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KG, do you see any chance of Jay Jackson bouncing back? Was he just injured last year? I was kind of surprised that he stayed in AAA all year despite how desperate the big league club was for starting pitching.
I'm actually hoping they use Jeff Baker as Pena's backup at 1b. That way they can pack more RHB in the lineup against LHP (putting Barney in at 2b).
Seriously. Not only was it their marketing campaign last year, they seem to have stuck with it for 2011. It's still in the banner at cubs.com
It's still much better than the Cubs "It's a way of life"
Kosuke, and probably DeWitt
The Cubs may have 'added' 2.4 WARP with Garza, but he's replacing Gorzelanny, and the Cubs had some SP depth already. Though looking at Gorzo's PECOTA prediction I guess it isn't as big of a deal as it is with other systems.
The Cardinals might not be able to spend enough money to sign the best player in the game, but that doesn't mean their hands are tied in general. Even without Pujols I expect them to put together some pretty good teams.
Assuming that Garza is a 2-3 win improvement over Gorz is a bit of a stretch. FWIW some of the other projection systems (notably, CAIRO) have Garza behind Gorz.
True, but you have to look at the whole year. It's not like they're going to sit Garza or any other flyball pitcher from June-August. Even when there isn't wind blowing out Wrigley is not a big park by any means.
My issue is more due to the fact that the Cubs had a ton of pre-arb guys who could have contributed for cheaper (and ownership has been making noises about reducing payroll). Maybe none of them work out, since what prospects do best is fail, but some if not all of Archer, Jay Jackson, Mcnutt, Coleman, Cashner or Carpenter should be ready to contribute in 2012.
His flyball tendencies could hurt him in a hitters' park like Wrigley. He could pull a Ted Lilly on us, but I don't really see him as doing much better than Lilly did in his stint with the Cubs.
It's only a win for the Cubs if you believe they're in contention. It's also entirely possible (or even likely) that the Cards, Reds, and Brewers are all ahead of them in 2010. Garza's a great pitcher but he's not a game-changer, and the Cubs were already stacked with pitching. It seems like a real head-scratcher to me.
Plus as far as the rest of the depth chart goes, why not just fill in the blanks with replacement level players?
Clay, maybe I'm missing something here. I don't see how the Pecotas would have to change based on your team projections. Don't you have a season simulator already for your playoff odds predictions? I would seem to me that pecota and the depth charts would just be the inputs to this, which would give the final projected standings. Am I crazy here?
Harry Pavlidis's pitch f/x work showed that Z's cutter was his best pitch, so this seems like a bit of a head-scratcher to me.
Are they really that screwed though? It's not like the Cubs are a small-market team. Even Soriano's 18m/year deal isn't going to hurt the Cubs, with a payroll north of 130 million, as it would teams like the Royals or Pirates. Theit farm sytem is on it's way up too, to either make an impact with the team or through a trade (and Hendry is a pretty good trader).
I don't think there's any doubt that Ramirez will opt-out after this season unless he suffers another terrible shoulder injury.
The Cubs have done a good job with Dempster since he joined the club. He was healthy in his first season as starter in 2008, and his only DL stint last season was due to a broken toe from jumping over the dugout to celebrate a win. Why cast doubt on the medical staff for that? IIRC he came back more quickly than was originally forecasted as well.
Haven't you been predicting Z to collapse for years now based on his years under Baker? He finally went on the DL last season after years of doom-and-gloom. Saying that ANY pitcher will have injury problems over an vaguely specified long time frame isn't that bold of a prediction.
Did you even look at the Cubs payroll before saying this? Three years is a pretty long time. Soriano is the only player who's still under contract 3 years from now. Lee, Ramirez, and Lilly should all be gone next year, Fukudome the year after that, and Z the following year.
Matt - how would you go about calculating the percent value with a player who posted negative WAR in one season? E.g. someone who posts a -0.5 WAR in the first year and 0.5 in the second, for an aggregate of 0 WAR
Agreed. That's what got me into this stuff. Eventually I got so interested in baseball research that I didn't have time to do MLB anymore
Ah, that's what I was confused by. I was trying to back out stuff like FIP from the depth charts and was getting some wild numbers.
Something I haven't seen mentioned about the playing time estimates is how the stats are scaled for them. For example, in the Cubs depth chart, Jeff Samardzija is projected to throw 44 innings and give up 111 hits, despite having a 1.67 WHIP. This seems to be a problem with some of the spot starters on other teams as well (like Boggs and Hawksworth for the Cardinals)
There's definitely something very wrong with your spot starter projections. I think Samardzija and Silva stink, but there's no way he gives up 111 hits in only 44 innings. The hits and walks aren't consistent with the WHIP number given there either.
What kind of batted ball data do you have to generate these angles? I don't know a ton about the UZR underpinnings either. Does it all come from the project scoresheet data, and you're converting the zones to angles?
When the current voters are replaced by people who understand pitcher values, the Mariano Riveras of the world will still not win major awards, because these people understand pitching values.
When has the most valuable pitcher in a league EVER been a reliever? Even in 2003, when Gagne won the Cy, he was the 9th best pitcher in the NL.
Thanks Kevin - didn't know about the age stuff. What do scouts think of his defense?
Kevin, what do you think of Marquez Smith? He's got great minor league batting numbers and IIRC has won a defensive award or two. Could he be the bridge 3b between Ramirez and Vitters?
oops. word = award
I'm not a big fan of this idea at all. And I disagree with you and Jayson - if anything they should name this word after Mariano Rivera.
Not to mention that he pitched well in those two playoff starts - his infield defense let him down big time in the second one.
I posted a broader look at this over at the blog I post at, If you're interested. http://www.anothercubsblog.net/2010-articles/january/will-ramirez-stick-around-after-2010.html
Good point. Ramirez still has a big stick though, and has been more valuable over the past several seasons. He still posted a higher WAR than Beltre in 2009 despite separating his shoulder and missing half the season, and has posted 4-5 WAR seasons ever since he joined the Cubs. I'd be shocked if the Angels still weren't interested in backing up the truck for him. I suspect that Beltre has been so underrated for so long that he's overrated now.
For what it's worth, Fukudome wasn't this hopeless vs LHP in Japan. Small sample caveats should apply - he only has 218 PAs vs LHP. He's not going to crush LHP, but it's highly unlikely that he's nearly as hopeless as his MLB performance has indicated
Agreed here too. Kevin, did you look at any value stats before writing this piece?
oskinner mentioned it above, but almost everyone, especially Cubs fans, seems to forget that Ramirez can opt out after this season. Unless he's badly injured again, there's very little chance that he won't. He'd have a much easier chance at cashing in on another multi-year deal after 2010 than he will after 2012. I'd like to think that he'd like to stay with the Cubs, since he re-signed with them the first time he opted out despite the Angels supposedly gassing up a dump truck full of money to send his way. But it's definitely not something to count on