Saturday, February 1, 2014

Covering The Holes

Since the Cubs failed to bring Masahiro Tanaka to Chicago it has been a very upsetting off-season at that. The long await for a great Cubs team will continue for another year and we will have to deal with it. 

With the starting rotation lacking, the Chicago Cubs decided to sign Jason Hammel to a one year contract. Hammel who is 31 has the potential to be a good 4th or 5th starter in the rotation. He might not be a Tanaka like pitcher, but in my opinion he will be a great fit for the Cubs. 

Now that the Cubs signed Hammel, the starting rotation will have some competition going forward  into spring training. Jackson, Wood, and Shark all which have spots locked in, which leaves two available spots to Hammel, Villanueva, Arrieta, Rusin, and Grimm to fight over.

Out of the remaining 5 the two that stick out the most are Hammel, and Arrieta. Hammel coming from the AL had an ERA of 4.97 which isn't bad since he had another hitter to face. On the other hand, Arrieta managed to post a 4-2 record and an ERA of just 3.66 with the Cubs. 4 of his 9 starts ended up as quality starts, which needs some improvement since he is under 50% of giving his team a chance to win the game. 

The one thing that is problematic about the rotation is the lack of left-handers. The rotation has been right dominant in the past years which has caused trouble against teams with outstanding power lefties. Wood being the one lefty with a guaranteed spot has shown composure and consistency for the Cubs in the past years. 

Another lefty that could be in the rotation is Chris Rusin. Now whether Rusin shows up this spring is a toss up for most people. But he has showed spurts of dominance, but just cannot keep it together throughout the entire season. Once Rusin can show he can compete each and every start the Cubs might just have a juggernaut in the rotation. 

As the off-season continues, it seems as if Theo and the Cubs will once again trust their farm system and wait it out until the young guys are ready to suit up. I would expect close to .500 record this season if not a bit over that. The Cubs have the tools to come out and compete everyday, it's just a matter if they will use them or not. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Next Year Is Our Year: Hopefully Right?

For the past ten years, the 2013 season has been one of the most anxious seasons for most Cubs fans. With a lot of action during the off-season and new additions to the ball club, many people were starting to get excited. 

Now almost 60 games into the season and the Cubs are already disappointing everyone. Every game out the Chicago Cubs seem to always have something not going in their favor. If it is from the pitching staff, to the fielding, and even the coaching nothing ever seems to go right. As everyone knows us Cubs fans are just wanting to be able to watch baseball again without pain and disappointment. 

One of the biggest parts of the struggles the Cubs have had early in the season is their bullpen. The Cubs have blown the league leading 13 games so far this season. With the record standing at 24-35 one can see how important those blown games really are.

Even though the Cubs have had minimal success this season they have still shown signs of greatness for the future. From free agent pick ups in Nate Schierholtz, to drafting Kris Bryant in the 2013 MLB draft. Many pieces are beginning to fall in place for our future Cubs, and patient will be the key. Even though it has been a rough season so far don't give up on your Chicago Cubs just yet. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gauging The Starting Lineup

As everyone knows we are only one day away from the start of the 2013 season. WIth optimism for Cubs fans the opening day lineup has been one of the most anticipated lineups for the past couple of years. Lets take a look at each starter and give you what we think is the best and worst parts of each player.

1) CF:  David Dejesus
The Good:

The Cubs have been looking for a great lead off hitter for the past couple of years and Theo feels as if he has found the one in Dejesus. With a career average on base percentage at .355 Dejesus gets on base three times every ten at bats. This means in a three game series he will get at least one lead off hit during that span.

The Bad:

The only bad thing that we can see in Dejesus is that he is an aging outfielder and his years are going to be numbered. He will turn 34 this year and many believe that you will see a decline in his numbers year after year. In saying this look for the Cubs to trade Dejesus closer to the trade deadline in hopes for some pitching prospects. 

2)SS: Starlin Castro

The Good:

This one is a no brainer for the lineup and for coach Dale Sveum. With Castro being the biggest bright spot in the Cubs lineup, he is nothing less than spectacular. With his numbers continuing to increase year after year, Castro's career average is sitting just under a mere .300. The Cubs are expecting Castro to break the 20 home run mark this year and see an increase in RBI's with Dejesus out in front of him.

The Bad:

With all of the good Castro brings there is only one thing that Castro doesn't seem to have. Over the past three years, Castro has bundled up over 83 errors in his short stint in the big show. Hopefully Castro can grow from his mistakes and become one of the elite shortstops in the game. 

3)1B: Anthony Rizzo

The Good:

With another young star of the future, Rizzo has shown that he can hit for power and also hit for average. His big bat in the lineup will either make pitchers pitch around him or be forced to pitch to him if Dejesus or Castro can get on base. In just a minor stint in the bigs last year Rizzo impressed many hitting 15 home runs, cashing in 48 RBI's and hitting for an average of .285. Since Anthony has only played in half of a season, you can double his numbers from last year and just smile.

The Bad:

Since Rizzo has only played in the majors for a short period of time we really do not know what he is capable of. In his first appearance in the bigs Anthony was not impressive at all. But in his second term he did nothing but shut up the critics. What does this mean for him? Did he get over the hump of playing in the majors and find his groove or was last season just a fluke.

4)LF: Alfonso Soriano

The Good:

Well what is there really to say about Alfonso? For starters Soriano is a great guy in the club house and is loved by many Cubs fans throughout the nation. When he is on one of his streaks there is no better player to have in the lineup then him. With great power Alfonso was one of the only bright spots on the team last year.

The Bad:

He is one of the most unreliable fielders on the Cubs 40-man roster. When you watch a game you never know to cringe or to be delighted when a ball is hit to left field. Another thing that worries us is his age, Soriano is almost 38 years old which means his career is pretty much over. In saying that hopefully he will start the year off hot so that someone will want to take him and his extremely ridiculous salary off our hands. 

5)RF: Nate Schierholtz

The Good:

With a much needed hole to fill in the outfield Schierholtz brings some tools to the table. With a career average of .270 Nate can get you many hits and has a decent on base percentage of .321. He seems to have a great eye at the plate and average discipline. He tends not to strike out too often and takes a walk every now and again

The Bad: 

With holes to fill in the lineup Schierholtz will likely split time with Scott Hairston in right field. With many prospects to bring up in the farm system Nate is nothing more than a guy who will be filling a spot until Soler is ready. Look for him to be traded mid season depending on performance. Unless Schierholtz impressive everyone he wont be on the roster for more than two years tops. 

6)C: Welington Castillo

The Good:

Castillo brings lots of potential to the catchers spot and will likely see the most time behind the plate. Since the offseason began Castillo has been putting in much time and effort to get his chance in the bigs. With lots of work and improvement Castillo has been showing great chemistry with the pitchers and has been keeping them all calm and confident throughout the offseason and spring training. 

The Bad:

The lack of inexperience in the Majors is one of the biggest issues one can see with Castillo. Another major factor for Welington will be if his endurance can handle the long 162 game season playing catcher in the majors. Also a major problem he seems to have is striking out. In the 2012 season Castillo played in 52 games and struck out in every single one of them expect one. This will be a gigantic problem if he cannot fix the issue in 2013. 

7)3B: Luis Valbuena

The Good: 

Is there even anything to brag about Valbuena with? One of the things that impresses us the most is his fielding ability. Playing in 92 games at third base Luis as only committed a total of nine errors. Another thing to boast upon is that he is not injury prone like some people who play third base...cough cough (Ian Stewart)....

The Bad:

Valbuena has struggled offensively in his time and posts a career average of only .224. It is apparent that him and Castillo are good buddies with as many times as the two strike out in one year. Valbuena might have impressed Theo and his scouts in the offseason but I cannot see anything that I like about him so far.....Hey Aramis...can you please come back sometime soon??? 

8)2B: Brent Lillibridge

The Good:

Only in the starting lineup due to an injury of Barney, Lillibridge posted great numbers in spring training and will hopefully fill the gap at 2nd base until Darwin can return.

The Bad:

Pretty much anything and everything you can think of. 

9)SP: Jeff Samardzija

The Good:

"The Shark" coming off his first season as a full time starter, he looks to fully improve from last year and become an elite starter for the Cubs. He showed lots of potential on the mound in 2012 and Theo is hoping for him to improve as a starter from the experience and knowledge he gained from last year. Look for Jeff to be a break out pitcher this year and put up great numbers across the boards. 

The Bad:

As everyone knows Samardzija's lack of experience will be his worst enemy. He will need to lower his earned run total this year if he wants to reach the next level as a starting pitcher. 

With all of the speculation and optimism for the 2013 season, don't be surprised if you are watching Castro pouring champaign all over Rizzo come October...Please Comment below and tell us what you think! And as always, Go Cubs Go!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New

For almost 100 years Wrigley field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs. Placed between Addison and Waveland it has become a monumental ballpark for all of baseball and has a thriving atmosphere year after year.

For all of Cubs fans this is the place to be between April and September. But with all of the regulations on night games, concerts, etc it has started to become much of a hassle for the team and the owners. Recently the Cubs have proposed a 300 million dollar renovation plan to the neighborhood and the mayor. If this plan would get passed this would revamp Wrigley Field and give it a fresh new coat of paint. 

But why should they renovate the ballpark? Considering the condition that it is in and not to mention the nagging community around the stadium it would be better off for the Cubs to part ways. Just imagine a brand new ballpark somewhere outside of Chicago with a retractable roof, new look, and even a fresh start. 

Not only would this new stadium bring in more revenue, but even give the Cubs more flexibility to do what they please with their stadium. One of the major issues one can see is not having enough night games. This hurts the team when the come off a long road trip playing at night and then turn around in play six or seven games starting at noon. 

With all of the talk between the mayor, the rooftops, and even the Cubs one could consider moving as the best option. For sentimental value they could incorporate the Ivy somewhere in the dugouts because who wants to run into a brick fence anyway? Also the scoreboard could be blown into millions of pieces so that the fans could get a piece of Cubs history. Please comment below and let us know what you think the Cubs should do!! And as always, Go Cubs Go!!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What is a Lefty?

With opening day just a week away the Cubs have been doing their final cuts for the 2013 season. With many new additions to the pitching staff one would wonder what is in store for the Cubs this year. Going with four righties and only one lefty the Cubs will be dominant against the righties in the lineup. 

With only one lefty in the starting rotation their is one other lefty one can think of in the minors is Chris Rusin. He has a mixes of pitches supporting a cutter, changeup, and curveball. Most scouts like to point out that his command is outstanding and the best in the farm system.

Rusin drafted in the fourth round from the University of Kentucky in 2009. In the minors Rusin was very solid in his approach in the lower levels but was challenged more in triple-A Iowa. In last years season Rusin backed up an 4.46 ERA and had 8 wins and 9 losses. He was eventually brought up the Majors and did not look comfertable at all. 

Putting lots of work in the off-season, Rusin looked outstanding in spring training. Going 3-0 and supporting a 1.93 ERA Rusin stuff was dominate and everything was going his way. Recently getting sent down to the minors, Rusin will have to battle his way back to the majors in 2013.

 If Rusin can keep putting in the work he could be a middle of the rotation starter and give the Cubs a much needed second lefty in the rotation. Look for Rusin to be called up around June and continue his terror in the Majors. Let us know what you think by commenting below...and as always...Go Cubs Go!!!! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Training Thoughts

As everyone knows spring training is almost over and the Cubs have shown some great progress in hitting and pitching. But still the Chicago Cubs have ran into some issues. One of the major issues was Castro's hamstring injury, but hopefully this will be nothing more than just poor conditioning. 

One other injury issue is that of Scott Baker, reports are telling us that  he will be sidelined indefinitely after a MRI on his throwing elbow. He failed to finish his first inning in spring training and is still feeling discomfort in his elbow. With all of the Cubs new additions to the pitching staff the Cubs shouldn't have a problem with filling the hole in the starting rotation. 

With Javier Baez being the highlight to the Cubs spring he has overshadowed almost everyone else. With an average on over .300 Baez hit 4 home runs and had 10 RBI's. This gives the Cubs optimistic for the infield and could possible fill the gap at the hot corner for years to come. Other highlights include Nate Schierholtz and Brian Bogusevic. Both having 30 or more at bats each player had an outstanding average and great fielding. Schierholtz who was picked up during the offseason will help out in right field and Bogusevic is a hard working shortstop trying to earn a spot on this years roster. 

As for pitching the two that stand out the most would have to be Travis Wood and Chris Rusin. Each of these pitchers have yet to lose a game in the spring and both support era's under 3.00. These pitchers could add great support to our starting rotation. Wood who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds and has high expectations for the Cubs. Also Rusin is highly liked by Coach Dale Svuem and will bring a much needed lefty to the starting rotation. 

Overall the spring has given the Cubs so new insight on all of their players and gave lots of optimism and excitement to both the fans and the ball club. Hoping for a great season the Cubs will face off against the Pittsburg Pirates on April 1st! Please leave your advice, thoughts and comments below..and always Go Cubs Go!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spring Training: Next Year is Here

Finally pitchers and catchers have reported to kick off the 2013 baseball season. The World Series is anyone's to win and Cubs fans would love for their team to bring home the hardware. With the rotation and bullpen looking a lot better then last year, the Cubs will continue to move forward with their dynasty progression. 

Today starts a new chapter in Theo's reign in Chicago and he hopes for it to be a good one. With the signing of multiple players in the off season like Scott Baker, Edwin Jackson..and many more, the Cubs have reloaded for the new season. Coming off a 100+ losing season Theo and the Cubs want to improve from last years awful catastrophe and try and contend for a playoff spot this year. 

With the Chicago Cubs already scratched off the playoff sheet, many aren't even expecting a .500 win season for the lovable losers. With the Cubs drought extended past one century, the organization and the fans still have their hopes for a World Series victory. This could be the year the Cubs come out and surprise everyone by taking the hardware home. Looking back over the past years the Cubs have went from winning 60 games in one year and then 90 the following year. No one ever knows what the Cubs are capable of and hopefully they can come out with a bang this season. 

 With many pitchers like Scott baker, Hector Rondon and Arodys Vizcaino coming off Tommy-John surgery no one knows what to expect from them this year. Hoping for many positives from these pitchers, the Cubs pitching staff could out preform the expectations for this season and boost the Cubs to a playoff wildcard or even maybe a NL pennant! With the Cubs having so much young talent it is hard to tell what or who will be carrying the Cubs this season. Expect your Chicago Cubs to break out this season and win 86 games giving them a much needed moral boost and possible playoff spot. Please comment below and tell us what you think the Cubs bring to the table this year!! 

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The key to blogging is to never give up. No matter what anyone says or no matter how hard the critics can be.