Chris Bosio's aggressive approach is (chin) music to my ears

Chris Bosio's aggressive approach is (chin) music to my ears
Chris Bosio and Matt Garza

In case you haven't heard it, Hanley and Mulligan had a great interview with Cubs new pitching coach Chris Bosio and I really, really liked what Bosio had to say.  He's bringing an old school, tough approach yet he's combining it with analytics and tracking patterns and tendencies with pitchers and opposing hitters.  As I've said on numerous occasions, I'm a big fan of combining the two disciplines and Chris Bosio embodies that.  Among the highlights of the interview...

  • He's stresses preparation and mentions he's very impressed with the level of participation and effort by the Cubs staff.  Doesn't know if that necessarily translates to wins, but it's certainly not going to translate to losses.  He's also excited about the young pitchers in camp but says there's a lot of hard work ahead.  No surprise there.
  • On Carlos Marmol: The first thing the Cubs did was junk his cutter. Bosio thinks the cutter really messed with Marmol's mechanics.  He threw "under the pitch", meaning he didn't have his shoulder lined up properly, and it suffocated everything else he had, including his fastball and slider.  He has high expectations for Marmol.  He doesn't just want him to do be the best on the Cubs, but the best in all of baseball, saying, "he's that talented...there's a lot left in that tank".  We all know what Marmol can be like when he's dominant and that would be great to see again this year.
  • On Chris Volstad: He called him "Voly" (shades of Mike Quade!)  Says some of the rugged guys in camp are rubbing off on him, implying that maybe he hasn't been aggressive enough with his good stuff.  He believes Volstad has "an abundance of talent" (remember he was once the Marlins top prospect) and sometimes it's as simple as grip change.  Bosio mentioned grip on several occasions as one of the little things some of the pitchers can fix to help themselves.  He seemed to have a lot of simple solutions that fresh eyes can sometimes bring.
  • On Alberto Cabrera: Mentioned he was throwing 93-94 mph -- not bad but a simple change in grip got him up to 97 mph with great movement.  He mentioned they looked like Steve Carlton sliders even though Cabrera is a RHP.  This was one of the most exciting parts of the interview for me.  As you all know, I'm a bit of a prospect hound and Cabrera is a guy the Cubs have always been very high on.  As recently as last year he was a top 10 prospect post-Garza trade.  The Cubs haven't been able to get the most out of his ability, however, and he has really struggled and has been more hittable than a guy with his arm should be.  A fastball with the kind of velocity and movement that Bosio mentioned figures to be tough on both lefties and righties.  In his first outing this spring, Cabrera did pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and striking out one.  If Cabrera figures it out, he gives the Cubs yet another power arm for the back of that bullpen.  In terms of talent, he's up there with prospects like Rafael Dolis, Tony Zych, and the recently departed Chris Carpenter.
  •  Everyone has something they can work on, he said.  Veteran Randy Wells is working on mechanics and grip. Even Kerry Wood has something to learn.  When told by Bosio how he can get improve his curveball by fixing his lower body mechanics, Wood's response was "no way it can't be that easy".  I liked that simple approach and getting the pitchers to focus on improving something physically. Said, "the mind just fries you sometimes and if you get the mind right and free the body up the stuff will come out"
  • He's more of a hard line guy. My favorite part of the interview was the end when Bosio said,

 "We're going to pound the living you know what out of everybody inside and if we hit 5 guys I really don't care...We're pitching in.  We're pitching in hard. We're going above the belt. We're gonna open up the plate so you're fastballs away are even better. But everybody's pitching inside today.  I don't care how many miles an hour that winds blowing out because get ready, we're going to Wrigley and we have to learn to pitch inside and I want the fear of god in these hitters.  And we're going to have command in there.  And again if the hitters don't move and they get hit that's just going to happen, but we're going to be aggressive.  I want them to be fearless and I want them to be confident. Cocky, I don't mind either."

I can't say enough about how I'm looking forward to seeing the Cubs play more aggressively.  We've already seen it on the bases and it looks like we'll see it on the mound as well.

 

Filed under: Pitching

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  • Woo-hoo! Me like!

    Hope it all translates well to the mound!

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Me too. I got all giddy listening to him talk pitching. He's not trying to re-invent guys like Riggins did. At this stage they're all MLB pitchers or close to it. I like the simple fixes and the aggressive approach. Riggins is probably better off in the minors where pitchers have so much to learn, glad to have Bosio at the MLB level.

  • Love it.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Great, isn't it?

    A hat tip to you by the way for letting me know it was on!

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    Wow, what a change from last year to this year. I never heard anything out of Mark Riggins like this.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    I think he's a better fit at the MLB level. I like those tweaks instead of spending too much time overhauling approaches and learning entirely new pitches. It seems simple and more customized for each player.

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    Right now is when the hitting and pitching coaches really earn their money. It's a lot harder to get players, especially major leaguers, to change things once the season starts.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    They really seem to be responding to him. I'm really looking forward to seeing Volstad pitch. I think he's pitching today.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Are you down there?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I wish. If I go, it'll be in the next week or two for a few days.

  • I really hope they can get the most out of Volstad and Marmol, that could really do wonders for this team.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Getting a good vibe on Marmol, more cautiously optimistic on Volstad.

    Samardzija is the SP today, really curious to see how he does. He's picking up momentum.

  • Bosio seems like he has some great ideas, and a refreshing look at pitching. If he can get more out of guys like Volstad and Marmol it could be huge for the Cubs

  • In reply to JR Cubbies:

    Looks like he has a plan out there.

  • I listened to this interview on the way into work this morning as well. Bosio sounds like a hardass. If he can get these guys pitching the way Reed Johnson plays the outfield I don't care if we win a damn game. I really think there is going to be some fight in this team.

    Shortly after this interview they had the ex-GM from the Cleveland Indians on (his name is escaping me.. John? ) and he stated that he thought Bosio and Sveum will put the buzz back in the ballpark with the style of play they teach and demand. In the words of Terell Suggs......CAN'T WAIT

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    John Hart?

    I think he's right. They're going to play aggressive and they'll be more fun to watch.

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    Non-thread related material:

    Folks, does the BS from Boston ever stop? Nick Cafardo is reporting that the PTBNL will be someone close to Chris Carpenter in ability.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I can't take anything Cafardo says seriously.

  • Even money says pitching inside (at Wrigley especially) was in that Cubs Way book Jepstein released. Love this approach. I get the feeling losing Marmol's cutter will work wonders but that he hasn't quite got Volstad figured out yet.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Starting with a lot more with Marmol and it's a more simple solution -- subtracting is always easier. Volstad a bit more of a project but he did finish strong, so there's something to build on.

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    Rick Sutcliffe is in camp as an instructor, and the word is that he was brought in specifically to work with Volstad.

  • Good stuff John, thanks!
    I really liked the interview with Bosio, said a lot of things you like to hear from a coach; let's hope the pitchers listen.
    I'm "watching" the game on MLB Gameday; Samardzija is pitching and does appear to be pounding the ball inside at least according to the pitch tracker.

  • In reply to Manny:

    Thanks! Listening on WGN and following Gameday myself. Samardzija was dominant today.

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    Not directly related to the topic, but wondering why Dempster is guaranteed a spot in the rotation with as horrible as he was last year. Garza is the only one that really deserves a spot.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Epstein and Hoyer are probably looking at different kinds of stats. The W-L record and the ERA were worse last year, but periphery stats like FIP, xFIP, walk to strikeout ratio, HR rate, etc. are all remarkably consistent with what he's done the past 3-4 years. The indications are that last year's record and ERA was an abberation and he should be a solid pitcher. He's not a #2 guy, but the Cubs don't have better options right now.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I sure hope he's better. There were too many times last year when I was cringing before his pitches had made it halfway to the plate. He is very hittable when he doesn't have it going. Some guys can get by without their best stuff- he cannot.

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