Anarchists' Brunch - Sometimes You Eat The Bear...

…and sometimes he eats you. (Yes, still figuring out where this apostrophe goes in the title. It’s clearly more than one anarchist at this brunch. But does it belong to them? Or is it for them? Are they just there? Are we? These questions torment me).

This week saw the trade, and essentially a white flag, on Brett Jackson. I guess it’s a measure of just how far the Cubs organization has come in a short time that Jackson went from some of our brightest hope in the system to essentially the scrapheap. Then again, Jackson as a prime prospect was always a reach. It was just the only one available to us.

But of course, I was fully on board with Jackson. Maybe it was desperation, because back in 2012 there just wasn’t anything else. But there was something about Jackson. I guess it was the way he looks. He looks like a player, right? The way he ghosted to balls in centerfield, it just looked right. I’m sure that’s what had White Sox fans smitten with Ryan Sweeney years ago. Because he LOOKS like a player. That sort of lean, athletic frame where everything looks loose. Yeah, Jackson came up with the same long, loopy swing that it seemed every Cubs prospect came up with and then gets found out.

Maybe it was that Jackson was the only Hendry era prospect who came up and actually had an idea that he could actually take a walk. Sure, Jackson couldn’t hit but he did know how to work a count and get on base occasionally with a free pass. The only other one I can remember who did was Matt Murton. The only problem was Murton played the outfield like he had hives and didn’t really have any power. Jackson hit less than .200 in his brief time in Chicago, but still had an OBP over .300. Consistently in the minors his OBP was 80-100 points higher than his batting average. Such was the backward ways of a Hendry-run organization that I would drink the sand of the thought of Brett Jackson walking in the low OBP desert that was the Cubs system.

That’s what we were forced to cling to. Any prospect who walked on occasion. Of course, as with any fan, I wanted to be right too. Especially when you get into this whole blogging thing, the first priority is watching the Cubs win but behind that you also want to know that what you were seeing was actually the truth. I go through this all the time with the Hawks, as some people think I throw things when a player I’ve criticized scores or vice versa. It’s what leads some Bears fans to root against Jay Cutler instead of for the Bears, just because they don’t like the guy. It’s a weird station, perhaps the result of everyone having a voice now through Twitter or Facebook or their own blogs.

I wanted to be right about Brett Jackson. I wasn’t. No one ever gets it totally right. He’s still 26, it’s not completely over. Though I don’t think what he does well will be appreciated by a Diamondbacks organization that probably still uses leaches in the training room. But I guess it’s the best sign of just how far the Cubs system has moved on.

That’s ok. Adam was still really high on Josh Vitters. Must be a family thing.

-I don’t know what to make of Rob Manfred. I feel like we’re just going to see more of the same, although with an increasingly cantankerous Jerry Reinsdorf, which I find pretty entertaining. I don’t know what the issues really are that Manfred has to solve. There’s labor peace which he presided over. Every team is making money, with a lot awash in TV cash. There are pace of play problems, but those are minor when you consider what other sports are dealing with. And I’m not sure Manfred and the owners even care about that. The PED farce is pretty much over, I guess. Sure, there will be crises in the future we can’t see now. I don’t know if he’s the man to deal with them or not. Seems an owner puppet, but then so was Selig. The days of any commissioner acting independently of the owners for the good of the sport are long gone. And that’s in any sport. But that means thumb-dicked owners solving the game’s problems. That doesn’t always end well.

-I really wanted to like “Married” on FX, because Judy Greer is my spirit animal. Sadly, I don’t.

-More self-promotion. I have gotten back to work this weekend, so there will be a new issue of my Cubs digital weekly The Ivy Drip. I don’t know if it’ll be Monday or Tuesday. This is the link it will be posted at:¬†¬†Keep an eye on my twitter feed, @RealFansProgram and @CubsIvyDrip. That’s where I’ll announce when it’s out. It’s only $2, so I think it’s worth a flier for you.


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  • Nice one Sam - and I am in agreement in general as regards both BJax and Vitters,..... both of them 'look' like they should have been able to be ML-level ballplayers,.....

    They may yet be - but that's some other team's issue now.

    The FACT that 2 years ago the 'best and brightest' players working through the Cubs system as prospects were guys like BJax, Vitters, and Tyler Colvin (as a recent grad into the bigs) and that the pitching prospects were close to Nil - when contrasted to now,....

    Night & Day.

    It's very true that all of the backlog of guys currently working through into the bids is NOT going to make it - but the fact that if only some of them make it AND the team is still going to be stocked for a while is something great to see.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    The fact that Jackson was our top prospect a couple of years ago was because our system was so bad.

    The fact that Jackson was our bottom prospect this year was not because our system is so good. It is because Jackson was so bad.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I think that a lot of people forget just highly regarded B-Jax was. It wasn't just that our system was bad (which it was). Coming into the 2012 season, Baseball America had B-Jax ranked as the 32nd best prospect in baseball, which would have made him the #1 or #2 prospect for most MLB teams. He was coming of his 22 year old season that he split at AA and AAA with combined stats of .273 avg, .379 obp, . 490 slg, 20 hr, 58 rbi, 84 runs, 21 sb, 73 bb and 138 k's in 431 at-bats. To put that into perspective he was ranked higher than guys like Zack Wheeler, Nick Castellanos, Anthony Rizzo, Billy Hamilton, Will Middlebrooks, James Paxton, Matt Harvey, Jean Segura, Wily Peralta, Xander Bogaerts, George Springer, Javier Baez, Dellin Betances, Sonny Gray, Addison Reed, Starling Marte, Oscar Tavares, Leonys Martin, Chris Archer, Andrelton Simmons, Kolten Wong, Nate Eovaldi, Jedd Gyorko, etc.

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    any time baez wants to stop swinging for 6-run home runs on every pitch is fine with me. I posted on a previous thread that, based on his interview presentation, he doesn't seem overly bright; I was slammed for jumping to conclusions because he's shy and hispanic. No, I'm going to stand by my assessment until he shows otherwise. The kid has had plate discipline drummed into his brain for the past 3 years, and he has seen the success from following that advice. But as soon as it counts he forgets all of it. Seems the only thing that thrills him is seeing the ball leave the park. Someone should teach him how to play a game called baseball.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Gotta agree. Sure hope they don't trade Castro to make room for any of these "Super Prospects" until they've proven themselves at the major league level.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Hey - he (Baez) drew a walk today,...... How about that?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    He drew two walks today.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It's somewhat bold of you to say that, as we've become incredibly politically sensitive. But I too think the same thing in Baez. But if he can gain some valuable baseball I.Q from some of these vets, and not make things all about himself, he'll be fine, coupling it with his immense talent.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Baez has two factors working against him; he is aggressive by nature and 21 years old. Taking two walks today was a step forward for the kid and struggling at a higher level is his M.O.

    With his confidence it appears Baez recognizes when the off-speed stuff is coming and wants to cream it. Problem is ML pitchers are not stupid enough to throw it over the plate. If he is still swinging at those type of pitches by this time next year there will be an intervention for sure.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I've been re-reading "Moneyball" this week and something that stands out is Billy Beane's insistence that plate discipline can't be taught. I doubt Javy would have been drafted by the Cubs if the current FO was in place. The same could probably be said of Castro. Regardless, Theo & Jed have to make the most of the talent they have available, and Javy definitely has talent. The strikeouts will go down, just as they have at every other level he's played at, but his SO rate will always be high. The only question is, will his OPS make it worth putting up with the strikeouts? Hopefully, it will, but if not, THAT is what those "waves of talent" are for.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Baez will never be a 120K:100BB guy. I think he best year will have a 140K, 65BB, 40HR type year. Think Adam Dunn with more speed, less discipline and a decent defender.

    I also think he will tone down his swing some as time goes by. He is still just getting his feet under him. He struggled when he first arrived at Iowa too but then turned it around, got more patient and started getting pitches to hit.

    His 2 walks yesterday is the biggest sign for me he is getting accustomed to the major leagues. His 4.14 P/PA also indicates he is doing OK (for perspective, Rizzo's is 4.04) and getting more patient.

    I intend not to evaluate him significantly until at least next spring.

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    I checked with a saber metrics guru, and he calculated that there is an equal chance that Javier Baez will walk today, or that I see a unicorn in my backyard.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I guess I better take a glance into my backyard...

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Was that a unicorn that just walked through your back yard??? ;-)

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    In reply to cb56:

    I beat you to it. Walk. Score. It is nice how that works. Hate to be snarky, but the awful teams Theo and crew have thrown out there the last three years are starting to get a little old for me. I'm fully bought into the plan, but I want to see some results. Now. I really hope next year my only excitement isn't generated by the great game Billy McKinney had in high A.

  • Yeah, I have to admit that I had similar hopes for Jackson. I'd imagine many of us did. Too bad that he didn't pan out... just another in the long list of Cubs prospects who were hyped and flamed out. I was also super-stoked when the Cubs drafted Vitters.... I've learned just to wait on these guys. I'm excited about the prospects we have, but also aware that some of these guys won't pan out.

  • Javy Baez isn't Mike trout.. boo Theo and the whole organization...

  • Manfred has to make a decision on the Giant's/A's territory dispute. Selig dodged it for years

  • In reply to SFToby:

    The A's have no territory:

  • I hear ya on Brett Jackson Sam. I once felt the same way about Ken Yaremchuk.

  • Nice Sam. I think we all have that "See , I told you so" thing going on when a player we criticized fails, but at the heart of it, most of us are happy when they help the club. Castillo is that way for me. You put you finger on a very real fan dilemma. I worry about not having an OBP guy in the line up. Soler and Rizzo don't really fit the role as they are both power guys. Would like to have a quintessential lead-off guy.

  • "(Yes, still figuring out where this apostrophe goes in the title. It's clearly more than one anarchist at this brunch. But does it belong to them? Or is it for them? Are they just there? Are we? These questions torment me)."

    OK, Sam - here's the thing. Anarchists' Brunch means more than one anarchist possesses the brunch. Anarchist's Brunch means a single anarchist (you, for example) possesses the brunch. But - you could say Anarchist Brunch where "anarchist" is used as an adjective to describe/characterize the brunch. It's a "pick your poison" type thing. LOL.

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