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