Will Cubs Eat Their Young in September?
Today's double-barreled day off for the Chicago and Iowa Cubs seems like a good time to assess how the two teams' fortunes intertwine as their respective seasons round third.
Like their parents the Iowa Cubs enjoy a five game bulge over their nearest divisional pursuers [the Cardinal proteges in Memphis]. Since the PCL regular season ends on Labor Day [Monday, September 1], the I-Cubs are only a couple dozen games away from a likely playoff spot. That likelihood makes the annual speculation about September call-ups a little less idle than in most years.
Here's a quick summary of guys who figure to get some consideration as extras in the claustrophobic dugout at Wrigley:
1. Micah Hoffpauir - What's there to say? The guy's hitting .350+ with 73 RBI's in 49 games! A question of when, not if.
2. Jason Dubois - 20 HR's in 179 AB's figure to get him a few shots when a late-inning PH with power from the right side is called for.
3. Koyie Hill - Got hot along with the weather to get the BA north of .280; also gunning down about a third of enemy base-stealers. A third catcher who switch-hits is a given.
4. Casey McGehee - Has steadily, quietly amassed 76 RBI's while primarily manning 3B; might spell Aramis a time or two if the Chicubs clinch with any room to spare.
5. Felix Pie - Still listed on the active roster but hasn't played in August since he retwisted his testicle or whatever.
6. Andres Torres - Can there be such a thing as a poor man's Angel Pagan? Torres is a switch-hitting OF @ .303 BA, .397 OBP & 17/20 SB's. Remember him in case Felix can't get his balls unknotted.
7. Michael Wuertz - His season has only Wuertzened since the demotion. Despite one gaudy outing of 3 perfect innings that included 7 K's, he's racked up a 6.30 ERA in 10 Iowa innings so far.
8. Mitch Atkins - Not likely, but just so you'll know, this guy is 5-0 with a 3.90 ERA since coming up from Tennessee. His last start read as follows: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K's.
At some point there will be decisions to make about how many battle fronts the organization wants to fight on simultaneously. Troops may have to be pulled from the PCL playoffs to enable a September surge in the NL Central or simply to give the frontliners some R&R before the REAL playoffs begin in October.
Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.
seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.
I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.
I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.
Cardinals, stop that. Right now.
In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.
vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.
while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.
Carl Jr.! Very nice!
Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.
m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.
...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.
I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.
2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.
welcome back fowler.
More slow news...
Did Davey Martinez have to bring the shotgun?
glad to see almora going to AAA to get work.
.265/.291/.422 through 86PA...2hr, 7 doubles.
i don't expect too much of an improvement when he's taking over CF next year, but the team doesn't really need him right now as much as they need him to get regular work (imo).
CHITOWNMVP01: The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) has had one slot open since 7/6 (when RHRP Joel Peralta was Designated for Assignment).
The problem with the September roster is all of the pitching changes. They should find a way to limit pitchers to twelve except for extra inning games. More pinch hitters or pinch runners do little to slow the game down and are more fun than endless calls to the bullpen. I also think the fans get cheated when they use position players to pitch because employed a half dozen pitchers with righty-lefty switches. Having as few as four positions players on the bench to start a game also leads to some pretty ugly defensive substitutions.