Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
[powered by WordPress.]
Well, for the third straight time, the new and so called improved Veterans Committee failed to vote in Ron Santo. The position is very under represented in the Hall of Fame and Santo was one of the great. In Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, he has Santo as the sixth best third baseman ever. The five guys in front of him are all in the Hall of Fame as are the two guys behind him (Paul Molitor and Brooks Robinson). And I won’t even go into the George Kell thing.
From 1964 to 1970, Santo hit no fewer then 26 homeruns in any given season and never drove in less then 94 runs. I know that’s only seven seasons but he also won five gold gloves during that time period. He led the league in walks in four of those seasons and from 1964 through 1967, he hit at least 30 homeruns each year.
Of course Santo suffered because he played on some bad teams. He had only two top five MVP finishes with his best showing being a fourth place finish 1967. Regardless, he drove in over 1,300 runs and had a career OPS+ of 125 with the glove to boot. He’s one of the best players ever at his position and I’m not alone in thing Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall.
Jeff Passan profiles Cubs pitching prospect and football holdout Jeff Samardzija. Good stuff during the week when he would have been at the football combines.
The Cubs avoided arbitration with Carlos Zambrano yesterday and they signed him to a one year, $12.4 million deal. If Zambrano does what he’s done the past couple of years, this will be a pretty solid bargain. Of course this still doesn’t address what the Cubs are going to do long term with Zambrano because he’ll be a free agent after the 2007 season if the Cubs don’t ink him to an extension.
PECOTA expects more of the same from Zambrano in 2007. His weighted mean average has him at a 1.29 WHIP with a 3.85 ERA but he has a pretty high collapse rate (38%) which isn’t surprising with Zambrano’s near injury history.
Zambrano is the ace though and if the Cubs are going to make a run in 2007, they need a healthy and effective Zambrano. I’m just excited for now that the Cubs avoided the arbitration table once again.
As good as Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown may have been in 1907, Orval Overall may have been even better. After losing 23 games in his rookie season in 1905 and after a rough start in 1906, the Reds traded Overall to the Cubs for Mark Wicker. Even better, the Cubs got $2,000 out of the deal. Wicker was about league average in 1906 and then he never pitched again.
Overall, on the other hand, turned things around. He went 12-3 down the stretch for the Cubs in only 18 games. He showed solid improvements to his ERA and WHIP and looked like a brand new pitcher.
1907 turned out to be a whole season of what the second half of 1906 was for Overall. He finished in the top five in several categories. He was second in wins (23), fifth in ERA (1.68), fourth in WHIP (1.006), and he was fourth with 141 strikeouts. He even saved three games to finish second in the National League and he led the league with eight shutouts. For all of this, Overall was named the Ex Post Facto Cy Young in the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia.
Overall also got it done in the playoffs. In two starts and 18 innings he gave up only two runs while he struck out 11.
Here’s a look at Overall’s numbers in 1907:
Games Started 30
Complete Games 25
Innings Pitched 268
Earned Runs 50
Runs Saved Above Average 26
Neutral Wins 21
Neutral Losses 10
Man, you hate to see something like this. Kerry Wood slipped getting out of his hot tub and he’ll be out close to a week. This “shouldn’t” mean much, but who knows. He should be back by next week and this shouldn’t affect his schedule once the spring games start.
Kerry Wood showed up to spring training camp 30 pounds lighter, which is every encouraging. For now, Wood will be used as a middle reliever but if he gets his cannon back, I can see him falling in as the teams closer. Think Joel Zumaya for now, who was a big cog in the Tigers resurgance last year.
The Cubs traded reliever Jae Kuk Ryu to the Devil Rays today for outfielder Andrew Lopez and right handed pitcher Gregory Reinhard. Ryu had a solid season in Iowa last year and while he was up and down with the Cubs, he had mixed results. He did strikeout 17 batters in 15 major league innings, but his batting average against was .362 and in his lone start with the Cubs, he gave up six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. Ryu is best (or infamously) known for hitting a bird from its perch with a baseball and killing it in 2003. I guess he still gets taunted for it at times.
Reinhard had a solid season at Low A but he did it as a 23 year old. He’s a fly ball pitcher though, which is of some concern but he struck out 134 in 142 innings. Somehow, despite a ground ball to fly ball ratio of 0.75, he only gave up eight homeruns.
Lopez is still a work in progress but he could be a keeper. He just turned 20 last month and he had a decent season in the short season Appalachian League. He looks like a player who could be a 20/20 type of player if his power ever develops. He did take a few walks as well, although his strikeout rate was pretty high.
This is one of those trades that probably means nothing. I’m not sure what Ryu’s status was but because he went up and down so much, he’s probably out of options. Rather then cutting him loose, the Cubs got what they could because neither one of these guys even shows up at an honorable mention on John Sickels prospect list.
Carlos Zambrano is saying he’ll leave the Cubs after the 2007 season if he doesn’t get a contract extension during the spring. This obviously could derail the whole Cubs resurgance because Zambrano has clearly established himself as the team’s ace. The Cubs have already opened up the wallet, so it’s time to do it one more time.
In a round about way, Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus picked the Cubs to win the NL Central. He takes a more mainstream approach in his analysis and I really like the intro to the column.
Jayson Stark at ESPN.com recently examined what impact the Cubs will make with their record amount of signings in the offseason. In total, the club handed out just under $300 million worth of contracts, an all time record and the final prognosis is that the Cubs can’t help getting better with their new players because it’s hard to go down any further. It’ll still be interesting to see whether the Cubs will be able to make a run at the division title. A lot still rides on the health of guys like Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Derek Lee.
Baseball America recently unveiled their top ten Cubs prospect list today. No major surprises here with Felix Pie coming out on top. It looks like where Pie ends up will depend on whether the Cubs can sign Jacque Jones. If Jones gets dealt, the centerfield spot will probably be Pie’s. If not, then he might start in Triple A until the Cubs can clear some room for him.
Lefty Donald Veal comes in at two and he’s a solid arm who tore through both Low A and High A as a 22 year old. This guy is a potential stud and you could see him in the rotation late in 2007. The only concenr with him is the walks. In fact he almost gave up as many walks (82) in 2006 then he did hits (91 with a batting average against that was .175).
Notre Dame star Jeff Samardzija comes in at number three. The football star recently made a multi-year committment to the Cubs and he’ll test his mettle at High A in 2007.
2006 first round pick Tyler Colvin comes in at number four. He’s still a couple of years away but he had a very good season in the Northwest league. Rouding out the top five is Sean Gallagher and he could find himself getting a cup of coffee at the end of the year.
Some quality players though. When you combine it with the money the Cubs threw around in the offseason, you’d hope that a run isn’t out of the realm of possibility in 2007.
The Cubs signed Mark Prior to a one year, $3.575 milion deal yesterday and arbitration was avoided because of the agreement. Prior was bombed last year after injuring his shoulder and in a lot of ways, this is going to be a pivotal season for the former number two pick. If he can show some flashes of what he did in 2003 and he shows he’s over the shoulder problems, it would be a huge coup for the Cubs and it would show he’s on his way back to stardom.
[powered by WordPress.]
21 queries. 0.860 seconds