR stat.  He does a much better job then I of breaking it down. has a little scorecard for WAR:

8+ = MVP

5+ = All-Star

2+ = Starter

0-2 = Substitute

< 0 = Replacement

So lets use this scorecard to evaluate a few past Cubs by season……


Neifi Perez – 2005 season

In 2005, Neifi Perez played his only real full season with the Cubs.  He had 609 plate appearances and a 0.6 WAR.  Basically Neifi was worth half of one win in the 2005 season for the Cubs.  Basically this is saying he was a measily half game better then something off the scrap heap……awesome to have witnessed you in Cubbie Blue Neifi, I still wake up in cold sweats thinking of your poetic efforts on the diamond. 

Now, for a position player, that WAR is a combo of his dWAR (Defensive WAR) and his oWAR (Offensive WAR).  Neifi actually had a dWAR of 1.1, which is still nothing to write home about.  His oWAR as you may have guessed was -0.5……yes you can have a negative war.  In other words he cost us a half game at the plate but won us a game in the field….sweet.

Carlos Zambrano – 2004 season

In 2004, Carlos Zambrano had, what would seem to be,  his best season as a Cub.  At least, that is according to the WAR stat.  He had a pitching WAR of 5.5 and a hitting WAR of 0.6 (yes, for pitchers you have two seperate WAR ratings) This would give him a total WAR of 6.1…..not too shaby. 

Below I have compiled a list of last years Cubs starters WAR.  I then compared them to the top rotations in baseball.  I am using only their Pitching WAR.

2010 Cubs     

Carlos Zambrano = 2.7

Ryan Dempster = 2.7

Carlos Silva = 1.8

Randy Wells = 2.9

Tom Gorzelanny = 1.8

2010 San Francisco Giants

Matt Cain = 3.9

Tim Lincecum = 3.5

Barry Zito = 1.3

Jonathan Sanchez = 3.4

Madison Bumgarner = 2.2

Todd Wellemeyer = -0.5 (kept the seat warm until Bumgarner showed up for second half of season)


2010 Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay = 6.9

Cole Hamels = 4.7

Kyle Kendrick = -0.3 (11-10 record)

Joe Blanton = -0.7 (9-6 record)

Jamie Moyer = -0.2 (9-9 record in 19 starts)

Roy Oswalt = 2.8 (7-1 record)


So, as you can see with the above examples, the Cubs lag quite a ways behind the elite pitching staffs in the league.  Many people rave and rant about the lack of offense in the 2010 Cubs season but the pitching was not exactly great. 

I listed the win loss records for a few of the Phillies pitchers.  You will notice I picked out the guys with a negative WAR.  The reason I found this interesting was seeing a guy with a negative WAR and yet a winning record.  This would usually be a tribute to the Phillies offense.  There were probably a few more high scoring Phillies victories when Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer were pitching.  When you have a stud like Roy Halladay at the top of your rotation and Cole Hamels backing him up, the rest of the guys need just be average to keep the team at the top of the standings. 

Coming back to the Cubs……we talked about Zambrano’s highest WAR but what about the rest of the potential 2011 starters?  Well, Ryan Dempster is only three seasons removed from a 5.3 WAR in 2008.  Randy Wells strutted a 3.2 WAR in his sensational rookie year of 2009.  Carlos Silva’s highest WAR was a 3.4 in 2004.  Matt Garza sported a 3.8 WAR in 2009 (last year was a 2.0 however).

The point I am trying to make is we have some potential with this pitching staff statistically speaking.  We don’t need a 5.3 from Dempster but something over 3.0 would be nice.  Zambrano doesn’t need to be in the 5’s again, but if this season is a reflection of the last half of 2010, we could see something around a 4.  Wells and Garza are the wildcards.  Being so young we are not sure what their ceiling would be.  

To make the post season it takes more then one pitcher being at the top of his game.  If the old addage, “pitching wins championships” stays true to form then this is where it starts for the Cubs in 2011.

Now if we could only get the offense to come around.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Cubs Trade Tony Thomas to Boston for Robert Coello

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitcher Robert Coello from the Boston Red Sox for minor league infielder Tony Thomas.

Evan Brunell of Firebrand chimes in with these thoughts on Coello:

The trade of Robert Coello does not come as good news to this writer, as I was rooting for the club to waive Daniel Nava instead of Coello. While Nava is a feel-good story, he is limited to left field while Coello is valuable as a major-league ready pitcher with years of league-minimum salary ahead of him. The former independent-ball pitcher rocketed through the minors for Boston and excelled at striking out batters and limiting his walks. Coello is unlikely to ever emerge as anything more than a middle reliever, but in that role he can do very well. He got knocked around at the beginning of his major-league career in 2010 but by the end had settled down and showed that he could handle being part of a big-league bullpen. Coello can also be counted upon to start in a pinch, but his pitches play better in relief.

He also provided a scouting report from last year on Coello from

Big righty with a powerful frame. Smooth, deceptive delivery. Heavy fastball sits between 91-93 mph and tops out at 94 mph. Also uses a nice low-80s forkball, a mediocre curveball, and an developing changeup. Attacks the zone and throws strikes. Gets a ton of strikeouts but can be hittable when he works too much down the middle of the zone. Projects as a middle reliever at the major league level, one that might be able to be utilized in high-leverage situations. Still learning how to pitch. Coello was well-regarded as a catcher when he was drafted byCincinnati in 2004. However, he missed the 2005 season with a rib injury and the Reds released him in the spring of 2006. He converted to pitching after signing a one-year minor league deal with the Angels in September 2006. The right-hander dominated much younger competition in the rookie-level Arizona League in 2007, but the Angels opted not to re-sign him to a long-term deal. He impressed with Edmonton of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2008, and Boston acquired his rights from Edmonton in November 2008.

What are your thoughts on the deal? I’m not much of a Tony Thomas guy. He’s been a bit of a bust since being drafted fairly high. Better to get something for him and see what Coello can add in a potential bullpen role in 2011.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Video Book Review: Electric Barracuda

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

GirlieView (02/14/2011)

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Pickins are slim this week, so thank goodness Spring Training starts TO-DAY! I’m so excited about it I almost forgot it’s also a very important holiday: Happy Valentine’s Day (included as a favor to the guys around here who may have forgotten their sweeties … thank me later!)

Don’t miss our Monday discussion question just after the very brief week in review!


  • Fuku does not stink in April, he stinks in July, August and September and in May and June is on a slippery slope of stinky but serviceable.
  • HSA (Hyper Statistical Analysis….yeah, I made it up).
  • What is worse; a player who staggers to the plate hungover or even drunk, a player who uses PED’s (these include greenies, HGH, Steroids) to enhance his ability, or a player who uses foreign substances to doctor a baseball or bat thus giving him an advantage?
  • I’m not sure letting everyone in is the answer, but I’m damn sure letting the writers decide is not the answer.
  • It’s similar to letting a personal injury lawyer replace your heart valve, not a wise choice.


  • The ‘stache will help because it makes him look like he has a sense of humor.

Monday Morning Discussion Question

Many Cubbies have been training for months already! Seymour has given us a pretty good run down of those he spotted at camp while he was there last month, and that paired with some off-season moves gives me hope that I didn’t expect to have this year. How about you? Are you feeling:

a.) hopeful
b.) indifferent
c.) discouraged

Or some combination? And why?

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (VFTB and/or Chet’s Corner and/or GirlieView) and Facebook (VFTB and/or GirlieView)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

GO: Pitching Trade

Friday, February 11th, 2011

For the same exact return, would you rather trade Carlos Zambrano or Carlos Silva, and why?

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: