Cubs in the Off-Season Leagues - Week 1

Good morning, and welcome to Cubs Den's comprehensive coverage of off-season baseball. Three leagues, the Arizona Fall League, the Dominican Winter League, and Venezuelan Winter League, all began play this week.

Note: Coverage runs from Sunday through Saturday.

Arizona Fall League

Mesa Solar Sox

Opening night on Tuesday saw the Solar Sox rally from a two-run deficit to defeat Scottsdale 4-3. Nico Hoerner was the starting shortstop and went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in his first game in nearly three months. Mesa 4 - Scottsdale 3

It was turnabout on Wednesday as Scottsdale took it to Mesa 10-3. The Solar Sox starting catcher was Jhonny Pereda, who was 1-for-4 on the night. Bailey Clark came on with one out in the 8th inning and struck out two with a walk in 1.2 scoreless innings. Scottsdale 10 - Mesa 3

Trent Giambrone

Trent Giambrone

Mesa almost let one slip away on Thursday as they scored in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game and went 10 innings to beat Peoria 10-9. Justin Steele started for the Solar Sox and gave up 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks in 1.2 innings. Manuel Rondon was part of the salvaging effort, entering to start the 4th and tossing 2 shut-out innings. Third baseman Trent Giambrone had a big night, going 4-for-6 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. DJ Wilson led off for Mesa and was 1-for-6 with a run scored, while catcher PJ Higgins drew 2 walks as he went 0-for-3 with an RBI. Shortstop Nico Hoerner continued to struggle, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout, but driving in a run. Mesa 10 - Peoria 9 (10 innings)

Nico Hoerner (photo by Jared Ravich at

Nico Hoerner (photo by Jared Ravich at

The Solar Sox flexed their muscles on Friday, pounding out 12 hits as they blanked Peoria 8-0. The only Cubs prospect not to play yet, Mesa may have saved the best for last in Erick Leal. Friday’s starter fanned 3 while giving up 2 hits and 2 walks in 2.1 scoreless innings. Moving to DH, Nico Hoerner finally got going at the plate as he was 3-for-5 with a run scored. DJ Wilson drove in a run as he was 0-for-3 in right field. Mesa 8 - Peoria 0

Mexican Pacific League

Tomateros de Culiacan

The Mexican Pacific League kicked off on Friday and the contest between Navojoa and Culiacan looked like a meeting of former Cub pitching prospects with James Russell and Marco Carrillo, as the Tomateros lost 8-2. Iowa’s Casey Coleman entered in the 7th inning and gave up an earned run on a walk and three hits, as he struck out two batters. Navojoa 8 - Culiacan 2

Venzuelan Winter League

Cardenales de Lara

Friday saw the Cardenales come from behind with 3 runs in the 7th inning as Lara defeated Margarita 5-3. Yapson Gomez backed up a start by former Cub farmhand Williams Perez , entering in the seventh and giving up a hit in 0.1 innings. Lara 5 - Margarita 3

Caribes de Anzoategui

In their home opener on Friday night, Anzoategui could not hold off Zulia in the late innings as they lost 5-3. Erick Castillo started at catcher and was 1-for-1 before being lifted in the 6th inning. Zulia 5 - Anzoategui 3



The Australian Baseball League, which begins November 15, has added two teams to the league. The new members are the Aukland (New Zeeland) Tautara and Geelong-Korea. Geelong is a city in the Australian state of Victoria and will host a team comprised mainly of Korean prospects.


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  • Nice to see Nico start hitting - I hope he gets back in the groove and learns a ton. A "Korean" team in Victoria, Australia? Baseball is truly International!

  • Jesse rogers says the cubs will hire anthony iapoce as the new hitting coach, not official.He's basically saying it's gonna happen in due time.He worked for the cubs from 2013-2015 before taking the texas rangers hitting coach job

  • In reply to bolla:

    Good call bolla Iapoce officially named cubs hitting coach. Like the hire he's worked with a lot of these guys in the minors and it seemed from what I read on the athletic that he was our preferred target from the start. Always nice to get our guy although that's what we said about Chili. Hopefully this guy works out better I think he will he's familiar with working with maddon and theo and he's familiar with the cubs way.

  • I'm good with that he's worked with a lot of these guys in our minor league system as a former cubs coach and I'm sure his philosophies align with our front office and coaching staff. I'll wait for the announcement but he's obviously one of the more intriguing choices that I've seen listed by the athletic I also read that he was the favorite from Patrick Mooney as well

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    I like that he's familiar with the Cubs FO, Maddon, and the Cubs way but I think we might need to shake things up a little. Maybe someone w some different views who can add his knowledge to the Cubs knowledge and the mix may be what this teams been lacking.

    Who knows though. Bottom line is, the players need to...." hit ball hard "

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    That's what I was thinking too Jim I was wondering if an outside the box thinker would've been smart clearly whoever boston hired did a nice job. I'm happy with Iapoce though he's familiar with our players and the front office and I know the team wasn't happy to lose him to Texas. He seemed to be the guy they wanted from the start so while I'm happy with the hire the players need to start hitting more line drives too

  • Hopefully he can connect w/these guys & get them back on track to what got them to the big leagues.

  • It's official, Iapoce to the Cubs.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    We posted the same time Cliff I'm happy he was my preferred target after reading Patrick Mooney's article on some of the hitting coach options. He definitely seemed to be their guy from the start hopefully he's here for a long time

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Hopefully, he has a better impact than his predecessor!

  • Well with the hiring of Iapoce, this places the onus on the players that remain to perform as expected.

    Here's a thought that I don't think anybody has brought up yet. Happ can't have too high of trade value, so what is the likeliness that we burn one of his options and have him play in Iowa this season, work out consistent swing mechanics, as well as his route running in the OF, and maybe a little more infield work for him as well. I think he was too rushed to perform under pressure of a pennant race in 2017 and he did pretty well then, but his holes have been too obvious in 2018, so why not let him get more time in AAA to work on shoring up his weaknesses.

    He would still stand to be added to the roster later in the season, but I don't see him as someone we have to necessarily trade. I'd rather we spend in free agency; pick up one of the big dogs- Harper or Machado, and fill in a couple holes with short term FA signings. After 2019, there will be a decent amount coming off payroll that they'd likely be able to slip back under the tax threshold after one year.

    I also have been considering some other roster turnover, but still debating some of the details in the 'ol noggin, so that's to come... But here's a hint, I actually think we should go strong to acquire more starting pitching (not necessarily de Grom), as to not make it so easy for Maddon to go to the bullpen so often by the 5th inning. Better starting pitching going deeper into games would take a certain load off the BP, and also provide the depth to make sure we have 4 great starters in a playoff rotation.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Happ will not start the year in the minors

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    How do you know that WaitUntil?

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Would you like to make a bet?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I like your idea, but I find it hard to believe he will spend the majority of the season in AAA.

    I am firmly believed and on the record saying I thought Russell, Baez, Happ, and the Schwarbenator were rushed to the show.

    The schwarbenator made me eat crow as he mashed right away. Russell on the other hand was needed as we had no 2nd baseman and he shined defensively and surprised offensively , but I felt there was more there.

    Happ seemed to be needed, but I dont think he was absolutely needed and although he gave us a spark, but may end up being hurting him and us in the long run.

    Javy was rushed and struggled, and the late great John A reminded me that this was by design. Javy was just dominating all levels too much and making baseball look too easy, so the FO wanted him to fall flat and be humbled and then see how he adapts back. He surely adapted and now ( if this is who he is now going forward more or less) and shown he's a perennial all star talent and a rock for the foundation of this Cubs roster.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I always felt the same way, all you named were, more or less, brought up out of necessity. Spring Training may have something to say about it. And I’d add Bote to that list, he has a huge hole in his swing, I’d hoped he would have showed some adjustments by seasons end. But I could see added a vet or 2, to give them time to develop. I’m still leaning Machado, mainly because of the flexability he adds. And maybe someone like Marwin Gonzalez and/or Eduardo Escobar.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    It's very unlikely that you would start a 1.5 WAR player with a 106 wRC+ in the minor leagues. Addison Russell has never been an above average run producer (over 100 wRC+) in his entire career and never had a stint in the minors. That's the catch 22 here. Happ is a decent enough run producer as is, you'd like him to be better but you don't send above average players to the minors. One of the few exceptions I've ever seen, and with a pitcher not a hitter, was Colorado sending Jonathan Gray to AAA despite having a FIP just under 3 (his ERA was about 6 if I recall). They were roundly criticized for it. Now, it worked but most analytics based organizations would have a hard time pulling that trigger.

  • In reply to TC154:

    An angle I didn't mention is that you may very well decide to move on from that 1.5 WAR, 106 wRC+ player. You might decide that the player doesn't help you enough based on the mix of your team, but you have to be worse than that to be sent down.

  • Please tell me that Iapose has no connection to Harper or Machado.

  • Venezuela Fall League?? Who the hell plays baseball NOW in Venezuela? Don't these kids need food...water....toilets that flush...etc etc..

  • fb_avatar

    I know you Den Writers are all very busy and were prob looking forward to a break after the season ( obviously a little too early for our taste) but when something happens do you think you can just make a small headline and open a new page for comments?

    Something like Chilli Davis let go and maybe a link to an article ( if even necessary) Feel free to discuss below

    Cubs Hire new hitting coach, link to an article
    What do you guys think? Comment below......

    Please don't take this as criticism, just a friendly suggestion.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Excellent suggestion Jim. I sometimes don't know where to comment.
    For example, Milw was leading 4-0 in the 9th, Hader pitched the 8th (?) and then LA loaded the bases and Jeffries just struck out Dozier to win the game. I still don't know who I want to win.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Its a tough call.I want the Brewers to win if for sure they will lose in the WS. I can't stand them having a WS ring. I think I don't even want to take a chance on some fluke miracle so going for the Dodgers.

    Although it may not matter. I can't believe Miley and esp Chacin hasn't turned into pumpkin yet. This is getting ridiculous.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Magic faerie dust. I've been saying it won't last for 6 weeks and yet it has. We're at the point that I think if the Brewers win this series they win an improbable World Series.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I want the AL to win I respect the dodgers and I respect what the brewers have accomplished and we're gonna have our hands full with those guys but I don't want either team gaining that championship confidence that we see from teams that won in the past. I'd rather them be in a boat where these big moments are bigger for them rather than an experienced team that has been there done that before

  • fb_avatar

    Tonight Mesa won 8-0 and Nico was 3-4 and is now hitting .333. Maybe he's getting used to the AFL now.

  • You can scratch manny machado off, he said yesterday he'll never become a "johnny hustle"type of player and interfered on 2 plays at 2nd one that was the umps called machado AND bellinger out. That's not the cubs way, it's either all in for harper or trades but the cubs don't really have any high value trade pieces besides baez .Yikes

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't think you scratch off Machado based on one comment made yesterday. You should scratch him off due to the length and size of his contract demand.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I want harper anyways think his offense is more consistent year to year vs. Machado and I don't like paying $250 million for a guy whose plate approach is flawed but not bad. All that said I'll take Machado happily if we don't get harper

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I think machado is going to the yankees, he's been rumored to want to play for them for a few years and the yankees pre arbitration payroll is pretty low compared to the cubs.They simply can pay him whatever they want and they have way more money to spend than the cubs do, the cubs only hope is the yankees pursue pitching(I think corbin is a lock to nyy too) and doesn't want machado or he prefers the cubs and wants to play with his friend almora .Harper is not good vs power pitchers or elite pitching his numbers are pretty bad. Machado is good vs power pitching his #'s were like 280/340/480 vs the power pitchers and elite pitchers.

    and harpers agent is boras , he's gonna create an epic bidding war between all interested parties.This guy will get 350-425 million.The phillies are another interested team that can easily pay that.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Harper also had stated previously that his dream was to be a Yankee. So there’s that.
    I also like Machado’s #’s against power pitching, though Harper is no slouch either. It is a team weakness. If your top guy’s are AA, KB, TLS and Heyward....
    Cubs Insider has done some nice analysis in that area:

  • 350 might happen, but dont see anyone paying 400

  • fb_avatar

    Player #1's slash line for 2018 .249/.393/.496 and OPS is .889 and had 34 HR and 100 RBI
    Player #2's slash line for 2018 .272/.374/.460 and OPS of .834 and
    13 HR 52 RBI

    Player #1's WAR is 1.3
    Player #2's WAR is 1.9
    I don't know why, I don't really understand WAR. Who had a better year?
    I would say Player #1 but his war is .6 lower.
    btw, #1 is Harper, #2 is our own Kris Bryant, and we thought Kris had a bad year.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Fangraphs rated Harper’s WAR at 3.5 compared to 2.3 for Bryant. From both websites, Harper’s offense was ranked much higher than Bryant’s, but Harper’s defense killed his WAR way more than Bryant’s.

    I’ve been considering posting some controversial stats splits in the same anonymous/candid way you did, but I fear some people would lose their minds when they know the truth, and not just have the ability to say their preferred player is better.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    When you use defensive metrics to add to WAR. There will always be questions. Fangraphs has Schwarber as the #2 rated left field for his defense. There is no way that is accurate. I know Schwarber improved a lot on defense in 2018 but, he is not the second best at that position.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Well who on the LF list rated behind Schwarber defensively do you think is better? Usually the LF is your worst rated OF. There are not a lot of good defensive LFs.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If you look at all of the defensive metrics for left fielders, you would be surprised that Kyle is in the Top 3 in almost every defensive category in 2018. He is even a top performer in some categories for all outfielders. Defensive WAR is kind to players with fewer innings under their belt. A few years back, Lorenzo Cain was the top WAR outfield defender in the AL and he led the league with 10 outfield errors. That's when I started questioning defensive WAR. I think it may be the most flawed "new" analytical stat going.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Yeah, I find WAR useful for some comparisons, but overall I don't like it very much, especially defensively.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Defensive metrics are flawed. Fangraphs admits as much.

    Schwarber was #2 in baseball for outfield assists, so I believe that is a huge factor in why he was rated so highly in LF (more of a reply to 2016 Cubs).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I used baseball-reference. I guess Fangraphs is more accurate.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Alex bregman is another player who is way better than bryant offensively and especially defensively. Compare bryant to peers who have similar plate discipline(like betts,jd martinez,judge,bregman etc) and then my point become clears as day. You're obsessed with comparing bryant to baez when bryant has a clear advantage because he gets on base more/draws walks and does literally nothing else better than baez.

  • In reply to bolla:

    And, Bregman is the best shortstop on the Astros. Unfortunately, the Astros are afraid to do what needs to be done. Move Correa to 3rd (where, in my opinion, he would be the best defender in MLB) and Bregman to short (where he would be close to league best).

    Interesting stat on the Red Sox. With the Grand Slam today, they have 9 in the 2018 season. They had NONE in 2017.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I think they are silly not to use Correa's injury and admitting he's not 100% to tell him its in his best interest to "temporarily" ( wink wink) to 3B to put less strain and get healthy.

    Then in the winter start comparing the video and maybe even Correa will see w his own 2 eyes that Bregman is the better SS ( if he is) and it may be better not only for the team but for his long term health and his career to move over to 3B permanently.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Yea Bregman is really impressive at 3b he made several great plays yesterday. He’s like baez when he plays the hot corner, very quick reactions with a strong arm. He threw it to 2nd against his momentum to get the lead man after fielding a ball in foul territory. Very difficult play to make.

  • In reply to bolla:

    He does alot of things better than Baez when it comes to offense. The funny thing is you probably think Bryant's my favorite Cub, while he's not even in my top 3. I just see and regard him as a great offensive player, not even on the same level as Betts, Trout, Martinez, and Bregman, but he's young and I believe he's going to get even better still. And really I think you'd be surprised to discover that Judge is just as bad (or maybe worse) as Bryant is.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The number of outs a player makes also has a large effect on WAR. With KB’s injuries, I presume that Harper made many more outs. An interesting fact is that Pujols was the worst player (by WAR) in MLB last year because he made so many outs.

  • Following are 12 player's slash lines (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS). Please rank them from 1 to 12 (1 being the best/12 being the worst) for the most to least desirable slash line that you'd want for a hitter batting anywhere in what you consider an important spot of the lineup.

    Player A: .311/.378/.526/.903
    Player B: .277/.393/.479/.872
    Player C: .278/.341/.519/.860
    Player D: .261/.390/.531/.920
    Player E: .276/.427/.472/.899
    Player F: .273/.396/.420/.817
    Player G: .284/.346/.502/.847
    Player H: .282/.386/.489/.876
    Player I: .235/.279/.420/.699
    Player J: .215/.350/.436/.785
    Player K: .266/.396/.481/.876
    Player L: .298/.394/.500/.894

    Or if you don't want to rank all 12, just choose the 3 you'd want most as your 3, 4, & 5 hitters, as well as the 2 that you absolutely wouldn't want in the middle of your lineup.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Cubber, you’ve been awfully busy. I still believe in BA and OBP. I’d take A and L based on that.
    On a side note, watching the NLCS Greg Counsel got on the phone to the bullpen. For anyone under 30 all our phones had cords like that.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Honestly, it didn't take too long to compile all that info. I got smart and wrote all the stats on a paper, instead of having to jump back and forth between different windows. You picked a couple good players by the way. Of course I won't release the names until enough people give their input.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Player A is Manny Machado. It's his career slash line with RISP, and adds up to over a season's worth of plate appearances. Player L is Kris Bryant's 2018 slash line in high leverage situations. It's a small sample size (99 PA's) compared to his career (477 PA), but surprisingly, his 2018 high leverage situations splits were a slight improvement over his career. After I finish responding to the others who were brave enough to play, I'll respond to my own post with some more information about all the players involved and their splits in these situations, as well as why I chose to use Bryant's 2018 season instead of his career...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    A, C, D & L are likely guys to fill the most important lineup spots, but I don't believe those spots are 3,4,5 instead your most important spots for your best hitters are 1,2 and 4. C is probably a 4 hitter if the HR output matches the SLG. Without wRC+ listed you're only going on OPS which isn't park specific and therefore not quite as accurate and not listing the HR totals doesn't tell the whole story on SLG. Your ideal lineup for the first five spots is your best OBP guy should leadoff, with your best hitter 2nd, your best power hitter 4th, your second best power hitter 5th and of your top 5 hitters whoever is left after filling those 4 is your 3 hitter who, while certainly needing to be a good hitter, is the least important of the 5.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I really like your thoughtfulness in your reply in why you like to place certain hitters where you'd put them in your lineup.

    So player A is Manny Machado's career slash line for RISP.

    Player C is Javy Baez's 2018 slash line with RISP. I used his 2018 stats only (I know small sample size) because to use his career slash line with RISP, which produced a .725 OPS would be including a career slash line for a player who wouldn't belong in this discussion, and I certainly believe that Javy belongs in this discussion of desirable middle of the order hitters. So I think his 2018 slash line is more representative of who he will be moving forward, than I do his past.

    Player D is Aaron Judge's career RISP slash line.

    Player L is Kris Bryant's 2018 slash line in high leverage situations.

    After replying to the others who responded to my question, I'll respond to my own with some more info about the players used.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    A, H,L, B, C, E, and G while I think average is overvalued my most fans I do prefer a high average, OBP, and power guy I think better contact hitters tend to play better in the postseason

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Thanks for playing kkhiavi! After I respond to the others, I'll respond to my own post with more complete info, but here's the players you chose. They were all splits of either RISP or High Leverage situations (per BR), so here you go...

    A is Manny Machado's career RISP slash line
    H is Anthony Rizzo's career high leverage slash line
    L is Kris Bryant's 2018 high leverage slash line
    B is Anthony Rizzo's career RISP
    C is Javy Baez's 2018 RISP
    E is Bryce Harper's career RISP
    G is Manny Machado's career high leverage slash line

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    My top 3 players are

    1) Player E
    2) Player L
    3) Player B

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Thanks for playing JK!

    Player E is Bryce Harper's career slash line with RISP
    Player L is Kris Bryant's 2018 slash line in high leverage situations
    Player B is Anthony Rizzo's career RISP slash line

    After I finish replying to the others, I'll provide some more info about all the players involved in a reply to my own original post.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Depends completely on the number of PA’s.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    All of the stats you give are % stats that could theoretically be compiled in limited PAs. We would need some “counting” stats (e.g., PAs, HRs, outs made, etc.) to made an informed evaluation.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    You're right. It all does kind of depend on the number of PA's. In this situation there were actually only 6 players used, each represented twice. One was their slash line with RISP, the other was high leverage situations (per Baseball Reference). 3 players represented have had long enough careers that their slash lines represented their career splits in the 2 situations. Other players haven't played long enough, so I chose to use either their 2018 season, or their shorter career, whichever I deemed may be more representative of whom they might be moving forward. I really wish you would've just chosen to just pick some of the players you'd like to see on your favorite team. More responses would've really been great! If you want just look at my original post and reply to it again and maybe I can add your results into what I'm going to share in a reply to my own original post.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Sorry for the delay in following through with all this data I provided. Been way too busy on the tail end of this week, and since I was also watching the ballgames on DVR later at night, I avoided checking in here so I wouldn't come across any spoilers.

    Slash lines with RISP
    Player A: .311/.378/.526/.903 Manny
    Player B: .277/.393/.479/.872 Rizzo
    Player C: .278/.341/.519/.860 Baez 2018
    Player D: .261/.390/.531/.920 Judge
    Player E: .276/.427/.472/.899 Harper
    Player F: .273/.396/.420/.817 Bryant 2018

    Slash lines in High Leverage situations (per Baseball reference)
    Player G: .284/.346/.502/.847 Manny
    Player H: .282/.386/.489/.876 Rizzo
    Player I: .235/.279/.420/.699 Baez 2018
    Player J: .215/.350/.436/.785 Judge
    Player K: .266/.396/.481/.876 Harper
    Player L: .298/.394/.500/.894 Bryant 2018

    Because I used only Bryant's and Baez's 2018 totals, here are their careers in those same situations. Even career-wise, they've only amassed about half to 3/4 of a full season's worth of plate appearances, so hopefully they both trend in a positive direction. The reason I used their 2018 seasons, was because I'm hopefully that that's more representative of each of those players moving forward.

    Baez RISP .243/.303/.422/.725
    high leverage .207/.247/.351/.598 OUCH!!!
    Bryant RISP .267/.388/.465/.853
    high leverage ..266/.373/.443/.816

    I really wish more people here would've responded. I know your own vulnerabilities get exposed, so I understand why some might not wanna participate in such an odd questionnaire. Also, I wish I would've just framed my questioning better, as in 3 you want the most, and 2, or maybe even just 1 you don't want.

    Yes there were lots of numbers that are all very similar to compare and I think any of us would be happy to have any of these players on our team.

    Now for the results of this failed poll:

    Votes for wanting players (not wanting the player):
    Manny 5
    Bryant 5
    Rizzo 3
    Harper 2
    Baez 2 (1)
    Judge 2 (1)

    There was a comment about % stats and small sample size and wanting some counting stats. Unfortunately, in the splits stats used that were less than a seasons worth, the counting stats (even if I used their career splits) wouldn't have been competitive to the others. But I gotta mention that seeing high slugging percentages for some of these players should obviously be indicative of more home runs and other extra base hits in those situations, so the percentages do imply the power hitting, especially considering that Machado, Rizzo, and Harper all had more than a season's worth of splits included. So I didn't see the point, but I have totaled up each's AB/HR from those categories to share with you all...

    Manny RISP 19.5 AB/HR, HL 18.1 AB/HR career
    Rizzo RISP 22 AB/HR, HL 23.3 AB/HR career
    Baez RISP 17.6 AB/HR, HL 23.3 AB/HR 2018
    Baez RISP 23.1 AB/HR, HL 29 AB/HR career
    Judge RISP 13.6 AB/HR, HL 18.1 AB/HR career
    Harper RISP 21.8 AB/HR, HL, 20.6 AB/HR career
    Bryant RISP 88 AB/HR, HL 42 AB/HR 2018
    Bryant RISP 22.9 AB/HR, HL, 30.4 AB/HR

    In hindsight, I really wish I would've spent more time to compile all the above info to include with my original slash lines posted.

    One thing that really struck me in looking at all these players RISP and high leverage stats, was how some of these players slash lines in these situations were all over the place from year to year, while a couple of them were actually very steady. Surprisingly, the 2 most steady players in these clutch situations are Manny Machado and Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo's been my favorite player for quite some time, so I just wanted to include him in my "research," but I didn't expect his to actually be the most consistent of all them. I guess I should've expected as much since he's batted in 100 runs or more for 4 years straight now. But the data does show a drop off for his 2018 season, which I hope Chili Davis is more responsible than his poor April.

    So in a simple recap of why I did this, I think it's obvious, that in blind testing, Manny Machado is much more the player us Cubs fans desire compared to Bryce Harper, although with recent events clouding the opinion of Machado, maybe that changes a little bit. I'm of the opinion that we need a bat that functions in the middle of the lineup that's going to produce when we need it most, and Manny seems way more likely to be that guy over Harper. I'm not that impressed with Manny's shenanigans over the past week, but I'd still rather add him to the Cubs over Harper. Plus, it would be really nice to have great SS depth in Chicago for 2019 and beyond.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    The last Bryant HR rate stat posted is his career.

  • I'll play.

    A, L and D are the players I want.

    I and J are the players I don't want.

  • In reply to Gingerbread Man:

    Thanks for player Gingerbread!

    Player A is Manny Machado's career RISP slash line
    Player L is Kris Bryant's 2018 high leverage slash line
    Player D is Aaron Judge's career RISP

    Player I is Javier Baez's 2018 slash line in high leverage situations
    Player J is Aaron Judges career slash line in high leverage situations

    Interesting that Judges numbers skew that much between when there are RISP and in situations deemed critical points in a game where the outcome can be flipped in particular situations. The same seems to occur with Javy Baez actually.

    I'm going to reply to my own original post with more information about this whole experiment. So if you're interested, check that out...

  • Wow yelich called machado a dirty mf!!! After the dust up with Aguilar at 1b And Counsell said he doesn’t play that hard. Wish the cubs could get Machado the brewers hate him and he’s been mashing in the nlcs

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yelich is a class guy and he's right, Machado has a history of stuff like this. I like his aggressiveness, but it makes me wonder if he'll go too far and end up hurting his team (suspension, etc.) On the other hand, it might be the spark the Cubs need. I'm sure Theo & Jed will consider his personality in any offer they make.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    I wouldnt necessarily call it a dirty play. It prob could have been avoided. Luckily nobody got hurt.

    Him and Aguilar are supposedly friends from their younger days so I doubt he was trying to hurt him. Although you never know.

    All I can say for certain is the Brewers are fired up! Lets hope this makes them try a little too hard.

    Easy for me to say, but I believe the winner of this game wins the series. No chance to Dodgers win 2 in Milwaukee and I am fairly certain the Beer Makers don't win both games 6 and 7.

    They say Almora and Machado are tight. I am pretty sure Machado will get along w Baez, Contereras, Rizzo, and Strop. So most of the Vets.

    How would he get along w Lester is anyones guess........

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    They will not take his personality into account. What they will take into consideration is can he help win games!!!!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It's very well-known that this FO considers character and personality in its personnel decisions. I'd be interested in reading the basis for your contradictory statement, if there actually is any.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I love your personal attacks. Great stuff. The cubs have had as many personality issues as any team. It is part of it. If they believe a guy can get them to the WS they will sign him or trade for him. Not sure what contradiction you speak of???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Personality is most certainly taken into account when you invest $250 million dollars in a player. That being said I don't think these incidents while not ideal paint the right picture of who Machado is. He has a history of these on field altercations he can get a bit firey but he also has a lot of great personality traits according to those around him. He's supposedly a great kid and teammate and a hard worker although he did come from a tougher background which shows with his on field altercations at times. But that said it depends how Theo evaluates personality but Machado wouldn't get as much money as he's about to get if he didn't have a generally good reputation as a worker and a teammate

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    My thought is that Machedo’s desirability depends on whether the Cubs vets could convince him to “curtail the dirt and laziness” without curbing his aggressiveness. I have my doubts.

  • In reply to bolla:

    You can't be serious ! You want the next Milton Bradley in Wrigley field ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Machado is not close to bradley and the yankees or phillies will sign him so you don't have to worry.

  • Machado plays dirty and doesn't hustle. So, sign Harper...

    Vs LHP - Zo(4), BH(9), KB(7), AR(4), JB(6), AA(8), WC(2), DB(5)
    Vs RHP - Zo(4), BH(9), KB(7), AR(4), JB(6), KS(7), WC(2), JH(8)

    Move on from Happ and Russell, find a 2B/SS that can bat at the top, back up short, and give Zo his days off

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    In reply to DarBar15:

    Would love to have either. I prefer Harper due to the LH bat plus I believe he will be productive longer as he ages ( w the walks and plate discipline )but I wouldnt cry if we got Machado esp if its on a shorter deal w multiple opt outs. Both are going to demand opt outs.

    I just think if we sign Harper, we still need to find an infielder. I don't think I want Zobrist starting 120 games at 2nd Base, and IMO I don't see Happ or Bote as full time players at 2nd base.

    Speaking of 3rd base, whose playing 3rd vs RHP DarBar15? KB or is Javy going to cover the whole left side of the infield while we take away all the gaps w the 4 OFs? LOL, just playing.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Crap, I knew I'd mess that up... Rizz obviously at 1st, and KB at 3rd against RHP. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If either Machado or Javy plays 3B, KB improves the outfield. I still think another middle infielder is necessary, preferably a prospect or rookie that can play 2B and let Joe use Zobrist as needed.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Absolutely ! The kid from the Angels is a free agent and will command attention.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Harper, literally got in a fight in the dugout with a teammate, when he called him out for dogging it.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Does Harper always hustle?

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Who was it that hustled home w/the winning run last night? I think some of this is overblown or gets sensationalized to get folks riled up.

    The kick of the leg might be bush league, but I’d like to hear/see Machado’s side before condemning.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I thought Manny was just quoting saying that he doesn't hustle...

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    Harper seems to be a more intense player than Manny--from what I see. Also, he would replace Lackey as That Guy, and wouldn't come here for just a haircut. I like his enthusiasm.

  • I think you need to put that in context regarding Harper. The teammate was Jonathan Paplebon whose reputation speaks for itself. Second, almost everyone that has played with Harper, outside of a couple of crusty veterans, has said how hard a worker he is. That said, I think there are times when what we think of as "hustle" can get a player hurt and for the superstars they need no the nuance of that. I doubt that even Joe "respect 90" Maddon would disagree with that. It's a fine line and sure isn't something you discuss.

    Getting to Machado I think y'all know how hard I've advocated for signing him but that interview with Rosenthal was completely tone deaf. "Not my cup of tea", please man. It also wasn't what he said, dozens of players and statisticians alike would say the same thing about the value of "hustle", but rather how he said it. It was tossed off in a completely cavalier way, dismissive of the moment, and as I said before tone deaf. You're in a playoff series man, nobody wants to hear that and certainly no one wants to give you $300 plus mil after hearing it. Well, that's probably not true, someone is going to pay him but I'm not certain anymore the Cubs should be that team.

    The reason I wanted Machado over Harper was fit. I'm not sure anyone understands how important it's been for the team to have not had to carry a backup SS for the last three seasons. It allowed you to have Tommy LaStella on the team instead of a light hitting backup SS. The talk so far has been whether David Bote or LaStella will get the 25th roster spot next year but if you have to get that SS insurance neither can be on the roster. Machado, whether he played at 3B or SS, solved that problem. You'd still have two guys that could start at the position. Now, I think you have to seriously consider Machado's character. There have whispers of laziness, and while I don't think not wanting to be "Johnny Hustle" necessarily validates them you'd be silly if it wasn't a red flag. Towards that end I'm probably falling on the other side of the fence now and IF they decide to pursue one of the big money guys it should probably be Harper. Of course they don't have to do that. Russell's value is diminished but not exhausted, Happ has value expecially with his age and switch hitting ability, and Schwarber as a 3.2 WAR player with upside has a lot of value. You could also do something crazy and go after Patrick Corbin allowing you to trade Quintana in one of those deals and possibly fix all your holes for a lot less money. There are options.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I’ve leaned Machado to. Today’s game is about deep bullpens and flexability. I didn’t see the interview, but saw the plays. I just wanted to point out that recent narrative doesn’t discount older narratives.

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    Is anyone watching the Milw-LA game. Miley pitches to Bellinger, walked him and was taken out. I just turned it on and that was apparently the plan. I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That was the plan? Maybe get Roberts to go to his LH bats early and thus burn his RH hitters for later in the game?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    this is exactly the reason. he either pinch hitters early and burns his bench. or goes with hitters against their weak platoon

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    Apparently according to Ken Rosenthal just said basically said the same thing. Perhaps the Brew is trying to get under the skin of the Dodgers as they were complaining about the Brewers announcing their starter later then usual.

    All I know if the Brewers are now resorting to tricks to try and beat the Dodgers. It sends a bad sign to the player as the management doesn't think they are maybe good enough.

    I think its creative and maybe something that may become popular in the future, but I don't think its sending the best image.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Next we're going to see two pitchers in the starting lineup, switching back and forth for platoon advantage while the other one plays LF/RF (off field), until they have to bat. As home team, three full innings of platoon advantage, possibly more if one can handle a bat.
    Brewers will get hand slap from league and Miley will wrap things up at home to advance.

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    In reply to charactercounts:

    Those Brewers are going to get what the deserve......they will be sitting home w the Cubs watching the World Series.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    Haha depends on how crazy shifting gets! This way Travis Wood gets more playing time, finally!

  • I'm watching the red sox keep constant pressure on the astros and this is an astros team with the best pitching in mlb. Boston gets so many 2 out rbi's,draws walks, have tough ab's.Jackie bradley who has struggled this season hitting & is known as a glove 1st cf has a critical 2 run double,grand slam and 2 run hr all with 2 outs in the alcs.

    Very impressive ab's and timely hr's,hits or walks. They've drawn 2-3 bases loaded walks this series.

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    In reply to bolla:

    What a great game. Now that time has set in. A game I couldn't see our players playing and coming out on top.

    Pretty sure we would have been humiliated by either the Redsox or Astros. Too bad the 2018 version is not the final version of our Cubs.

    We will be better and stronger next year.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yea great game all the way to the final out.Man kimbrel makes cj edwards control issues look minuscule in comparison.He's been awful in the postseason, and easily the red sox worst relief pitcher & he keeps dodging bullets.I seriously thought the red sox were about to blow the game, kimbrel walked kemp to load the bases for bregman who then was robbed of a game tying/ending hit by benitendi who made a spectacular catch. What a game,I'd be scared to use kimbrel he's playing with fire every appearance.

    I was thinking the same thing about the cubs, the red sox get so many 2 strike/2 out hits it's amazing.They were grinding out every ab, they got pressley out the game with a hit and 2 walks and he's been absolutely lights out since he astros acquired him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think it's more command with Kimbrel than control, he just isn't hitting his spots in the zone, but yeah he's an adventure. The funny thing is that Red Sox fans have always felt that way about him. Most of my Red Sox friends don't even want the team to consider signing him.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I always get control and command confused. Kimbrel had absolutely zero command of his fastball, he couldn’t locate it to save his life just like Edwards does.Kimbrel missed allowing a game winning hr to Gary Sanchez, and game tying hr to Kimbrel by inches this postseason.I thought bregman bailed him out swinging on the 1st pitch. Postseason baseball is much more enjoyable when your team isn’t involved.

  • In reply to bolla:

    *To bregman

  • I too have been advocating for signing Machado for SS. KB, Machado, Javy, Rizzo is a killer infield both offensively and defensively. But no more. Machado is a punk. Recall incidents with him from a few years ago, thought he'd matured and cleaned up his act, but I was wrong. There is no way Theo brings him here.

    (And outfield of Schwarber, Harper and JHey sounds pretty good too!).

  • In reply to TTP:

    His “act” from a few years ago was when Boston beaned him in consecutive games and consecutive series. So when he had a chance to slide hard at 2B he did just that. Then Matt Barnes threw at his head. And guess what? Pedroia had no issue with it. Here is a snipet from the article:

    Pedroia was standing on the top step in the dugout and whistled to catch Machado's attention. He mouthed the words "It's not me," evidently trying to show he was not seeking revenge. Machado acknowledged Pedroia and later pointed to his head.

    "I had nothing to do with that. That's not how you do that, man," Pedroia said afterward. "I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away."

    Let’s get the facts straight before calling him a punk and saying he was the one with issues.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    the yankees will pursue machado according to jon heyman so the cubs have no real chance imo unless he wants to come to the cubs and the word is machado has wanted to go to the yankees for a while now. The yankees are under the luxury tax, have 86 million in guaranteed salary pre arbitration,they can offer machado & harper blank checks if they really wanted too. They need starting pitching so I expect them to sign corbin also.They have money to burn because of all the cost controlled players on their 25 man roster


  • In reply to bolla:

    Philadelphia is going to go after Machado just as hard as the Yankees and they also have a ton of money. I wouldn't just assume he'll be in pinstripes. Boras is going to try to get his market to be as large as possible. I think the days of assuming the the Yankees are going to just outspend everyone are past. Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are much more fiscally conscious than their father was. They'll spend, but they aren't going to just automatically be the highest bidder because they want a guy. They don't have a spot for Harper so they're not going to pursue him but expect them to be after Machado, Corbin and possibly Kuechel expecting to land at least one. If the Machado bidding war keeps them from getting pitching they'll back off.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think dan lozano is machados agent, and machado wants to play for the yankees(according to sources close to him) that's the difference.I read the phillies have some ex oriole execs in their fo one who was in baltimore when machado was drafted so they will be interested but jon heyman said they are way behind the yankees as far as machados interest

    I'm Hoping either machado or harper want to play for the cubs

  • In reply to TTP:

    That is not gonna scare Theo off. Theo brought in a troubled yankee closer to win the WS. As long as a guy helps win games Theo will try to get him.

  • The logical signing for the Cubs id DJ LeMahieu to play second base. He played only 128 games this year and still hit his career high in homers, 15. He is a professional hitter and a nice fielder.
    He played for $8.5 million last year and has always been undervalued. At 30 he reminds me of a younger Ben Zobrist. A (3) year deal might snag him, even if you only got two of peak performance. Then Baez plays short, Bryant rehabilitated at third and you have a terrific infield.
    Ottavino of the Rockies is also available, but after Chatwood I am a little fearful of Colorado pitchers.
    I am hopeful Dillon Maples becomes a dominant relief pitcher this season. His slider is dynamic.
    If I am Theo I look for another closer because Morrow and Strop are not the answer. Possibly sign Nathan Eovaldi and make him into a closer or right handed Hader.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I don’t mind signing DJ and the bullpen guys you mentioned. Who would you send packing from the bullpen???? Also DJ isn’t gonna fix the lack of hitting from the outfield.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    No thanks on dj lemahieu he's a career 264/311/362 with a 673 ops hitter away from coors field

    330/387/448 835 ops at coors. his babip average is .67 higher at coors

    It's obvious that high altitude boosts his numbers.I want no parts of dj

  • This may be strange, coming from a Cubs fan, but I have a lot of respect for how the Brewers won the division this year, and basically just how tough of a team they are. I'm rooting for them to knock off the Dodgers. They have won with class all year. Go Brew!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah blah. Go Dodgers!

    In all seriousness, we have to tip our cap to the Crew. They took it. We didn't fold, or collapse, they played better and earned it.

    For this year, I hope they lose. They broke my heart, in case that means anything.

    I have seen comments about the quantity of content. These guys do a remarkable job and do deserve a break. They welcomed me into the fold and I need to earn my exposure. I haven't done that yet, but hope to soon. I'm learning, and will have several new pieces up shortly. It's about to get interesting.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    ;-) Definitely go Cubs in the future. But this year there are only 3 teams left to root for. I'm sure you're going to do great BP. You always generate a lot of feedback, which is a good thing.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I rather see the dodgers go to the ws. The Red sox are winning the title this season imo. Watching how they handled media darlings houston astros was very impressive

  • In reply to HefCA:

    You bet ! I hate the Cardinals, but the Dodgers are a close second.

  • I feel like starting pitching this postseason has been almost non existent. I miss the 1-0 and 2-1 games. Wonder if weather plays role with Houston and dodgers are warm weather. And Milwaukee is a indoor stadium??? Or is the offense just that much better???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I don't know about the Dodgers, but the Astros split 2 games in Boston. They lost 3 straight at home in a closed, retractable roof stadium. It was a little chilly in Minute Maid in the first game (game 3) because we had lows all the way down to 57 degrees the night before the game and it only got up to the low 70's on game day. Minute Maid only has AC. No heat.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Low 70s is a lot warm then playing in Boston or Cleveland or Wrigley in mid to late October

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    The Cubs biggest concern this offseason is obviously SS. If something happens to Baez, there's no legitimate player on the team to take his spot. That's why I think the FO is going to push harder for Machado than Harper. Harper's no slouch, but Manny fills the teams biggest need in more than 1 way. I'm also on board if the Cubs go after Cutch also. He's good in LF, gives good AB's, and would be great at lead off especially if Joe bats the pitcher 8th. Plus our team seems to play much better, and is built, to have the pitcher in the 8 hole. As for Schwarber, I like him, but as a centerpiece he can bring in an impact everyday player or a nice haul of almost MLB ready players. I'd try for another quality SP. I have no faith in Darvish at this point in time. As for the BP, it's always hit or miss. I'd rather spend than trade to fill the holes in the BP. Plus the FO is good at fixing the BP as the season progresses.

    Imo, KB should play 3b almost every game. Putting him in LF doesn't help unless he only fills in there on occasion. We already have enough versatility players.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    After everything that has come out the last week on Machado, I have to think there is little chance he winds up a Cub. And if back up SS is our biggest concern, we are in good shape.

    Everyone says that Machado winds up at 3B anyway so not worth upsetting chemistry to bring in a guy who isn’t as good as the guy we have now.

    Only way Cubs get another SP is if they are able to unload Yu or Chatwood. A lot of money tied up there.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Please explain how we are in good shape at SS with only Baez as the only legitimate SS on the team? I'd love to hear who these players are. Oh wait there isn't one. And Machado would play SS & Baez 2b. If you're looking at actual production, Machado is way better than Bryant, no questions asked.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    There's a website called Fangraphs & it will show you that Manny produces way more than Bryant.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Don't most teams have only 1 legitimate SS on the roster?
    I think there is a question if Machado is better than Bryant.

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    And if they lose Hyde to another team, I really like Ross as the new bench coach. He's baseball smart and knows the players and coaches well. A good vet backstop should be a top priority. Contreras was way overused and it showed after the allstar break.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Not sure I agree with Willson Contreras being "way overused" last year. In 2015 he had 521 PA, in 2016 523 and in 2017 428. The reason 2017 was lower was due to injury. In 2018 he had 544 PA. I think Carantini did ok as the back up catcher. Plus he can back up Rizzo at first.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    There's a great backstop available from Miami but the cost to acquire him would be high !

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    In reply to ronvet69:

    True. U just don't understand IrwinFletchers post saying that the Cubs needing a backup SS is the least of their concerns. It's actually the biggest, especially since we don't have anyone to replace Baez. And on top of that, SS is the most important position on the field.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I just don't understand, not U just don't understand

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    The Miami option would not be a backup

  • Postseason baseball is stress free when the cubs aren't playing, less anxiety and nail biting.Watching those craig kimbrel roller coaster saves was crazy.I could only imagine what red sox fans were going through,this guy almost blew like 3-4 games just walking people and giving up hits left n right. Kimbrel had 3 deep warning track outs and a diving catch by benitendi to save these games.

    I'll watch the dodgers and brewers tonight have a feeling the brewers will win.

  • Jon heyman says that if brandon hyde doesn't get one of the manager jobs he interviewed for he will be a candidate to replace maddon if the cubs don't offer an extension.(I think if the cubs win the '19 world series then maddon will get a 2 year extension) If not bye bye joe

    he said mark de rosa is another managerial candidate, and the cubs offered derosa the bench coach job last winter.but he likes his mlb network gig.That could change after next season, he's reportedly holding out for a special opportunity like the cubs or braves.

    Lastly heyman said hiring iapoce as hitting coach was an admission by the cubs that letting malle go was a mistake, since iapoce came up with mallee and they have similar hitting philosophies.

  • Manny Machado can play shortstop on my team any time!!!

  • Cubs may be losing jason mcleod to the giants.Nick cardafo said it appears likely mcleod will take the giants gm position

  • Craig counsells over managing will most likely cost the brewers their best shot at the world series unless the dodgers collapse.

    He brought in hader TRAILING 2-1 in the 3rd wasted him for 3 innings then brought in jeffres who has been shaky All postseason who gave up a 3 run hr to puig

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    In reply to bolla:

    I don't disagree, but you don't win many games scoring 1run.

    The big mistake was not trusting Chacin to get thru 3-4 innings.

    A bunt by Machado and a mistake to Bellinger and he's out? The Puig double was just placed perfectly. He settled down after that and got 3 straight outs.

    I am just trying to figure out what he was going to do in the 6th inning, lets say its still 2-1 ? Whose he going to? What if they get the lead, whose closing the game?

    He must have thought rain was coming and he wanted to grab the lead before the game became official......... LOL

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Exactly Chacin gave up 3 hits and 2 runs and counsel panicked, he should of saved hader.

  • I am so happy the Brewers are done. Overachievers with a lot of luck. Over 30 wins in 1 run games. That is not a sustainable plan. Cannot stand how cocky a team who hasn’t won a damn thing can be. Cubs will punk them by 7-10 games in ‘19.

    Dodgers go from 10 games under to sneaking in and now are NLCS champs. It just shows you there is an element of a crap shoot to the playoffs.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don’t care for the brewers but to say that the overachieved with a lot of luck seems very bitter to say. They one the division fair and square. Doesn’t matter if the won all their games by 5 runs or barely won them. They also have the MVP and a great bullpen. They just cooled off at the wrong time. Not sure if cubs will punk them by 7-10 games.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:


  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    To say they weren't lucky is disingenuous. It's not the sole reason why they won 96 games, a Division title, an NLDS and took the NLCS to 7 games, but it was most certainly a factor. Where you have to give the Brewers credit is that they learned how to recognize and capitalize on that luck and use it as the basis of keen strategy. I viewed their pitching staff as a entire group of slightly lesser versions Kyle Hendricks. Now I'm not directly comparing any of their pitchers to Hendricks, but describing pitchers whose success hinges not on pure stuff but knowing how to pitch and having a trusted, elite, out pitch. Guys like that need t have excellent command to make their game work and it was improbable that Milwaukee seemingly always had 3 or 4 them on the top of their games at all times. It's not the ideal way to build a pitching staff but the Brewers understood what it was and played their games around it. They were able to do this by putting those guys in the best matchups to succeed and relying on a bullpen which did have "stuff" guys and a lockdown weapon in Hader.

    Offensively they understood that the two consistent guys that made the offense go were Cain and Yelich, and the supporting staff around them could be rotated for different looks making it more difficult to scout them on a daily basis. When they couldn't get a power arm at the price they wanted on the market they got more bats for even more offensive flexibility and added ability to play matchups. Again this was strategy based on some luck. They had a guy having an MVP year and another guy slightly behind and they knew the pieces around them weren't quite there although some had unique skills that worked in matchups against certain pitchers. The luck was that worked for as long as it did despite all the underlying numbers indicating it couldn't sustain (they had some hitters in the middle of the season with absurd BAPIP) the skill and the strategy around that luck was getting more hitters to rotate in and out.

    On most traditional contenders you see four or five men having career years at the plate or at least at the upper levels of their talent. Milwaukee had two. Most contenders have a couple of very dangerous pitchers to face (the great ones often three or four) as well. The Brewers had neither of these things so they used their true strength, the bullpen, as their winning hand at mitigated the other weaknesses through analytics and a couple of smart deals. Kansas City did something similar to go to and win one World Series. Call it luck, call it good fortune, call it the baseball gods smiling on them the Brewers recognized what they were experiencing and won with it. Again though, saying luck didn't play a part is not looking close enough.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I get what you are saying. They also were relatively healthy all year. Is that luck??? I just call it the X factor to do well. Yes their rotation wasn’t full of power arms and they had a great year in a untraditional way but it doesn’t take away how effective they were. Were the cubs lucky in 16? Does the rain delay count as luck? I do think team that win have some good breaks/fortune but to be lucky for 163 games is tough to buy.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    In most studies teams that have crazy records in 1 run games are “lucky” as that is not sustainable from year to year. Just a nugget from Fangraphs I believe. That is why I said “lucky”. Am I not bitter. Just don’t care for their bravado. They beat us fair and square over 163. IMO, they fall well back of the Cubs in ‘19.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yea the brewers had A LOT of things go their way. Arcia turned into Barry larkin in the playoffs, Chacin and Aguilar had career years, cubs offensive collapse , yelich scorching 2nd half. 8 game winning streak to end season. Good luck repeating that

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    In reply to rbrucato:

    Exactly on the 1st paragraph.

    I disagree a little on the 2nd one as the Dodgers just underachieved in the beg of the season due to injuries or what not. The talent is there and after adding Machado and getting healthy (Turner back), they started, they looked like one of the top teams in the NL.

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    I will not rest until "Nico Suave" becomes a thing...

  • In reply to Grandpaboy1967:

    I haven't watched that YouTube link, but "Nico Suave" works for me. Very creative. Well done! If he continues through the system you may have a winner on your hands.

  • Give me machado he's a player and he trolls brewers fans please come to chicago,then the cubs can move bryant and his underwhelming defense to the outfield.

    Harper is 1a, neck and neck but machado hits elite pitching better.The cubs have the money the time is now.

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    In reply to bolla:

    Yes, I completely agree. Besides Manny hitting elite pitching way better than Harper, it would really piss off Milwaukee if he was a Cub. Just like LA pissed all over their ballpark & clubhouse last night.

  • Jon heyman says the industry buzz is joe girardi is waiting on the cubs job(after 2019).

  • In reply to bolla:

    Do you think Girardi and the Cubs front office is a good match? It seems like they have different philosophies and approaches to the game.

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