Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (0-0) at Anaheim Angels of Disneyland (0-0)

In Series Previews by berselius30 Comments

There really isn't all that much to say, is there? The Cubs were one series away from the World Series. They got a lot better. The seemingly 5 months of spring training are finally over. It snowed in Chicago yesterday. It's Opening Day!!!

Team Leaders

From 2015 numbers

This is kind of a moot point for LAAoAoLAoD

Mike Trout + the Troutettes

  • OBP: Trout (.402)
  • ISO: Trout (.290)
  • HR: Trout (41) – I had no idea that Pujols hit 40 (!) last year
  • R+RBI: Trout (194)
  • wrC+: Trout (172)
  • BSR: Aybar (3.4)
  • UZR: Calhoun (13.8)
  • DRS: Calhoun (6)
  • SP K/9: Santiago (8.08)
  • SP BB/9: Weaver (1.87)
  • SP FIP-: Heaney (96)
  • RP K/9: Rasmus (12.23)
  • RP BB/9: Salas (1.70)
  • RP FIP-: Morin (73)
  • WAR: Trout (9.0)

Trout is just freaking amazing. We all know this to be true. What is interesting is how terrible the team around him has been. It reminds me off the LeBron teams in his first stint in Cleveland; you have this generational talent, and you surround him with non-entities like Matthew Joyce and Johnny Giavotella.

The Angels have a perennial MVP favorite, a crazy rich man for an owner, and clear holes at half of the roster. They decided to fix none of them. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: If I was an Angels fan, I wouldn't be.

Chicago Cubs of Chicago

  • OBP: Rizzo (.387)
  • ISO: Schwarber (.241)
  • HR: Rizzo (31)
  • R+RBI: Rizzo (195)
  • wrC+: Rizzo (145)
  • BSR: Bryant (7.1)
  • UZR: Coghlan (9.2)
  • DRS: Russell (10)
  • SP K/9: Arrieta (9.28)
  • SP BB/9: Arrieta (1.89)
  • SP FIP-: Arrieta (60)
  • RP K/9: Grimm (12.14)
  • RP BB/9: Richard (1.85)
  • RP FIP-: Wood (65)
  • WAR: Arrieta (7.3)

I'm not sure how the Cubs are going to survive without 2015's leader in UZR. Over than that, the core of the baseball team is still intact.

Pitching Matchups

I list last year's FIP and this year's ZiPS projected ERA for each pitcher.

Monday: Jay Carrieta, RHP (2.35, 2.56) vs Garrett Richards, RHP (3.86, 3.21), 9:05 PM CT

Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (2.92, 2.98) vs Andrew Heaney, LHP (3.73, 3.76), 9:05 PM CT

We know enough about Jay and Jon to hold us over today, so I'm going to talk about the Angels pitchers at some length. First off is Garrett Richards, who is a pure "stuff" guy. According to Pitch F/X, he had the fastest velocity over all qualified pitchers last season:

Richards 95.7
Ventura 95.6
Cole 95.5
Harvey 95.2
Martinez 95.2

Richards' problem is that he doesn't convert that velocity into results- at least not last season. While 2014 was a breakout season (with a 2.60 FIP), 2015 was a regression to mediocrity. Richards had 7.64 K/9 and 3.30 BB/9, and he's such a 2 trick pony (2-seam and slidepiece) that you wonder if he'd be better suited back in a bullpen somewhere. Still, he's a pretty average pitcher right now that could put it together and be elite, so the Angels (who have many backup options but few of them intriguing) will give him a long leash to figure it out.

Andrew Heaney was a Top 50 prospect last year. He more or less converted on the whole of his potential, notching average numbers in his first extended look in the minors last season (3.73 FIP, 6.64 K/9, 2.38 BB/9). Heaney gave up a lot of hard contact, and that was a primary driver of his failures last season, but as a changeup guy, you expect that. The change usually comes last among pitchers, and Heaney will need his develop to be more than a #4. I like his chances. He'll never be overly special, but Heaney is exactly the type of starter the Cubs should be trying to acquire this deadline; cheap, effective, and someone who doesn't walk a bunch of people. 

Starting lineups

Trout and the Guppies (subject to change):

Escobar 3B
Nava LF
Trout CF
Pujols DH
Calhoun RF
Cron 1B
Simmons SS
Perez C
Giavotella 2B

Chicago Cubs (subject to change in the extreme):

Fowler CF
Heyward RF
Bryant 3B
Rizzo 1B
Zobrist 2B
Schwarber DH
Soler RF
Montero C
Russell SS

*Thanks to Myles for writing most of the content here. I only did the stat-gathering, I'm sure Aramis Ramirez would approve. –berselius

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  1. Suburban kid

    I only did the stat-gathering, I’m sure Aramis Ramirez would approve. –berselius

    (dying laughing)

      Quote  Reply


  2. uncle dave

    Looks like they’re giving Schwarber the start in LF and using Soler at DH. Don’t know if that’s a reflection on the team’s thoughts about the two in the field or an attempt to keep Soler healthy, but it’s interesting.

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  3. GW

    umbra: Everyone has read Moneyball, and everyone has learned the wrong lesson. It’s not about OBP, it’s about arbitrage.

    Don’t tell me what Moneyball is about.

      Quote  Reply


  4. GW

    I love that Ruben Amaro is coaching first for the Red Sox. I hear Dan Jennings is available, too. You would have to give him strong consideration as Bullpen Coach.

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  5. uncle dave


    Their lineup tonight is basically the 2012 Cubs plus Mike Trout. And Trout is good enough to put them in the conversation for the playoffs.

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  6. uncle dave


    The dropoff between 2015 Pujols and 2012 Soriano is about a win. There’s a little bit of hyperbole to say that the 2016 Angels are basically the 2012 Cubs plus Trout, but it’s not all that far off.

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  7. GW

    It seems like the Polanco contract is basically the same one he turned down right before they called him up. Quite a bit more than the 7/$25 they offered him in spring training of 2014, though.

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  8. Jerome Walton

    Hi. Long time reader, not very often poster. Is there any chance you fellas could setup a crowdsource cubes top 40 prospects where readers all submit their own top 40 and then you do some kind of average? I think there was some talk of this in the past.

    The Jerome Walton Fan Club

      Quote  Reply


  9. dmick89

    I’m going all in. Cubs go 100-62, win division by 14 games over the Pirates, beat the Mets in the LDS, beat the Dodgers in the LCS and beat Toronto in the World Series. Prove me wrong.

      Quote  Reply



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