2014 Chicago Cubs: Tracking Theo's Kids

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
[SIZE=11pt]In year 1 of the Theo Era, the Northsiders lost 101 games,  finishing 5th.  Last season, they were divisional cellar dwellers  at 66-96, second worst in the National League and good for [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]the most losses in a two-year span in club history.[/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]Year 3 starts today in Pittsburgh.[/SIZE]
 
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Tough opener for the Cubbies in Pittsburgh, as they fall 1-0 in 10 on a Neil Walker walk-off.
 
The Good:
  • Samardzija's solid outing: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
  • First Cubs pitcher to shut out the opposition for 7+ innings in back-to-back opening day starts since 1933-34.
  • Emilio Bonifacio: 4-5 with a double, SB and outfield assist.
  • Stroup, Grimm and Russell holding the Pirates hitless over 2.0 innings.
 
The Bad:
  • Carlos Villanueva's 3-2 changeup to Walker in the 10th.
 
The Ugly:
  • Cubs hitters went 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
  • Anthony Rizzo: 0-4, 3 K, 4 LOB
  • Mike Olt 0-3, 2 K, 2 LOB
 
Back at it on Wednesday night.
 
 
Season: 0-1
Standings: 1.0 GB in NL Central.
 

Andrew

broke his neck in costa rica
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2006
12,011
Western Massachusetts
I was hoping Rizzo would turn it around this season, but he looked awful all night. What do people think about his future? He still walks a lot, and the power is legit, but he's been striking out like he wants to be Adam Dunn. 
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
Also from the tough opener - an especially tough first day for Wellington Castillo behind the dish on this foulest of balls:
 

 
This picture may also be a fairly decent summation of what it will be like to be a Cubs fan again this year....
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Another tough one last night in Pittsburgh, as they fall 4-3 in 16 on a Tony Sanchez walk-off single.  Second time in two games that Carlos Villanueva (0-2) has lost it in extra frames.  Old friend Stolmy Pimentel picked up the win for the Pirates.
 
The Good:
  • Emilio Bonifacio (again): 5-7 with a walk, two SBs and a run scored.
  • Luis Valbuena: 3-6 with 2 walks, an RBI and a run scored.  On the downside, he also struck out three times and stranded four.
  • Anthony Rizzo: 1-5, but bonus points for his HR that gave the Cubs the lead in the 12th.
  • Lake and Schierholtz with 2 hits apiece.
  • Old friend Ryan Kalish started in LF.  He gets in the good category just for that.  0-2 with a K before being lifted for a PH.
  • Edwin Jackson: 5.1 IP, 2 R, 1 earned, 4 BB, 5K.
  • Russell, Grimm, Strop, Rondon, Schlitter and Wright with 7.2 shutout innings in relief.
 
The Bad:
  • Veras with the BS in the 12th.
 
The Ugly:
  • Starlin Castro: 0-6, 2 K.
  • Welington Castillo: 0-8
  • Villanueva: 3 hits and giving up the game winning hit in his inning and a third.
 
Back at it on Thursday afternoon.
 
 
Season: 0-2
Standings: 2.0 GB in NL Central.
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Catching up on Thursday's action.  The Cubs scored a run in each of the first three innings and won their first game of the season, 3-2 at PNC Park.  Jason Hammel picked up the win in his first start in a Chicago uniform, going a strong 6.2 before turning it over to the bullpen
 
The Good:
  • Hammel: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.  He left after walking Neil Walker with two outs in the 7th and Walker eventually came around to score thanks to a Gaby Sanchez double off James Russell and a Tony Sanchez two-run single off Justin Grimm.
  • Emilio Bonifacio (again): 2-4 with a double, another SB, a walk, and two runs scored.
  • Mike Olt: 1-3 with his first major league HR, a solo shot off Wandy Rodriguez.
  • Anthony Rizzo: 1-4 with a 2-out RBI single in the first.
  • Strop picking up the save.
The Bad:
  • Russell and Grimm.
  • Ruggiano: 0-4
 
The Ugly:
  • John Baker: 0-3, 2K.  But in a win!
 
Next up: the home opener at Wrigley on Friday afternoon against the Phillies.
 
 
Season: 1-2
Standings: 1.0 GB in NL Central.
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Hope sprung eternal at Wrigley on Friday afternoon as opening day dawned on the North Side.  Rick Renteria rolled out:
 
Bonifacio, CF
Castro, SS
Rizzo, 1B
Schierholtz, RF
Valbuena, 3B
Castillo, C
Sweeney, LF
Barney, 2B
Wood, P
 
No Olt and no Lake in the starting lineup and some (at least the good folks at ESPNChicago) were grumpy about it.
 
The day started well as the Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the end of 3, thanks to a solo shot by Castillo off Roberto Hernandez with two outs in the second and a two-out RBI infield single by Castro in the third.  It was all downhill from there as the Cubs did not have a hit the rest of the way and the Phillies rallied to take the lead in the 5th on their way to a 7-2 win.
 
The Good:
  • Welington Castillo: 1-3 with the solo shot.
     
The Decent:
  • Eh, why not...  Starlin Castro: 1-4 with the RBI.  But he struck out twice too.  So I'm reaching.
  • Wood: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.  The unearned run came in the 4th after Marlon Byrd led off by reaching on a Luis Valbuena error and came around to score two batters later.  Did he deserve better?  
 
The Bad:
  • Valbuena: 0-2, BB and the error.
  • Schlitter: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0K
 
The Ugly:
  • No hits after the third.
  • Wright: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1K while allowing 1 of 2 inherited runners to score.
  • Ryan Sweeney: 0-3, 2 K.
Back at it on Saturday afternoon.
 
Season: 1-3
Standings: 2.0 GB in NL Central.
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
Saturday's game?  One word: frustrating.  Cliff Lee scattered 10 Cub hits, as the Cubs left 2 in the first, 1 in the third, 2 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and 1 in the 8th.  Phillies 2, Cubs 0.
 
The Good:
  • Samardzija: Another good outing.  7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.  And the loss, now 0-2.
  • Grimm: 1.1 IP, working out of Russell's bases loaded jam in the 8th unscathed.
  • Castro: 3-4
  • Bonifacio: 2-5, hitting .542 for week 1.
  • Rizzo: 2-4
     
The Ugly:
  • Ruggiano: 0-4, K, 6 LOB.
  • Castillo: 0-4, 2K, 3 LOB.
  • Team: 10 LOB, 0-7 RISP
Season: 1-4
Standings: 2.0 GB in NL Central.
 

Section15Box113

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2005
6,474
Inside Lou Gorman's Head
The Cubs lost their fifth in a row today, falling 4-1 to the Reds.
 
Good news? 
  • The lone Cubs run broke their streak of 24 scoreless innings.
  • Samardzija: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, but fell to 0-2.  His ERA is now 1.29.
  • Rizzo, with 2 more hits, is up to .345.  OBP > .400.
Going into tonight's games...
 
Season: 4-11
Standings: 6.5 GB in the NL Central.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
22,199
Hingham, MA
Van Everyman said:
I want Theo to fail. Is that wrong of me?
I feel the same way.

Semi-serious question: this is year 3 of the Theo era. The Cubs are going to lose 90+ games again. At what point does he become on the hot seat? At some point the results have to improve on the field at the major league level, right?
 

Snodgrass'Muff

oppresses WARmongers
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2008
27,644
Roanoke, VA
tims4wins said:
I feel the same way.

Semi-serious question: this is year 3 of the Theo era. The Cubs are going to lose 90+ games again. At what point does he become on the hot seat? At some point the results have to improve on the field at the major league level, right?
 
They have, arguably, the best farm system in the game.  His long term plan is only partially implemented and I imagine that when he took the job, he made it pretty clear that it wouldn't be until 2014 that they'd start to see that plan pay off.  They'll promote Baez and Bryant this year, probably after the All Star break, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler will probably be ready next year.  All four are top 40 prospects right now.  And CJ Edwards is ranked 28 (BA), though is rated their 5th best prospect by BP.  Pierce Jackson and Arismendy Alcantara are top 100 prospects as well.
 
They have an interesting major league roster already, and their farm is about to start paying dividends.  Castro, Rizzo, Lake and Barney are a solid group to build around.  If Baez and Bryant are as good as advertised, their 3,4 and 5 hitters will be as good as anyone's.  The rotation could start shaping up in another year or two as well, and at that point I would expect Theo to stat spending in free agency again.
 
I'd be surprised if Theo is in any real danger of losing his job before the 2016 season rolls around.
 

mt8thsw9th

anti-SoSHal
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
17,111
Brooklyn
Did Shane Victorino break the brain of Jose Veras?
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8S4cgV0Rzg
 
It wasn't like Veras dropped off in the second half so a collapse was expected. Veras was never an elite reliever, but someone coming into his own....sample sizes being what they are, he's still gotten off to an awful start this year. He had a pretty good postseason...until that fateful pitch. 
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
Holy crap, not only do the Cubs blow a 3 run 9th inning lead on the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, they also apparently threw the enormous and expensive custom made cake for the celebration in a dumpster out back, uneaten.  Thing was so huge it could have given 300 homeless people tooth decay, but no (brings back memories of the same fate happening to the cards that fans signed to commemorate Ron Santo)....
 
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/04/24/that-amazing-wrigley-field-cake-nobody-ate-it/?utm_medium=VPH&utm_source=topvph_news&utm_campaign=547478
 

Soxfan in Fla

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2001
7,128
tims4wins said:
I feel the same way.

Semi-serious question: this is year 3 of the Theo era. The Cubs are going to lose 90+ games again. At what point does he become on the hot seat? At some point the results have to improve on the field at the major league level, right?
He's got plenty of rope. The only thing worse than the Cubs major league roster when Theo took over was their minor league system. Seems to be doing a solid job of restocking. That needs to pay off for them for him to keep his job long term but his seat is not remotely warm yet.
 
Dec 10, 2012
6,943
nattysez said:
Javier Baez getting called up today, per a variety of sources.  
3 HR's in 3 MLB games.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=baezja01&t=b&year=
 
Manny's marvel?
 
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24648084/report-cubs-calling-up-top-prospect-javier-baez-on-tuesday
 
"He hit .229/.285/.424 with 11 homers and a 33.7 percent strikeout rate in his first 66 games of the year, but has put up a .315/.384/.657 batting line with 12 homers and a 23.8 percent strikeout in 38 games since. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the hot streak started when player-coach Manny Ramirez arrived."
 

nattysez

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
3,922
Cubs are calling up Soler tomorrow.  Theo's plan is coming together quickly.  
 

nattysez

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
3,922
Soler hit HRs 2&3 tonight. Baez had a big double. Alcantara homered. Hendricks pitched well. It is hard not to see the Cubs as contenders in 2015.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

oppresses WARmongers
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2008
27,644
Roanoke, VA
nattysez said:
Soler hit HRs 2&3 tonight. Baez had a big double. Alcantara homered. Hendricks pitched well. It is hard not to see the Cubs as contenders in 2015.
The obvious counter point is "small sample size." Also, while Baez is showing monster power, he's not doing all that much more, yet.

I think the Cubs might be an absolute beast of an offense in 2016, I wouldn't be surprised if they are streaky next year. Plus, they still need to address their rotation and bullpen.
 

nattysez

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
3,922
Snodgrass'Muff said:
The obvious counter point is "small sample size." Also, while Baez is showing monster power, he's not doing all that much more, yet.

I think the Cubs might be an absolute beast of an offense in 2016, I wouldn't be surprised if they are streaky next year. Plus, they still need to address their rotation and bullpen.
 
There is certainly a risk that the rookies will suffer some adjustment woes once the league scouts them.
 
As for the rotation, they've already got Wada, Hendricks and Arrieta as an OK 2-4 or a very strong 3-5.  They're going to have to eat Edwin Jackson's salary and add two more starters (unless they roll the dice on Travis Wood as their fifth starter), but given how low their payroll otherwise is, adding two starters is entirely doable.
 
Addressing the bullpen requires the same approach as the 2003/2004 Sox: sign a bunch of guys and see who emerges.  And Strop is a pretty good piece to start building a bullpen around.  
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
Yeah, they are nearing the end of their effort to shed payroll from many of the huge contracts they were carrying 4-5 years ago - Soriano's last payment ($14M) is this year and they are so young they could absolutely land one of the big three FA pitchers if the chose to overbid.  At the same time, that youth means they have alot of unproven guys and guys that may struggle as the league adjusts to them and take away what they do best at the plate. 
 
They will also need more starting depth in that Arrieta and others have a fairly short track record of success and the in general high injury rate we have seen for pitchers this year - they may realistically need to find three good starters at least, and that is tough in one year especially with FA pitchers also having the option to sign with teams that have had, how shall we say, demonstrated a higher level of competence/success in recent years, so Cubs may not get even get the FA pitchers they target this offseason.  So count me with those who see 2016 as the more likely "arrival" of the Cubbies as a potential legit playoff team....
 

SamK

lurker
May 31, 2012
74
Here is some stuff on Manny from Ken Rosenthal at the end of last season, Youk in Cubs office blue this year, Felix Doubront and the continuing saga of starter or reliever, David Ross prolly finishing off Welington Castillo's Cubs career while starting Lester's and others.
 
 Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester seem ready for 2015.
 
On a non-former Red Sox front, Kris Bryant reminds me of young Arod when I first saw him-- perfectly proportioned, but a scaled up super human. See you at Wrigley after 200 more AAA AB's, Kris.
 
Annnd, our infield, after we solve our second base problem (maybe Youk's first assignment) is going to be beastly for years with guys like Addison Russell coming along.
 
Hello, 2015 and beyond.
 
edit: fixed broken link