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February 2014

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Can The Cubs Win With Castro & Baez

Written by , Posted in General

If you follow the Cubs even a little, you probably saw all the tweets yesterday about the batting practice session of Javier Baez. If not, let’s just say that he did some damage:

It, no doubt, has Cubs fans excited about the future. The talent is there for him to be an impact offensive player with MVP potential at the plate. But what about the glove? And what will happen should Starlin Castro turn things around this year? The obvious choice would be to shift one of the two to second base and leave one at shortstop, but what does that do to our defense?

In 2013, both players played shortstop exclusively. Castro committed 22 errors (a career low), and Baez committed 44. That’s almost 70 errors between the two of them. Can we afford that type of defensive production in the center of the diamond where a team is supposed to be the strongest.

There are those who love MLB betting and will consult sites like live betting at williamhill to get their odds. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Cubs aren’t projected to win a lot of games this year (unless you speak with Tom Ricketts), but that they are close and could even be competitive in 2015. Can that happen with such poor defense up the middle? Just to give you an idea, the World Champion Red Sox last year had Dustin Pedroia and Stephen Drew up the middle. They combined for a total of 13 errors all season. That’s almost half of Castro alone.

I’m concerned about the defense. I love the bats, but I’m nervous about the gloves. I have actually begun to wonder if the long term plan needs to involve dealing one of the two in an effort to balance the system a little and acquire much needed pitching help, particularly in the starting rotation. It’s clear from the recent evaluations of the farm system that the system is top heavy on hitting and lacks the arms. Perhaps a move to deal one of the two will solve that issue.

 

  • PLCB3

    Are they making fielding or throwing errors? It matters very much if the error is fielding or throwing.

  • PLCB3

    Speaking of fielding, I have a Random thought: When a fielder boots a ground ball that would have been a double play but instead everyone is safe, and then both runners score, only 1 run is unearned because you can’t assume a double play, which is fine and the way it ought to be. But now, when the defense is trying to turn a twin kill, and an out is made at 2nd, and then the throw to first is dropped by the 1B or pulls him off the bag. On its own, such a play is called an error. But because of the out at 2B, the runner is declared safe on a fielder’s choice. The defense is not charged with an error unless the batter-runner advances a base. Why? You’re not assuming a twin kill. We can say with certainty that there would have been an out at 1B had the throw not been dropped or pulled the 1B off the bag. Why should the fact that there was an out at 2B change it from an error to a fielder’s choice?

  • Dusty Baylor

    I think it’s prudent to worry about the defense. Sure. I’d like to see Baez this year, and see how he improves after another full season, and a year of maturity. Castro cut his errors last year by 5. If he can do that again, he’ll be in a respectable range, keeping his Total Chances the same of course ideally.

    • PLCB3

      Random thought, part due: Why does range factor only account for outs? Why doesn’t it account for errors as well? Range factor should tell us how many balls a fielder got to, not how many outs he made. You can’t make an error unless you field the ball. If the fielder gets to the ball, but his throw pulls the 1B off the bag, he gets charged with an error. But now if the ball gets through, the runner is on via hit, and the fielder doesn’t get charged with an error.

  • Doc Raker

    If they can hit we need them in the line up. A good hitter can improve his defense as we have seen with Aram and Soriano of recent past. A good defender that can not hit can not learn to hit better. Baez and Castro’s defense may not be elite right now but that could improve with time and if Baez isn’t solid up the middle but can rake maybe a move to 3b would be worthwhile while leaving a middle infield spot to a better defender.