View From The Bleachers

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Saturday

8

June 2013

35

COMMENTS

Game 58 – Who Are the Building Blocks?

Written by , Posted in General

Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Francisco Liriano – .469 (WPA)


Have you ever gotten so excited to watch a game only to be completely disappointed and deflated when it was done? You wonder what in the world you got excited about in the first place. That was the feeling I had coming into today. I hadn’t been able to watch a full game in a couple weeks, being busy with work and what time I did have spent watching the Blackhawks run, so I was pretty excited to DVR Friday’s game and watch it last night. I looked to see what the pitching matchup was scheduled to be and was thrilled at what I saw. The score at home app was ready and I was jacked. As I sit here on Saturday morning and tap the keys on my laptop, I can’t figure out what I was excited about. Was I thinking that the Cubs had miraculously gotten an offense to be proud of? The game left me with a blah taste in my mouth. Not bad, just blah. I came away from the game with two main thoughts, both with the future in mind.

WHO ARE THE BUILDING BLOCKS? – As I watched this team on Friday, I began to look forward to the team on the field in, say, three years. Let’s pretend for a moment that the team at that time is not only competitive, but also a World Series contender. Close your eyes for a minute and think about what that team looks like. Who is on that team? Are there names on that 25 man roster that played in yesterday’s game? If so, who are they? I tried this exercise and I’ll admit, I had a hard time coming up with a lot of names that I felt fairly confident penciling their name in as a building block that would be here when this team is productive. Travis Wood was the first name that came to mind because of how well he’s developed. Keith Law was on the radio the other day saying he still felt Wood was a back end of the rotation starter, but that he was useful. I think that ceiling is too low and see him as a # 2. I can definitely see him being a part of the future team. Anthony Rizzo is another name I came up with, but I actually wondered if he’d be a part of this team not solely due to his potential and production, but rather because Theo and particularly Jed seem to be obsessed with him. He’s the equivelant of what Nick Swisher was to Billy Beane in the Moneyball book. He simply has to be on this team or they’ll wet themselves with anxiety. Beyond that, I was hard pressed to find a name. More and more, I wonder if Starlin Castro will be on this list. I have a feeling he won’t. I just don’t see him fitting the mold of what this regime wants on the field and I think he’d be dealt at some point. Maybe I’m missing the boat, but I see a team right now with a lot of guys who will be used as tools in an effort to acquire the talent to bring this team a winning pipeline of talent, and a lot of organizational fillers right now. It’s hard to see a lot of talent beyond that.

DID WE MISS THE MARKET ON DARWIN BARNEY? – Last year, as we headed into the non-waiver deadline for trades, there were pretty serious rumors that the Tigers were interested and kicking the tires on Darwin Barney, who was busy having a gold glove year at second base. In the end, nothing materialized, but the talk was there. Yesterday saw Darwin (a player I really like) go 0-for-5 out of the leadoff hole with three strikeouts. The performance saw his season numbers dip to .213 / .293 / .335. He’s still able to field with the best of them, so there is value there, but for a team hurting for offense, we may have missed a nice chance to trade a no-hit good field infielder for more building blocks.

GAME NOTES

  • Luis Valbuena very much got jobbed in the bottom of the 8th as he was called out swinging on a pitch he clearly held up and checked his swing. Valbuena turned and pleaded with the home plate umpire, Jordan Baker, to ask the third base umpire for help. Unfortunately, officials these days are too prideful and want to make things about them. They routinely have this in their head that people pay to see blue. As a result, Valbuena takes a seat.
  • Starling Marte completely took a hit by pitch on purpose in the top of the 9th. He never even moves as the pitch hit him on the arm. I thought maybe he’d be called out for it, but unfortunately he wasn’t.
  • Jason Grilli had flat out funk nasty stuff yesterday. That dude had some wicket movement on his pitches. I don’t know much about how pitch f/x works, but I bet it would show some junk being thrown by him.
  • Bones

    Castro will be there along with Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, Almora, Baez, Shark and Wood. That, BTW, is one hell of a lineup.

    • Joe Aiello

      Out of those names, only 4 are on the current roster. Also, don’t just automatically assume guys like Soler, Almora, Baez, etc just live up to potential.

      • Jedi

        I assumed he meant it was a great lineup for Daytona.

      • Jedi

        I assumed he meant it was a great lineup for Daytona.

  • Bones

    Castro will be there along with Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, Almora, Baez, Shark and Wood. That, BTW, is one hell of a lineup.

  • long rose

    Castro is another Dunston–much raw talent that never improves. Maybe I’m even giving Castro too much credit with that comparison.

    • Jack F

      I wonder if changing hitting coaches this year has contributed to some of Castro’s woes.

  • long rose

    Castro is another Dunston–much raw talent that never improves. Maybe I’m even giving Castro too much credit with that comparison.

    • Jack F

      I wonder if changing hitting coaches this year has contributed to some of Castro’s woes.

  • Sean Powell

    IDK – Castro is still 23, and may just be going through growing pains. I’d like to see it happen now in a “lost” season than down the road when we’re trying to be competitive. He may never pan-out like we hoped, but it’s still too early to write him off. As for Rizzo, even with the recent sorta slump, he still has an OPS of .809 and is tied for third in the NL in XBH. I think his play on the field alone will keep him on the team.

  • Sean Powell

    IDK – Castro is still 23, and may just be going through growing pains. I’d like to see it happen now in a “lost” season than down the road when we’re trying to be competitive. He may never pan-out like we hoped, but it’s still too early to write him off. As for Rizzo, even with the recent sorta slump, he still has an OPS of .809 and is tied for third in the NL in XBH. I think his play on the field alone will keep him on the team.

  • We do have good hitters-when they choose to hit. It’d be nice if Castro and Rizzo could decide they should hit for what they’re being paid. And I don’t care if Barney’s got a Gold Glove; if he’s not hitting, we eithander need to demote or trade him.

    BTW, the Tigers’ 2B, Omar Infante, is a good hitter and a decent fielder. That being said, I don’t know the terms of his contract and he may have too much of a following here for the Tigers brass to be willing to trade him. Also, I don’t know any Mud Hens 2B that would be good enough to trade.

    And to me, there is little worse than losing to a team whose fans show up only when they’re winning. Yes, I know fans don’t affect hitting and scoring. But look at us: standing by a team that the media ignores and puts down. Where were the Pirates fans on Opening Day? Wrigley was certainly busy on its Opening Day. The Cubs have to be better than this, or the brass is full of lying idiots.

    • Jedi

      Right, I’m sure the problem is that Castro and Rizzo have decided that hitting isn’t all that fun and they’d rather just suck.

      • No, I’m not that stupid; I’m snarky. I just wonder what they or the coaches are doing that could be causing the slump right now.

  • We do have good hitters-when they choose to hit. It’d be nice if Castro and Rizzo could decide they should hit for what they’re being paid. And I don’t care if Barney’s got a Gold Glove; if he’s not hitting, we eithander need to demote or trade him.

    BTW, the Tigers’ 2B, Omar Infante, is a good hitter and a decent fielder. That being said, I don’t know the terms of his contract and he may have too much of a following here for the Tigers brass to be willing to trade him. Also, I don’t know any Mud Hens 2B that would be good enough to trade.

    And to me, there is little worse than losing to a team whose fans show up only when they’re winning. Yes, I know fans don’t affect hitting and scoring. But look at us: standing by a team that the media ignores and puts down. Where were the Pirates fans on Opening Day? Wrigley was certainly busy on its Opening Day. The Cubs have to be better than this, or the brass is full of lying idiots.

    • Jedi

      Right, I’m sure the problem is that Castro and Rizzo have decided that hitting isn’t all that fun and they’d rather just suck.

      • No, I’m not that stupid; I’m snarky. I just wonder what they or the coaches are doing that could be causing the slump right now.

  • BLPCB

    Off-topic, but speaking of Mike Scoscia as we were last week, but today’s game he showed why he is a great manager. With Trout and Hamilton at 2nd and 1st, no outs, and Pujols at the plate, he ordered a double steal. Both guys were safe, Pujols hit a sac fly, Hamilton advanced to 3rd, and then scored on a groundout. 2 outs brought in 2 runs because of that double steal

    • Jedi

      Yes, giving Mike Trout the green light – that’s some serious coaching there.

      • BLPCB

        So with no outs and Pujols at the plate you would order a double steal?

      • Jedi

        No matter the situation, Trout has a green light in my book. He’s smart enough to know that if it’s a risk he better be absolutely sure he gets the base. Hamilton is right to trail him. Plus Pujols isn’t exactly an automatic RBI these days…

      • BLPCB

        Well had they not gone for that double steal, Pujols’ flyout sends Trout to 3rd, now runners are at the corners with 1 out, and then Trumbo’s ground ball is an inning ending twin kill

  • AC0000000

    Off-topic, but speaking of Mike Scoscia as we were last week, but today’s game he showed why he is a great manager. With Trout and Hamilton at 2nd and 1st, no outs, and Pujols at the plate, he ordered a double steal. Both guys were safe, Pujols hit a sac fly, Hamilton advanced to 3rd, and then scored on a groundout. 2 outs brought in 2 runs because of that double steal

    • Jedi

      Yes, giving Mike Trout the green light – that’s some serious coaching there.

      • AC0000000

        So with no outs and Pujols at the plate you would order a double steal?

      • Jedi

        No matter the situation, Trout has a green light in my book. He’s smart enough to know that if it’s a risk he better be absolutely sure he gets the base. Hamilton is right to trail him. Plus Pujols isn’t exactly an automatic RBI these days…

      • AC0000000

        Well had they not gone for that double steal, Pujols’ flyout sends Trout to 3rd, now runners are at the corners with 1 out, and then Trumbo’s ground ball is an inning ending twin kill

  • ccak123

    I thought I might be the only one who has been feeling that Castro’s stock is dropping rapidly as this year progresses, so this article lets me know what I’m seeing is real. Granted, the season is still young and improvements can be made, but the showing so far is not impressive.

    • Jeremy Johnson

      Yeah, you are the only one noticing that he’s hitting .240. Good eye.

      • ccak123

        .240 means very little to me. A player can be hitting .240 but appear much better than his batting average may suggest. A .240 hitter could still be mashing, squaring balls up, but his average could be the product of bad luck.

        Castro, on the other hand, swings at any pitch within 2 feet of the zone and looks uncomfortable on the baseball field. He hasn’t squared much up and his outs aren’t the kind of outs that make you feel like he could improve.

      • Jeremy Johnson

        Interestingly enough, the weaker the at-bats, the lower the batting average.

  • ccak123

    I thought I might be the only one who has been feeling that Castro’s stock is dropping rapidly as this year progresses, so this article lets me know what I’m seeing is real. Granted, the season is still young and improvements can be made, but the showing so far is not impressive.

    • Eugene Debs

      Yeah, you are the only one noticing that he’s hitting .240. Good eye.

      • ccak123

        .240 means very little to me. A player can be hitting .240 but appear much better than his batting average may suggest. A .240 hitter could still be mashing, squaring balls up, but his average could be the product of bad luck.

        Castro, on the other hand, swings at any pitch within 2 feet of the zone and looks uncomfortable on the baseball field. He hasn’t squared much up and his outs aren’t the kind of outs that make you feel like he could improve.

      • Eugene Debs

        Interestingly enough, the weaker the at-bats, the lower the batting average.