OV Roundtable, Part 2

In News And Rumors by Obstructed View Staff13 Comments

You were probably dying in anticipation of the second part of our roundtable so we apologize for not posting it yesterday.


[mb21] : What have you seen this year that has most surprised you so far?
[Aisle424] : I think Dempster’s struggles have surprised me the most. I’m hoping that is just an ill-timed slump and not a sign of things to come.
[berselius] : I could just be misremembering how service time clocks go for pitchers
[AndCounting] : That does bring up another question: when do you think we’ll see Brett Jackson with the big league team?
[mb21] : I think Jackson will be up on or around July 1st unless there’s an injury.
[AndCounting] : As much as it’s been overblown, I’m most surprised by Darwin Barney’s play early on.
[berselius] : Only if there’s an injury. I don’t think the Cubs can get him any PT with Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, and Soriano in front of him.
[mb21] : If Colvin continues to struggle I could see Jackson replacing him and then we’d see the lefty/lefty platoon again. (dying laughing)
[mb21] : I think Byrd and Fukudome are gone sometime in July.
[Aisle424] : I think you’re right, mb. I can’t envision May and June going well and there may be a market for a decent outfielder like Byrd or
Fukudome. They’d have to eat money to dump Fukudome and neither would net a great prospect, but you never know. The big thing would be clearing
for Jackson on the NL roster.
[AndCounting] : I hope you’re right about those two, mb.
[AndCounting] : I’d like to see them gone even earlier.
[berselius] : Me too, but it’s not gonna happen (dying laughing)
[berselius] : If the Cubs keep hovering around .500 the only way those guys are traded is if it’s part of some stupid trade
for a guy like Joe Saunders
[Aisle424] : I don’t think they hover around .500 much longer.  They are playing poorly against poor teams.  Maybe they pick it up when the competition
improves, but I don’t think so.  I think this is the Cubs team and they are performing as expected.
[mb21] : I don’t think people thought the Cubs were going to call Castro up that early last season either,
but they created a position for him. If Jackson keeps hitting, they’ll do the same for him.
[Aisle424] : We’ll see Jackson before McNutt, that’s for sure. Dempster and Z aren’t going anywhere anytime soon so there isn’t much room for him
(assuming Cashner and Wells return healthy).
[AndCounting] : Even though I like both of them as players, they should be traded as soon as possible.
Kosuke should be traded in April while his OBP is still hovering near .500. (dying laughing)
[mb21] : I don’t know, berselius. I could easily see the Cubs looking at Brett Jackson in a month and thinking
he gives them the best chance to win at the big league level. That is probably accurate right now for what it’s worth.
[AndCounting] : Calling up Jackson works on a baseball level and a marketing angle as well. Fans would eat it up.
[Aisle424] : The marketing would be insane.  A white guy with actual baseball talent? Wally is creaming himself just thinking about it.
[berselius] : At least he’s gotten off to a hot start. I just don’t see it happening though.
[mb21] : I don’t think it happens soon, but I bet he gets significant playing time at the big league level this season.
[berselius] : I’ll be shocked if he gets called up before Sep 1, even if one of the OFs is injured.
[AndCounting] : I’ll say he gets called up in May.
[Aisle424] : I’ll say mid-June.
[mb21] : last year I’d have agreed with you, b, but they called Castro up because he was their best SS.
Brett Jackson is probably the team’s best CF. In another month or two it’s going to be impossible to say he’s not if he continues to hit.
Plus, Byrd is absolutely sucking this season.
[mb21] : I could see May, but I’d probably lean more toward after June.
[AndCounting] : I’m thinking the Cubs go in the tank over the next month and Hendry loses hope fairly quickly.
[AndCounting] : Although it’s going to take some serious losing to fall completely out of contention the way the Central is going.
[berselius] : Exactly, AC
[Aisle424] : The Central is not doing the Cubs any favors by remaining mediocre.
[berselius] : Maybe we should talk about the other NLC teams
[Aisle424] : They’re all mediocre.
[mb21] : I could easily see that too, AC. You mentioned projections vs reality earlier. I don’t know if my opinions are changed or not,
but I don’t think this team is better than I thought. If anything, they’re worse. The defense has been unbeleivably bad.
They have no speed whatsoever.
[mb21] : The Brewers have started to kick ass as I expected they would. After 0-4 start they’re 9-4 since.
Had trouble with Washington, but have taken care of Philly the last two days.
[berselius] : Fielder’s bat woke up
[Aisle424] : You’re welcome, Milwaukee.
[berselius] : My prejudices against the Reds are certainly feeling vindicated. Especially their pitching staff. Volquez has looked like shit.
[AndCounting] : Still, it’s hilarious that everyone but the Astros is within a game of .500.
[mb21] : In that lineup they need the big bats to hit. Greinke is on rehab now so he’s close.
[AndCounting] : I can’t wait for Greinke.
[Aisle424] : I’m not looking forward to all the games against the Brewers once Greinke is back.  I think the Cubs are just going to get creamed.
[mb21] : The Reds ruined that great start they got off to. The Brewers are now tied for 1st, aren’t they? Division over.
[berselius] : I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gallardo outpitch him. I can’t believe the Cubs beat him last time out
[Aisle424] : Speaking as someone who owns Gallardo in 4 fantasy leagues, something has been off with him the last few starts. So you’re welcome for that, Cubs fans.
[AndCounting] : Yeah, Brewers and Reds atop the division. At 9-8.
[mb21] : It is funny looking at the NL Central standings right now, but the Brewers got off to that awful start.
[AndCounting] : Any idea what their schedules look like over the next month?
[AndCounting] : The Cubs’ is pretty brutal.
[Aisle424] : Starting May 2, Cubs have 39 of 45 against teams projected to be over .500
[mb21] : After one more with Philly tomorrow, 6 of the 9 after that for the Brewers are vs the Astros and 3 vs the Reds.
[mb21] : It’s hard to tell just glancing at the schedules, but the Cardinals schedule doesn’t seem too tough over the next few weeks either.
[Aisle424] : Plus, Pujols seems to have found his hitting shoes and Berkman’s demise seems to be largely over-stated.
[AndCounting] : The Astros are so bad. And the Cubs didn’t look particularly good against them.
[mb21] : The Cubs are 8-8 right now, but they haven’t played too many good teams yet. They’re just a bit below
what we thought they’d be at this point vs this competition. The Cubs had to get off to a better start.
[mb21] : Is Sean Marshall really this fucking good?
[AndCounting] : I think he might be.
[Aisle424] : God, I hope so. It’s nice to have confidence in the bullpen somewhere.  As good as Marmol is, I just don’t trust him.
[mb21] : I think so too. I thought he’d regress, but the hitters look clueless against him. I’m starting to think he is really this good.
Impressive strikeout rate and walk rate, keeps the ball on the ground and in the park.
[AndCounting] : I know he struggled off and on early in his career, but he had stretches of brilliance as well.
I don’t think his stuff has gotten better, but his consistency hasn’t wavered much at all.
[berselius] : I guess we’re out of stuff to say (dying laughing)
[AndCounting] : I can’t believe Natalie Portman is in Thor.
[berselius] : oh whoops
[mb21] : (dying laughing)
[berselius] : my chat wasn’t refreshing
[mb21] : Damn chat room!
[AndCounting] : Hate it when things get stuck in the Hot Gay Cybersex Lounge.
[Aisle424] : If I had a nickel for eve
ry time I’ve heard that…
[berselius] : (dying laughing)

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  1. Doogolas

    Marshall’s stuff did actually get better. In 2009 Marshall’s fastball was sitting at 87MPH, as it had his entire career. Last year and this year it has been sitting at 90MPH on average.

    Huge uptick in velocity for him. Curveball from 72 to 76 as well.

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  2. mb21

    That’s mostly the result of Marshall no longer getting any starts. Velocity increases when you can let it all go for an inning rather than trying to pace yourself for 6 to 8 innings. It’s usually an increase somewhere between 2 to 4 mph. Some people would say as much as 5 mph, but that’s not common.

    Once Marshall became a full-time reliever, we expected his velocity to increase. That’s part of the reason why it’s easier to be a reliever and how bad starting pitchers can have a good career as a reliever. They’re still bad pitchers. Most any pitcher who can’t make a rotation is a bad pitcher. If he had to go out there for 6 innings and face the same lineup 3 to 4 times, most relievers would be out of baseball in a hurry.

    Consider the advantage you get when going from the rotation to the bullpen. Increased velocity, you only have to face a lineup 1 time and we know that pitchers dominate a lineup the first time through. The average wOBA allowed from 99-02 by a pitcher the first time through the order was .340. Then it was .348 and then .356. That’s probably about .315/.325 and .335 in today’s run environment. As you can see, an average pitcher is a good one the first time through the order. That’s why bad pitchers can succeed as relievers. That and the velocity.

    To know whether Marshall’s velocity increased in his bullpen appearances we’d need to know what his velocity was in his relief appearances. Just knowing that his velocity increased after no longer starting doesn’t tell us anything. It would have been shocking if it didn’t.

    What I’m talking about anyway is that his FIP as a reliever went from 4.69 in 2008 to 3.74 in 2009 to 2.28 in 2010.

    Much of that is just sample size. No reliever can maintain a 2.28 FIP. The best reliever in history (Mariano Rivera) has a career FIP of 2.78. The question is whether or not he improved from basically the 4 run per 9 pitcher that he was in 2008 and 2009 to around 3 to 3.5 runs. I think he has, but it’s only an opinion since he hasn’t even thrown 100 innings since 2010. The standard deviation in FIP over 200 innings is 1 run per 9 innings. This means that a pitcher whose FIP is 4.0 in 200 innings that his true talent is somewhere between 3.0 and 5.0.

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  3. Dr. Aneus Taint

    Bert Jackson’s hitting well.

    Looks like this is the part where Vitters stops hitting for a few weeks.

    McNutt was mediocre.

    That’s about it.

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  4. Xoomwaffle

    Why are you so sure Dempster and Z are sticking around? You think they would both turn down trades, or is it money owed? The Yankees rotations is in shambles, and there aren’t that many starters available, so one of those two makes some sense over there.

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