The Cubs aren’t yet sure how David Ross’ style as a tactician will differ from his predecessor, but Ross’ decisions are starting to trickle in and lend some clarity to the Cubs’ 2020 season. For starters, Kris Bryant as the leadoff man does not feel like an experiment – it’s happening. Ross likes Bryant’s speed and baserunning ability, and to his credit, there’s really nothing to dislike about Bryant in the leadoff spot. It does create questions further down the order, but coming off a season in which their leadoff men were last in the league with a .294 OBP, that’s a tradeoff they’re willing to make, per Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. The other major decision passed down today was that Jason Heyward would remain in right field as often as possible. Given Heyward’s tremendous defensive abilities and a wRC+ that’s been at league average over the last two years, and it makes some sense to profile Heyward as a centerfielder. He’s more comfortable in right, however, and his glove does play as a genuine asset there. Let’s check in on a couple other National League clubs…
- Tyler Mahle will be more than okay coming out of the bullpen for the Reds if that means staying in the big leagues, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. In the rotation last year, Mahle went 3-12 with a 5.14 ERA/4.66 FIP across 129 2/3 innings in 25 starts. According to Mahle, his biggest problem was the lack of an effective put away breaking ball, something he’s working on by adding a slider. There might be something to Mahle’s analysis, as his curveball induced a 26.6 whiff%. More to the point might be his 7.11 ERA against left-handed hitters, though it’s part and parcel of the same issue, likely.
- Starlin Castro is energized by the opportunity to play for a contender again, per Sam Fortier of the Washington Post. Between the changes that Castro made to his approach in the second half of last year, and his excitement over playing in games of consequence again, the Nationals are finding reasons to believe in Castro’s potential to make up for some of the offense lost in the wake of Anthony Rendon’s departure. Castro’s a difficult player to pin down in terms of ability, but he is a four-time All-Star entering his age-30 season, and before the terms of his current two-year deal run out, he may even cross the 2,000 hit threshold.
Ross will be a good manager.
Front office controls the team now
Always liked his grit as a player
I don’t see him working out 2 years and fired my guess
With the Kris Bryant distraction and a shakey roster around him, I cant see the Cubs doing better than 3rd in division
This team can only decline given Theos longterm mismanagement.
Wheres the upside? What am I missing?
Just seeing overpaid, inconsistent, declining roster with no hope of ditching bad contracts and nothing on the farm to turn to in-house.
It’s not as bad as it played out in 2019.
I think the biggest concerns for this year are Lester and Kimbrel.
Darvish rocked yesterday. Loser.
Did someone steal the sign as Darvish gave up yet another HR?!
6 wins for Darvish last year!
3rd place is very generous for this Cubby team!
Put your “W” flags away!
Keyboard opinions are always the best. Especially from those who played 16 inch puff ball.
Deez Nutz in your mouth would be very generous for you.
What is the Bryant distraction?
Stuff people post in comments mostly
How is the roster shakey around him. The only hitter they lost was Castellanos. Its the same lineup without him. They lost a few 35+year olds. Not really that shakey
Ross is a puppet!
What would be more depressing for your true reality:
A) internet troll stuck in some Russian industrial complex; or
B) actual White Sox fan, stuck on the south side
Good luck in life either way.
You cub fans talk smack too so shut up. We’ll find you in White Sox posts doing the same thing.
Puppet? This coming from a troll who has to take his blowup doll to the dry cleaner every Monday morning for full service?
I like the Wizard of Oz. I like the Tin Man.
dynamite drop in monty
Don’t bother me. I’m thinking.
Ho ho ho….
If Castro gets to 3000 hits, would he make the HoF?
Interesting take he could do it. But dont think the war pundits would sign off. He would end up with like 30 war with 3000 hits
He would have to average 140 hits per season for 10 year to reach that mark… it will never happen
He hasn’t finished with less than 140 hits in a full season yet. hell decline somewhat but his skillset will age well I think. so its doable.
Yes he would make it. Name a 3000 hitter that has not
Uh… The hit king, Pete Rose.
But I agree, and have argued for a long time, that Castro will get to 3000 hits and will be forced into the Hall.
Pete Rose is a pedophile. I hope he never gets in and gets lit on fire too
I watched Rose and the Big Red Machine as a kid, and Rose was a hero to many kids who were Reds fans. we all supported him for many years until his admission that he bet on baseball. That was hard enough to take, but when the news came out about him sleeping with underage girls, that did it for me. He lives his hell every single day and deserves it!
He won’t be good enough to make 3000 hits. The reason he’s made it this far is he debuted at 20 and he’s been durable. But his defense has never been good and won’t be good enough as he ages to play up the middle where his bat is adequate. We’ll see if his defense is improved at 3B but it’s 50-50 whether his bat will be good. Chances are the bat will be average and that’s not good enough to reach 3000 hits as he declines during his 30s. I think he ends up around 2500 hits.
Fidel is dead.
Johnny Damon would have bee a GREAT test case for the 3k entrance fee for HOF inclusion. Not necessarily a Castro fan, but I check in on his race to 3k….
Where’s ChiSoxFan? Theres mention of the Cubs, normally he comes running all excited.
Yeah he’s an ass**** he should stick to WhiteSux posts
Must be in the Drunk Tank at the local police station.
Be nice now. This individual can’t help it that their DNA became polluted.
Sunday school at church.
Yeah but did they ask Kris Bryant if he wants to bat leadoff.
He killed it there while in college I think he’s fine with it. He’s playing for the 2021 offseason, if guys batting leadoff continue to suck it would only hurt his numbers as far as old school things like driving in runs go. Him switching to leadoff takes that narrative away and if he keeps up his career .380 OBP and .900 OPS or whatever it is that can only help in his payday.
Yes they did, and he was excited about it.
Having Rizzo and Bryant bat in some combination of 1 and 2 will produce a lot of runs, especially if Schwarber, Baez, and Contreas can keep up the numbers they’ve had in the past season or two.
I like it. Nice left/right balance.
Nico will go to AAA. Kipnis will make the team.
And Happ probably gets more ABs in CF than Almora unless Albert dominates in spring training.
that 6-9 is basura
As my mother in law would reply, UKININAM!
That a solid line up but I think Kipnis gets the job at 2nd and Hoerner gets some more development in Iowa. Souza Jr. Also gets a spot
Putting your best power hitter at the top of the order makes no sense from an RBI perspective. Bryant should be batting third.
Yes it does. It gives the team a better chance of scoring early and often. The Angels did it with Brian Downing.
dynamite drop in monty
Good thing the only people who care about rbi are fantasy owners and agents
Dynamite, the last I checked, the team that scores the most runs wins every time. RBIs are absolutely important and to say otherwise is absolutely moronic.
No, just no. RBI’s are awful to use to look at player’s productivity with the bat. Last season, Eric Hosmer had 99 RBI’s, but does that mean he was a better run producer than Kris Bryant who had 77? In order to score runs, you need runners on base. The author said the Cubs’ leadoff hitters had a sub-.300 OBP. Hosmer usually had Fernado Tatis to get on in front of him, which is going to produce many more RBI’s, RBI’s 100% rely on where you bat in the line-up, since leadoff hitters aren’t going to get RBI opportunities, and if the guys in front of you can get on base.
It’s not awful. But, Bryant scored 108 times to Hosmer’s 72. Bryant gets on-base more than Hosmer. He also needs someone to drive him in.
Also not true that RBI’s rely on where you bat 100%. If you hit a homer, whether you bat first, last or pinch hitting, you gain an RBI from said homerun. So that 100% statement you made is clearly false.
It’s not a false statement. If you bat leadoff and hit a home run, then you only get 1 RBI. If you bat in the middle of the order, the chance of you getting a multi-run home run are much greater. So unless you’re hitting more than 40 home runs a season out of the leadoff spot, chances are you’re still not going to have as high of an RBI count as someone batting in the 3 hole. Just look at Mike Trout in 2012. Despite him having similar or better overall offensive numbers to someone like Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and Prince Fielder, he only had 83 RBI’s. Why? Well all of his plate appearances came out of the leadoff spot. He stepped to the plate with a man, or multiple men on base 214 times, while Cabrera, Beltre, and Fielder all had over 300 chances (Cabrera and Fielder having over 330 plate appearances with a man/men on base). So yes, if you want a high RBI count, then it is going to rely on where you hit in the line-up.
“Just look at Mike Trout in 2012. Despite him having similar or better overall offensive numbers to someone like Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and Prince Fielder, he only had 83 RBI’s. Why? Well all of his plate appearances came out of the leadoff spot. He stepped to the plate with a man, or multiple men on base 214 times, while Cabrera, Beltre, and Fielder all had over 300 chances (Cabrera and Fielder having over 330 plate appearances with a man/men on base).”
Here’s the EXACT problem with putting your best hitter #1. I would HAPPILY trade 30-40 plate appearances over the course of a season (batting 3 or 4) for 100+ more at-bats with runners on base for my best hitters. Maybe it’s just me, but I want my best hitters at the plate when runners are on base – and I’d have to imagine the difference is bigger in the NL where the pitcher “hits” before the #1 hitter. You can argue against RBI’s as a stat all you want, but you can’t win a game without scoring.
For the Cubs specifically – Stop trying to get cute all the time. Find a 2B, CF, or LF (since the Cubs are stuck with Heyward in RF) that can get on base, and let Bryant drive them in. It’s embarrassing that a team with a “genius” in the front office and a $200M+ payroll every year hasn’t been able to figure this out since Fowler left.
Interesting. I only took your quote of 100% and wanted to make sure you knew it was wrong. But since you doubled down on your first comment I took a look at Hosmer’s numbers with RISP.
.924 OPS, 7 homeruns and 74 RBIs in 148 plate appearances. A .328 average
.887 OPS, 8 homeruns and 44 RBIs in 125 plate appearances. A .260 average.
I guess you’d like Hosmer if he drove in less runs and walked more.
Only one slight misstep, Priggs—not all of Trout’s at bats came out of the leadoff spot. All of his at bats came out of the number one spot in the batting order. He had 127 at bats as a “leadoff hitter”…….he had another 96 at bats “leading off” an inning—-which was less than the 109 at bats “leading off” an inning that the #3 hitter in that lineup, Albert Pujols had.
I’m a little old school, too and surely don’t disagree with the premise you have about giving up some plate appearances for RBI chances, but it is truly only in the first inning and only if the guy in front of you gets on base.
“not all of Trout’s at bats came out of the leadoff spot.”
That’s not really the point… Being the leadoff hitter obviously only affects the first at-bat of the game, but being put in the #1 spot in the lineup affects every at-bat afterwards. Like you said, you’re only going to get those extra RBI chances if the guy in front of you gets on base. The fact that your worst hitters are generally sitting in the 7-8-9 spots is the bigger issue, and as I mentioned, it has to be even worse when you factor in the pitcher in the NL. Generally speaking, you just aren’t going to have as many opportunities to drive in runs out of the leadoff spot, and like I said, I want my best hitters up when runners are on base. Clearly not everybody agrees with that theory though.
Speaking of Trout specifically, I think it’s also worth pointing out that the Angles haven’t used Trout as leadoff man since that 2012 season.
I really do agree with you but Mike Trout was not the best example, especially because he has spent most of his career (after that rookie year) as a #2 hitter. His RBI chances really only become more in the first inning when that guy ahead of him gets on base.
If Trout was a 3-4 hitter like the guys you mentioned I would agree even more. He’s not.
And, mark my words—-Bryant is going to be a successful lead off hitter, Rizzo is going to be good out of the two hole and the trolls will be out in force every time Javy or Schwarber strikes out in the 3-4 spot with Bryant on second or third base. And that’s even if they each drive in 100.
I didn’t use Mike Trout as an example, the person I responded to did (for a whole different reason). I didn’t even mention Trout until my last post…
Also, you’re still putting way too much focus on the first inning. Assuming the leadoff hitter is competent (something the Cubs haven’t been able to figure out since Fowler), his RBI chances become greater in every inning, not just the first. That guy batting ahead of him will be batting ahead of him throughout the entire game, not just the first inning. In fact, the only time he won’t be a factor is when he makes the last out of an inning. In general, I like the odds of him getting on base a lot more than whoever is batting in the 7-8-9 spots.
And I don’t disagree that Bryant will be successful; he’s a great player when healthy. I just don’t think it’s optimal.
Agree—-not optimal—-unfortunately, it appears that he’s the “least non-optimal” of the group as it’s made up right now—-if that make sense.
Sort of like voting for the candidate you dislike the least.
I think we are on the same wavelength just getting at it in different directions.
And I got a feeling we are from the same age bracket or baseball background where the leadoff hitter was an on base guy that stole bases, followed by a contact guy that would move him over, followed by the best two guys on the team……I have a hard time letting go.
Yes, and Charlie Blackmon hit .321/.363/.576 with 8 home runs with runners on base. But since most of his plate appearances came out of the leadoff spot, he only had 86 RBI’s.
Imagine how many RBIs he would have had hitting lower in the lineup? Maybe Colorado would’ve won an extra game or two. Or not since Blackmon is a fringe MLB starter with his road stats.
Bryant wouldn’t have many RBI opportunities if the people hitting 1-2 can’t get on base. The RBI opportunities just shift to Baez and Kyle with Bryzzo being a high obp combo
Yea never works…. Acuna didn’t put up 40/100/100 from lead off or anything
…..and he also struck out 188 times——the “other” argument that you can’t lead Bryant off—he strikes out too much. Give me a break…..I’m a little bit old school—a strikeout, a groundout, a fly out all equal one out when leading off the inning.
I love the idea of Bryzzo getting on base to start the game and letting Javy hack away to drive them home.
Batting third would be perfect for Javy, a lower OBP player. Batting third means you also lead off less innings than batting fourth or fifth, too.
I was, too, very skeptical when Maddon moved Bryant to the two spot a couple of years, but he explained that it would give him additional plate appearances over the full season, which you are ultimately trying to win.
Guess what happened? Within a year these players magically popped up in the two spot on a frequent, consistent, or permanent basis: Votto, Yelich, J. Turner, Goldschmidt, Judge, and…Mike Trout…just to start a list.
In this day of analytics I guess those who know the game have it down pretty good and here we are saying that Bryant should bat third.
Guys hitting 30 HR’s from the leadoff spot
Why does it matter to you they could have Ricky Henderson lead off and you’d still S*** all over them.
Ross will basically do what he’s told. How he relates to all the players will be key. Hard to believe the Cubs haven’t found a reliable leadoff hitter since Fowler. I don’t think Bryant will last long there.
Braves use Acuna in the leadoff spot and he has been super successful there. I don’t think the cubs rolling with KB in the leadoff spot is a bad idea at all. Especially considering the remaining talent in the roster that can fill the back end void. Give the guy more AB’s, maybe throw in an obp machine in the 8 or 9 hole instead of a pitcher
Russianblue and dynamite….awesome reference to an awesome movie. Still smilin’!!
Addition by subtraction. Maddon is most overrated manager in baseball. Players will be put in positions to succeed. Nico headed for minors Kris Bryant style. Patchwork 2b Kipnis and Bote. Platoon cf and rf. Bullpen will be better as now the guy with his finger on the trigger will actually have some kind of idea when to make a switch. Maddon would take out a pitcher that was cruising and gave up a bloop hit yet leave a struggling guy in to surrender 8 runs early. Then lose 8-7 He must have dementia and get a kick out of playing musical chairs.
How can a manager be overrated when he gets results? He’s got a 1225-1045 record and that includes two dismal seasons with the Rays.
I didn’t agree with some of his choices but I wasn’t being paid to make those choices.
Can we please quit with the narrative that Hendricks was “cruising”? Fact is that the Indians hit SEVEN line drives the first two times around the order against Hendricks. He gave up more than that only twice during the regular season.
Poor Bartman was vilified for years because Alex Gonzalez made an error after that incident. Why are people so forgetful that David Ross made an error on Lester’s first hitter. A better throw by Ross and Lester is out of the inning on five pitches and the story is different and the Indians never get close.
Hoerner starts in the Minors this year….Kipinis will be at second…….
this could be the last year for many favorite Cubs players if they do not perform.
By July…..Cubs are in a strong first place….or selling players.
They’re not selling anyone. Every single player wants to be a Cubs player. Some will be extended within the season. Rizzo and Baez will be extended probably next winter. Baez will get 10 and 320 mil and rizzo will get 6/120.
They’ve got 3 years to sign their core players. They have plenty of money to re-sign st least 4 of them.
Bryant, Rizzo,Baez and Schwarber or Contreas. Wish they could sign them all but they have 3 years to re-sign them all it’s not really a rush.
The threshold will reset twice by the time Contreas is close to free agency
OMG….we had a “Bartman” mention…….I thought we were over that period !
what is next…..black cats…….Durham cannot get a ground ball…….Lee Smith serving up a HR……..Will Clark 1989 post season hitting. ……..
most of these people who talk about this stuff was not even born when those events happen………
there are two types of Cubs Fans………Loyal Die Hard Cubs Fans group………….and the Band Wagon types who only complain about every little thing……..then leave the Cubs when they fall out of the playoff picture..
My Bartman mention was quite positive in his favor. And every time I look at my World Series ring in the case by my dresser, I am over a lot of things. You can dump me into your Loyal Die Hard group.
If you do not like the Cubs…fine……but why stick around and troll the team……..
go back your team……..sorry if they did not win in the last ten years…….
stay happy………enjoy the game.
So apparently, the word s-n-o-w-f-l-a-k-e is banned now. It’s like I woke up in bizarro world.
Why? Because you stupid cub fans do the exact same thing in White Sox posts. If you guys wanna stop seeing cub trolls, then White Sox also want to stop seeing white sox trolls. Get it now?
I had no idea Castro had 1600 hits. If he sticks around long enough, he might get 3000. He had 86 RBIs for the Marlins last year. That’s impressive, in a sense. I didn’t follow the Marlins at all last year.
If Bryant succeeds batting in the lead off spot with getting on base to scoring runs it will just boost his stock when the Cubs are out of it by the trade deadline. Teams like the Braves to Mets or Yankees may asking for Bryant’s services since they are in positions to win a championship with a few players the Cubs may want for their future.