Down to Single Digits … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The countdown to pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Fitch Park has reached the single digits … just nine more days before Cubs Camp begins.

While Yoenis Cespedes was receiving a tour of the Marlins’ new stadium, the Cubs released their television schedule for the upcoming season. Opening Day from Wrigley Field against the Nationals (April 5) will be televised on WGN TV … along with at least 62 other games this season. The Cubs complete 162-game schedule will be televised this season with 63 on WGN TV, 80 on Comcast SportsNet, eight on WCIU and eight on FOX. The broadcast schedule currently lists three games as TBD (to be determined) that will either air on ESPN, WGN or FOX. The Cubs 2012 season concludes on WGN on Wednesday, October 3 against the Astros at Wrigley Field. Of course, Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will call all of the games on 720 WGN.

The Cubs farm system was in the news again. MLB.com released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Cubs system for 2012 and Keith Law unveiled his annual organizational rankings.

Here is the update … that includes more on Yoenis Cespedes.

Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes spent Wednesday in Miami touring the Marlins’ new ballpark. According to ESPN, Wednesday was the first stop of his tour of interested clubs.

Cespedes told the Miami media, in Spanish, that he believes the Marlins can compete for a World Series championship this season. Cespedes apparently likes the idea of playing in Miami due to the support he figures to receive from the large Cuban community.

According to a report from Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins would not say whether or not they offered Cespedes a contract during his visit. The Post reported that Cespedes is believed to have meetings scheduled with other teams Thursday and Friday before he returns to the Dominican Republic.

Yoenis Cespedes has not received his unblocking license from the OFAC. Cespedes can negotiate, and even agree to terms with a team, but until he is unblocked he cannot report to Spring Training or sign a contract.

Prospects and the Cubs Farm System
MLB.com released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Cubs’ system for 2012. After ranking Brett Jackson higher than Anthony Rizzo in their top 100 prospects in the game, they flipped Jackson and Rizzo for their Cubs’ list.

1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
2. Brett Jackson, OF
3. Javier Baez, SS
4. Matt Szczur, OF
5. Chris Carpenter, RHP
6. Dillon Maples, RHP
7. Trey McNutt, RHP
8. Rafael Dolis, RHP
9. Rob Whitenack, RHP
10. Reggie Golden, OF
11. Junior Lake, SS
12. Josh Vitters, 3B
13. Ronald Torreyes, 2B
14. Ben Wells, RHP
15. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
16. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
17. Gioskar Amaya, SS/2B
18. Marco Hernandez, SS/2B
19. Dave Sappelt, OF
20. Pin-Chieh Chen, OF

Under the Radar: Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Hitter of the Year: Javier Baez, SS
Pitcher of the Year: Ben Wells, RHP

MLB.com’s Cubs Organization Preview
MLB.com’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects

Keith Law released his ranking of the farm systems Wednesday. Law listed the Cubs has having the 20th best system in the game. As for the Cubs system, Law said, “An unfairly maligned system in my opinion – not a great system, but not a disastrous one. And I say that as someone who’s relatively bearish on some of the Cubs’ more famous prospects.”

And here is a video from the Smokies’ manager luncheon on Monday.

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA Projections
Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA player projections Wednesday. Here are the early PECOTA projections for several players on the Cubs’ roster … and how they might fare at the plate or on the mound during the upcoming season.

Marlon Byrd – .281/.332/.416 with 30 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs (570 PA)
Alfonso Soriano – .254/.304/.459 with 18 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs (343 PA)
Reed Johnson – .265/.313/.373 with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs (203 PA)
David DeJesus – .274/.342/.404 with 25 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs (593 PA)
Geovany Soto – .259/.345/.453 with 26 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs (505 PA)
Jeff Baker – .256/.310/.390 with 18 doubles, two triples, eight home runs (366 PA)
Ian Stewart – .238/.319/.424 with 21 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs (527 PA)
Bryan LaHair – .263/.329/.463 with 17 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs (350 PA)
Starlin Castro – .298/.332/.410 with 36 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs (695 PA)
Darwin Barney – .274/.307/.353 with 23 doubles, three triples, three home runs (523 PA)

Kerry Wood – 3-2, 3.65 ERA/1.31 WHIP, two saves in 62 games
Carlos Marmol – 4-2, 2.74 ERA/1.22 WHIP, 38 saves in 71 games
Ryan Dempster - 10-14, 4.18 ERA/1.37 WHIP in 31 starts
Randy Wells – 8-12, 4.62 ERA/1.43 WHIP in 24 starts
Paul Maholm – 9-15, 4.83 ERA/1.45 WHIP in 29 starts
Chris Volstad – 8-12, 5.19 ERA/1.52 WHIP in 24 starts
Travis Wood - 5-8, 4.60 ERA/1.44 WHIP in 16 starts
Matt Garza – 11-15, 4.01 ERA/1.31 WHIP in 32 starts
Jeff Samardzija – 3-1, 5.29 ERA/1.61 WHIP in 62 games

Please note, due to the subscription only nature of this information only a small part of the long-list of detailed stats are listed. Baseball Prospectus provided projections for the entire roster including many of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. While the projections are always interesting to look at before a season begins, these are only projections and should be treated as such.

WGN Radio Contest

WGNSongContest.jpg

WGN Radio has asked the CCO to help promote their latest contest … write the official WGN Radio Cubs Song for the 2012 season. For those baseball fans that are also musicians this could end up being your bring break.

All entries must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

Click here for more information and the official rules from WGN Radio.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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  • Vivid_Reality

    PECOTA really hates our rotation. 4.01 1.31 for Garza? Thats a bit much.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Not really. They are telling you that Garza had a better than average year for himself, and are looking for a pull-back in 2012. The stats they project are simply his career average stats. So they are saying “2012 will be an average year for Garza.”

      Garza’s career WHIP is 1.303. So they are just calling for an average year there.

      Career ERA is 3.83, but remember last year’s 3.32 was a career best that lowered what his previous career ERA of 3.97. Their projection of a 4.01 ERA
      is really saying that he’s going to allow one more run in 2012 that he would in an average year. And that’s reasonable considering that his defense has declined in 2012 over what it was in 2011: Pena is better than LaHair at 1B.

      So I’d call it a reasonable projection. Remember: without the support of his teammates, even great players sag statistically.

      I

      • cubs1967

        Garza’s career ERA is 3.83; but he is in his prime and out of the AL East…..that’s a useless projection.  it’s not gonna be over 4.
        Castro’s not gonna regress to below .300.
        Smardz over  5??…junk
        Volstad-Maholm-TWood could all be right…..they are bad.  The Marshall trade was horrid.
        How scary for Cubs fans if the farm crappy Reds system R Torryeyes is 1 notch below our #3 pick from 2007!  Ouch.

        • daverj

          You say that “Castro’s not gonna regress below .300″.  What is that based on?  Have you looked at his 2011 BABIP?  Which of his underlying skill stats did you base your prediction on?  I think Castro will continue to improve and may hit around .300 again, but his skill stats from last year indicate that he was lucky last year and was more of a .280/.290ish hitter than a .300 guy.

          • gary3411

             When you hit the ball hard, your BABIP goes up. Castro hits the ball HARD (line drives, 1-2 hoppers through the infield) very consistently. That is why he has a high BABIP, not because he is lucky. He will have a higher BABIP than the average player his entire career. He will never bat under .300 unless injuries or off-field situations get to him.

            I havn’t looked but I’d be willing to bet his rookie year he had an above average BABIP as well, because he hit the ball hard, not because he happened to hit it where they weren’t. And this trend will continue as long as he keeps hitting the ball hard.

            If you’re talking about a slap hitter like Juan Pierre, now that is someone you can use BABIP for to conclude if they had a luckier season or not because they rarely hit the ball hard, and must rely and dunks and dinks.

          • daverj

            You are correct that Casto’s BABIP was also much higher than the average player in 2010 … maybe he can sustain it, maybe it will regress some (and still be higher than league average as he has been way above league average the past 2 seasons).

            That said, the “hard hit ball” data I have seen on Castro does not indicate that Castro has more “hard hits” than many other players who have lower BABIPs.  So, I’m not sure that hitting the ball hard would explain his higher BABIP.  Castro does have good speed and an above-average amount of ground balls so maybe beating out grounders is the answer for the high BABIP … or, it might be luck.  We’ll see what happens.

            If I were projecting Castro’s batting average for 2012, I would say .290ish.  I hope you are right though and he finishes over .300!

          • gary3411

            Who gives out the hard ball data? Just wondering, I’d like to look at that and am intrigued.

          • daverj

            Moved my response to your question up since it is getting pretty skinny in this box.

          • daverj

            Baseballhq.com has data for each player broken down (by percentage of each) by into (1) Hard Hit Balls, (2) Medium Hit Balls, and (3) Soft Hit Balls. It is a subscription site that is mostly used by people who play fantasy baseball.  I find their sabermetric statistical analysis to be the most advanced stuff out there that is also presented in a form easily understand by an everyday baseball fan.

          • gary3411

             Hm, wish I could view this website. I’d also be curious how they distinguish between the 3. Are only frozen ropes, homeruns, and gappers considered hard hit? Or I wonder if hard grounders (2-3 hops) count too.

            Also, I assume they consider humpback liners to be medium hit balls, but at the same time those are one of the best ways to get hits, and often a result of the natural swing, which Castro seems to be good at, and Chipper Jones is the master of.

            I’m just surprised Castro isn’t near the top of hard hit balls, I bet if they divided it into 1-5 instead of 1-3 a lot of his 2’s would turn into 4’s.

            Another reason I thought of why Castro may have a higher BABIP than expected is he seems to drive the ball to all fields evenly, this is not the case for many players, and teams can shade their players based on the situation and pitch coming and tendency to pull hurting a player’s BABIP if done correctly. I havn’t seen Castro’s spray chart, but he seems to go to all fields with all pitches, meaning a shift can’t hurt his BABIP. That I may be wrong on though, havn’t seen the spray chart.

            But I agree an accurate hard ball/BABIP ratio should help determine a player’s luck the easiest, but I HOPE these 3 reasons are why Castro’s BABIP will stay above average:

            1)hard grounders result in more hits than hard fly balls

            2)ability to hit to all fields, minimizing a shift

            3)humpback linedrives (which are probably considered a medium hit ball)

            I have not analyzed every at-bat but these seem to be trends with him that will continue, so those and not to mention he’s 21 and should get better understanding how pitchers are trying to work him and get stronger is why I think he will stay north of 300 for a long time.

          • Dorasaga

            I just want to say that I’m so happy to read Cubs fans debating WHY Castro has a higher babip than… say, 98% of the world’s best athletes.

            Hitting balls hard has everything to do with high-babip, so are all other things. Hitters can control his own babip to a larger extent than previously thought, as recent analysts found. Bat control, knowing when (timing) to hit, how to hit (zone), where to hit (putting balls in play), they all come together.

            I’m happy to keep Castro on my fantasy team. He’s marvel and natural.

          • cubs1967

            his BABIP in 2010 was .344, 2011 was .346. Some guys just have higher BABIPs.  2nd, Bill James has him at .312 for 2012 and Fangraphs has him at .307.  Both have him with BABIPs in the .340s. 3rd, his RAR was 21 in 2010, up to 32 in 2011, so he is improving.
            4th, Castro can rake, and I think he’ll just get better as he learns the pitchers better and gets bigger and stronger…..he’s only 22.  He can hit .330 all day long with just a little more patience and knowing of the pitchers, which takes time.
            the only bad part is this team sucks…BIG time and there is no protection behind him….remember for all the hatred of ARam….he hit .306 and won the Silver Slugger……so walking Castro to get to Aram sounds bad compared to this year of lahair or soriano??
            i’d walk castro all day long or let him swing at bad pitches…….hope the genius team theo didn’t set him up for that.

          • gary3411

             Nobody’s going to be pitching around a guy who hit 10 HR’s last year. Sure they’ll keep trying to exploit weaknesses. But putting a guy on base with stolen base capability and limited power (right now) makes zero sense. Even if there is nobody behind him.

            Now, if he starts dropping bombs with like 10-12 dingers and 15 doubles/triples by the end of May or something, yes teams will start pitching around him if no one is showing protection behind him. I’m not sure he will develop his power that quick though and will continue his line-drive stroke while steadily increasing HR’s over the next 3 years.

          • cubs1967

            hmmmmmm…Castro or Lahair??…or swing and miss Sori??…yeah you are completely wrong as Castro is the only guy in the starting line-up who could even hit .280! who cares about the homers….if a guy is on 2nd and the winning run…what does a homer do when a single wins the game.
            that was a horrible attempt.
            please….do better than that.

          • gary3411

             Ok yes, in that situation you would walk Castro. I meant in situations where there is not an open base. I would walk Castro with a winning run on second and open base at first no matter who was batting behind him excluding maybe 4-5 Major League hitters.

            Are you saying in all situation’s where there isn’t a guy on second or third with first open, you would just walk Castro?? Based on who’s hitting behind him? What does batting average have to do with anything? If you walk the guy he’s hitting 1.000. The reason you pitch around guy’s based on nobody hitting behind them is their threat to hit a home run. Why would you pitch around a guy to prevent a single or doube?

            But, yes the FEW situation’s with RISP and first base open, he may want to throw that hitter a few more offspead pitches out of the zone with nobody behind him, but that happens to most teams’ best hitters, even if they do have a decent hitter batting behind them.

            First inning, Dejesus gets a double, Barney strikes out, are you saying they will just walk Castro every time in this situation and give him nothing to hit? No chance. If they do that gives us the advantagee.

          • gary3411

             There is a better attempt, I didn’t think it had to be explained in such depth, thought it was obvious, my fault.

          • gary3411

             Castro WILL see plenty of pitches to hit this year. And if not for some crazy outrageous reason, good he’ll learn how to take a walk and it will benefit the team in the future.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JKQGSH67PHSCQL7OCOLRJHIGY TomO

    Prediction: If Marmol can get his WHIP down to 1.22 as PECOTA portends, then he’ll be gone the trade deadline.

  • http://gladiatorblog.blogspot.com/ SirGladiator

    Those are extremely bad guesses about our pitchers, the only exception being Marmol.  Its obviously far more likely that Garza’s ERA will be 3.01 than 4.01, he’s only getting better, as last season showed.  For most of our players, these numbers represent not what they’re likely to do, but what they’re likely to do if they have a bad year.  If Garza has a bad year, ERA of 4.  If Volstad has a bad year, ERA of 5.  But if they have good years, they each could easily post ERAs of around 3, as they demonstrated in the second half of last year.  The one good thing about these numbers is that they’re going to keep people taking us too lightly, they won’t see our Championship run coming!

    • mike1040

      “they won’t see our Championship run coming!”

      You enjoy that blue koolaid now! We suck.
      We will be lucky not to lose 100 games with the lineup as it is now.

  • Schwimmer

    Does anyone know “how accurate” PECOTA projections tend to be?

    After reading what they project for CUB players…I’m ready to call up 
    Dr. Kervorkian’s replacement!

    Their projection is extremely pessimistic!

    Have any of my fellow CUB fans…followed PECOTA to render an opinion as to whether I should place that phone call?  Or, just ignore PECOTA?  :)

    • Aaron

      This is what last year’s predictions were (*-indicates actual):
      Marlon Byrd – .283/.341/.428 with 31 doubles and 12 home runs
      *.276/.324/.395, 22 doubles, 9 hr

      Starlin Castro – .285/.321/.386 with 24 doubles and 3 home runs

      *.307/.341/.432, 36 doubles, 10 hr

      Tyler Colvin – .253/.299/.430 with 22 doubles and 17 home runs

      *.150/.204/.306, 8 doubles, 6 hr

      Kosuke Fukudome – .256/.363/.394 with 25 doubles and 11 home runs

      *.273/.374/.369, 15 doubles, 3 hr

      Carlos Pena – .230/.355/.469 with 21 doubles and 31 home runs
      *.225/.357/.462, 27 doubles, 28 hr

      Aramis Ramirez – .280/.350/.485 with 27 doubles and 23 home runs

      *.306/.361/.510, 35 doubles, 26 hr

      Alfonso Soriano – .264/.325/.479 with 32 doubles and 26 home runs

      *.244/.289/.469, 27 doubles, 26 hr

      Geovany Soto – .274/.368/.474 with 23 doubles and 18 home runs
      *.228/.310/.411, 26 doubles, 17 hr

      Andrew Cashner – 5-5 in 36 games, 11 starts, with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP

      *0-0 in 7 games, 1 start, 1.69 ERA, 0.656 WHIP

      Ryan Dempster – 9-8 in 24 starts with a 4.10 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP
      *10-14 in 34 starts, 4.80 ERA, 1.448 WHIP

      Matt Garza – 12-10 in 31 starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP

      *10-10, 31 starts, 3.32 ERA, 1.258 WHIP

      Carlos Marmol – 5-2 with 17 saves in 96 games with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP

      *2-6, 75 games, 4.01 ERA, 1.378 WHIP

      Carlos Silva – 9-12 in 28 starts with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP
      *DNP

      Randy Wells – 9-10 in 26 starts with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP
      *7-6, 23 starts, 4.99 ERA, 1.389 WHIP

      Kerry Wood – 2-1 with 11 saves in 47 games with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP
      *3-5, 55 games, 3.35 ERA, 1.294 WHIP

      Carlos Zambrano – 12-11 in 31 starts with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP
      *9-7, 24 starts, 4.82 ERA, 1.442 WHIP

      As you can see, they were fairly close on some of the pitching, but not really the hitting. For the life of me, if PECOTA predicts doubles, home runs, and SLG, I don’t know why they won’t go out on a limb and predict RBI

      • Schwimmer

        Great job.  I know it takes time to gather such information.  Thank you so much.

        I agree with your analysis.  Seems like PECOTA has a better fix on Pitchers than hitters.

        Wonder why they don’t show RBI production?  Good question.

      • gocubs

        They don’t predict RBIs because its kind of by-product stat, not something the batter actually can control or has too much to do with. RBI production is dependent on where you hit in the order and if there are guys on base in front of you…not really something that can  predicted or really even relevant.  RBI production doesn’t tell you much about a hitter other than were they hit in the order and if guys happen to be on base in front of them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

      They usually are very accurate, but they are also wrong sometimes.  MLB network had a segment on it.  The only time they really get it wrong by alot, is if a player has a horrible year (like Carl Crawford) or if they have a career year (like Jacoby Elsbury)  They had Tim Lincecum’s numbers spot on, like off by only 0.01 on his ERA last year.

      • John_CC

         Sorry Jason, but maybe you wrote this before Aaron posted last year’s projections vs. reality.  PECOTA is far from infallible.

        I don’t know what you consider “accurate” but I’d say majority of the Cubs’ hitter’s projections were not accurate. “Close” maybe, but not accurate.

    • daverj

      Their system is based on real statistics (unlike many fans that make projections based on gut or what they have watched in a small sample size) so that makes their projections better than what the vast majority of fans could project.  That said, if future performance were possible to project with real accuracy, the sabermetric guys would be spending their time in Vegas and not publishing “projections”.

      I’d say that PECOTA is better than anything a typical baseball fan could come up with, but certainly far from perfect.  That’s why they play the games …

      • gary3411

         I’d be willing to bet many on here could come just as close with their projections. It doesn’t take a genius to average previous years’ stats together. In fact, I bet most would have predicted Castro and Garza to have far better years than PECOTA did last year, which are the 2 they missed on big time, and both should have been obvious with Castro maturing and Garza moving from AL East to NL Central, not to mention his stuff is better than his numbers were pre-2011.

        • daverj

          There’s much more to PECOTA than averaging previous years stats.  The 3 years running average is the biggest contributor to the predictions (as it should be), but other adjustments are made based on age and underlying skill stats.  

          Yes, most Cub fans would have predicted better years for Castro and Garza, but those same fans probably would have been more optimistic than PECOTA on other Cub players that did not fair so well.

          • gary3411

            I don’t really see any cases where that would have been. Maybe Wells? Even still I don’t think anyone would have said he would have under a 4 era. Maybe Dempster is the only one I could see that we would have predicted a little better than PECOTA, but probably not by much. I don’t think anyone would have said under 3.50. I think we would’ve known not to be bullish on Zambrano, probably predicting about what PETOCA did. I don’t know, I just don’t see what these guy’s do special I guess, how could they have possibly expected a significant decline in slugging percentage by Castro from 2010-2011? Have they looked at the guy’s face? it looked like a 16 year old in 2010. He’s still maturing, there was 100% chance he was going to be stronger in 2011 than 2010. I’m sure they do a good job at looking at the numbers, I just don’t think they critically apply very well, considering all the time and people and resources they spend on it.

          • daverj

            Gary – You make some good points there, but no player’s stats in baseball can be predicted 100% … certainly not a 20 year olds improvement from a solid rookie year.  History is littered with the opposite.

            As to Cubs who performed worse than expected … How many Cub fans would have predicted Marmol’s regression in 2011?

            And while it wasn’t a consensus, there were many posts on CCO last year about how Wells was was going to continue to develop and win 15 games and have an ERA under 4.00.  Dempster also performed well below predictions of many Cub fans.

    • gary3411

       All they do is pick middle of the road averages, that way they can’t be too far off in either direction. They rarely take into account injuries from previous years, potential, contract year, just signed a big contract, etc. I think they are pointless, and anyone could get just as close as them without much effort. What they may do a decent job of is predicting an entire teams’ performance, but individual players they never go out on a limb.

  • John_CC

    After looking at Aaron’s post of last year’s  projections vs. actual stats, what jumps out at me is how bullish PECOTA is on Soto. They weren’t even close on his slash line last year. It is adjusted down for 2012 but still…if Soto is on pace for a .260 BA / .800 OPS / 20 HR season he will bring in a haul at the break.

    I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • gary3411

      He’s had 890 and 868 previously, I don’t see why he can’t have an 800 season.

      Soto must be very mentally unstable, that is the only reason I can figure for his super-inconsistent years (no way one can get that lucky and that unlucky year to year). In 2012 will he be happy or sad? That’s all I see to base whether he will have a upper800s year or low 700s. But I’d say both are equally possible, which is why PECOTA predicts 798, smack in the middle. They have no inside information, they just don’t want to be off too far in either direction, that is their goal. Imagine if we could have a happy Soto every year? One can dream.

      You do have to consider his weight loss pre-2010 though. I for one thought that his bad 2009 was because of overweight and lack of working hard in the off-season, meaning 2010 was the new and improved Soto to continue for a while. Then 2011 came and that theory went out the window.

      • John_CC

         There are players that appear to fall into an “every other year” cycle of production…who knows why, but it happens.  Geo seems to be falling into this pattern. 

        As you pointed out, Soto has had two very impressive offensive seasons for a catcher. Unfortunately he sandwiched those seasons with OPS of .700 (unacceptable) and .720 (really bad). 

        I stand by my point, if he is heading toward another .800+ OPS season at the break, he will bring a good return of players in a trade.  And he will be traded.

        • Dorasaga

          John, had you realized .720 is the new .770?

          The league average on slugging (hits and long balls weighted) had dropped significantly the last three years, and trending downwards.

          I don’t think Geo.S. will come back and eat the league alive, but if he hits the longball and keep his ops to .720+ while catching well, I’ll live with that. Koyie Hill in the ‘roid Era was hitting .609!

          The Cubs still own Castillo and Clevenger down the wing. Soto will face the pressure of being replaceable.

      • Aaron

        Gary…not sure how long you’ve been around this site but I’ve already answered your question about how inconsistency is part of Soto’s game…in great detail I might add

        Quite frankly, all you need to do with 75%+ of players is look at their minor league stats averaged out and you can predict future success (or lack thereof). Colvin, Wells, and Soto happen to be tremendous examples of how players might have one year wonder type of seasons then disappear entirely…after the league catches up to them. They fall into the 75% category because their minor league stats foreshadowed exactly what they’d bring later on.

        The 25% is what throws everyone for a loop and can be attributed to numerous different variables such as: better coaching, muscle development, and just plain gaining more experience.

        Just do some research as i did a few years ago. What I did was looked at all top players/All-Stars from each league and looked at their minor league stats and it comes as no surprise that your perennial top players were very consistent in the minors…Colvin, Wells and Soto couldn’t have been further from “consistent” in the minors….there you go…there’syour answer

        • gary3411

          Not sure I asked any questions? But glad you responded. I’ve been around for a year or 2 but havn’t read every day. I don’t recall reading extensively into this research you did, maybe I’ll go back and look for it. I don’t really see how Soto is in the same class at Colvin or Wells. Soto’s had 2 monster years and 2 bad years. Colvin had half a good year platooning. Wells had a good rookie year, respectable sophomore year, then injury caused terrible 2011 in my opinion. He came back from injury throwing 84mph vs 88-90 his previous 2 years. Once he settled in and got some velocity back toward the end of the season around late July early August he finished respectable. I don’t think he is going to disappear, but we will see.

          Also, Soto came out of nowhere as a 24 year old in AAA, so I feel that would bring him into the 25% because he obviously found something in his swing or something else we don’t know about that caused this blossoming. Before that he was pretty ‘consistently’ bad. ( one terrible year otherwise 5 years between 699-756ops). Then in 07 BAM 1.076 and before he knows it he’s a big league catcher. If that’s not evidence of “finding something” I’m not sure what is.

          Then way up then way down 08-11, but the question is why the year-by-year inconsistecy? There must be a cause. The cause isn’t his minor league stats, that’s not a cause, that’s his history. His history is not HUGE year TERRIBLE year back and forth back and forth in the minors. It’s pretty hard to be on a ‘streak’ for an entire year then in a slump an entire year, it must have been a mental thing combined with some luck/bad luck. I just hope he somehow finds a middle ground around 830ops.

  • Anthony

    Stats are nice and the plus/minus differences usually are to book with an occasional statistical outlier.

    How this relates to winning versus losing is more about WHEN, for example RISP, and to a further extent, the game situation when WHEN occurs.

    A player can hit .300 with RISP, but it means nothing in a lop-sided game. Show RISP with 2 outs and down one run and it means everything. They say, “timing is everything”.

    The desire for a WS Title aside, in this transitional year, these questions should provide enough interest to follow:

    1. Will Castro hit .300?
    2. Who is the real Ian Stewart?
    3. Does LaHair mash and prove all the doubters wrong?
    4. Any salvation in Soriano?
    5. Does DeJesus’ numbers get better without the Oakland foul areas?
    6. Did Camp Bussie help Barney?

    7. A full season for the 2011 drafted players, who makes noise?
    8. Any “veteran” Cubs minor leaguers open more eyes?

    I would imagine a huge shift in player value will happen. Surprise prospects will arise while others stall. It always happens.

  • Anthony

    The Cubs, Red Sox, Padres, and Selig should be ashamed of themselves for dragging this compensation issue, leaving possible players hangin so close to ST.

    Why didn’t the great Centipede make the 2008 Cuban Olympic Team?

    Top prospect lists are useless, meaningless, and sell magazines

    • daverj

      The vast majority of today’s superstars were at one time at the top of those “meaningless” prospect lists.  Are the lists the be all and end all? … nope.  Are they meaningless? … nope.  One can get some pretty good information by reading enough of them.

    • gary3411

       I agree daverj, how else does the average fan know anything about prospects? They can’t scout them. Nodoby has time to look at every box score of every team throughout the minor league season. It’s cool to look at them and see which teams could have some up and coming youngsters. They have a use, and a meaning. Even if it is to sell magazines, they are still useful to some people who don’t have time to extensively study scouting reports and stats of all minor leaguers of all of baseball. Of course they’re not the most accurate things, but most of these guys I don’t think just throw names up there without doing some work first.

      • Anthony

        gary/daverj, the writers don’t know the players either, nor do they attend and scout, because they are not qualified

        I happen to know many players, met several, watched them play, and know their college coaches, and until you can get involved that closely, you have no idea what these guys are about.

        I read all the websites, North, Bleed, etc., and the fascination for prospect lists, and the worry and concern where the system ranks as a whole, let alone each individual player, and it is wasted energy on the wrong focus

        you don’t have to study “extensive scouting reports and stats” as you mentioned, and yes they do throw names up there without doing the work, they just rely on Draft position and assume the easiest route

        the lists are flawed each season based on two major things

        1. The prior Draft class NEVER attended ST, nor ever prepared for a baseball season without the academic requirements of either high school or college, mainly college

        2. High school players have not faced the GRIND yet, the travel, the time management, playing every day, playing against better competition, the cream of the crop, seeing 93mph in A ball versus 78 mph in High School

        yet, Baez is the next .350 hitter because they say so, or Vogelbach is the next Prince, PLEASE, relax and watch, and wait

        Nobody knows yet,

        but instead, these Clowns cast aside some players who have proved it so far in Pro baseball, and others will also leapfrog list players , but to be safe, lets make a list based on the unknown, that is Crazy!

        I read on another North website some kid trying to predict 2012 minor league assignments, and he said he is only including players he follows?

        What an idiot!

        What if I told you I knew that a few players were being coached this Winter by former MLB all-stars?

        What if I told you that some players have added 15-20 lbs. of muscle who didn’t attend Camp Bussie?

        What if told you I have information about Cubs prospects that you will never read on the internet?

        What if I told you I know who has the best 60 times, the strongest throwing arms, the least body fat, the nicest reliable swings, the best athletes in the system, the best makeup and maturity, would you rely on what I have to say, or defer to BA, Klaw, Baldie, and all the other experts who are basically Writers?

        Relax, try to attend ST, Milb games, read boxscores, make inquiries, and I suppose, surf the web to get an idea, of biased journalism.

        • gary3411

          I never said they aren’t flawed. I said they are useful to the people who don’t have time to “attend spring training, MiLB games, read boxscores, make inquiries, and surf the web.” Or to people who just want to do other things with their time, it is a quick and useful reference to them. I don’t think these lists are fabulous lists and yes, the SOME writers just throw names up there based on draft pick, but those teams didn’t just draft that player based on his name, so obviously the writer is assuming those teams’ scouts have done all that extensive research your talking about.

          Would you trade Javier Baez for Rafael Dolis? No, because Javier Baez is the better prospect. Not because you’ve personally seen him go through a grind of a full
          baseball season, but because you trust the numerous scouts that went
          into that decision. No the writers have not been there, which is exactly why they love to rely on the draft so much, it’s the last time they got to see where a true scout from these teams valued the players, that is the most important tool available to make a list like these because you rely on what the professionals saw. These are rankings of prospects and Javier Baez is one of our best prospects. Who said he’s the next .350 hitter? He is definitely the most likely player in our system to hit .350 I would say, even if those chances are less than 1%. Not because you’ve personally seen him go through a grind of a full baseball season, but because you trust the numerous scouts that went into that decision.

          You are correct that nobody should freak out that we made a trade and say only landed 2 “top ten” prospects instead of 3, in a trade for Garza say because BA doesn’t like them, that you are spot on about. Maybe our scouts liked that guy that was ranked 15th more than the guy ranked 7th, of course that is very possible.

          I don’t think many people are ‘fascinated’ by prospect lists, but more they like to argue about who they think should be higher than who based on their own personal observations, which you are advocating. That is fun.

          If this is all about you thinking you can make a better prospect list than the writers, then go ahead and let’s see oned, maybe someone will notice them if they are so accurate down the road and hire you as a writer or scout.

          One final note, I know 12 year olds that play 120+ games a year, plus practice indoors all winter, while going to school and being a kid. This continues throughout high school. Kid’s travel all over the United States playing in tournaments once the high school season is over at the end of May. High schoolers have definitely been through a grind, especially 3-sport athletes. If they get drafted, minor league baseball is probably like a vacation to some of them who no longer have to manage friends wanting to go out and drink all the time, homework, ACT’s maybe even a job, not to mention 8 hours a day at school!! Many top high school athletes face much tougher time management than any minor leaguer does. All he must do is work on baseball, that’s easy

  • paul catanese

    Cespedes is so good that after a short visit to Miami he can predict that the Marlins are good enough to get into the World Series.

    It’s no wonder he is so sought after, he knows it all. I expect he will tell the Marlins that he is the piece that will get them there.

    If there is any doubt how good he is, just ask him, he will tell you.

    On one point, with all the leg lifts and the weight he is lifting, signals one thing, hamstrings that will burst sooner than later, he is wound tight as a drum.

    • mike1040

      Reminds me of a guy a while ago that had a corked bat and juiced it up some. Same attitude and self promotion.

    • OttawaBob

      Tell us how you feel about Yoenis Cepedes.

      • paulcatanese

        I think he is a wonderful fit for the White Sox, and would be a great clubhouse guy for them.

  • John_CC

    Neil mentioned the Boys of Spring blog yesterday…I just wanted to encourage any and everyone to take a look.  A couple reasons: His post from Monday, Jan 30 called “The Scoop” is an insightful look at the way early camp is going with Sveum being there 3 weeks early at that point.

    The post from Monday is asking for nominations for the Boys of Spring – Best Cubs Site award nominees…and I was stunned to not see CCO nominated anywhere!  Are we really gonna let Bleacher Nation take every prize?  Come on…get over there and nominate Neil, Tom and the gang here!

    http://journal.boysofspring.com/

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Thanks John

  • Jeff in Az

    Gary-

    I want to finish yesterday’s conversation. I stand by both of my statements made yesterday. How is he an egocentric A**hole?

    Egocentric = Cheesy promo video

    A**hole = Wearing sunglasses indoors while meeting with a potential ownership group that is willing to pay him millions of dollars as an uproven talent.

    He may turn out to be a hell of a ball player, but right now my impression is that he is not the type of player that Theo and Jed have publicly stated they are looking for in relation to attitude. It is my opinion and it won’t be swayed.

    I will admit that I have not seen enough of him on the field to say what type of player he is between the foul lines, but I have seen enough of him off the field to form a pretty passionate opinion about him.

    • Anthony

      and the Clown will spend that money in the DR

    • gary3411

       Fair enough, maybe my definition of a-hole is different than yours I guess. Basing it off him wearing glasses indoors is like saying businessmen who wear watches but never look at it for the time are all a-holes. Egocentric he very may well be, but I’d say there’s just as good a chance he made that video purely to try and make money off it. There is no US media in Cuba, he was almost forced to create his own hype and that was a pretty good idea I think, for him personally and financially. Of course, he lost my respect from many of his antics so far, but I also don’t have much respect for Lebron James, DWade, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant etc. But if my team acquired those players, I would be thrilled because they play HARD and they protect their teammates. Oh and they’re the best of the best talent wise. I just don’t think we can judge him already, but you are already convinced, of course your opinion and accepted. I just think we allow Theo and Co. to perform the interviews and get a first and second hand feel. I would hope they wouldn’t condemn him not Cub worthy based solely on sunglasses and a workout video

      • gary3411

        And he was wearing the sunglasses after just gettin off the plane in the airport, not while meeting with Marlins representatives.

        • Jeff in Az

          Must admit that I was for him before I was against him. LOL

  • Writin1

    That projection is crap. According to the idiot(s) who came up with that, all the Cubs just suck, and that I can’t believe.  Some of them might come true, but not all. Cub-haters abound.