Sunday, May 23, 2004

Scouting the opponent:

How to hit Matt Morris?

The main thing that hurt Morris so far this is the HR, he has allowed an amazing 14HRs in 63.1IP, that projects to 44HRs allowed over 200IP. His FB is not where it used to be sitting in 88-91 range with sink and his very good curve. That drop in velocity has basically shifted Morris from a power pitcher to a finesse pitcher almost overnight. His K totals have dropped severly as his velocity dropped.

Split-totals analysis


RH batters/LH batters-Significant advantage to LHs, especially OPS (.851 to .594), Morris has allowed 9HRs in 104ABs to LHs, compared to 5 in 125ABs to RHs.

April/May-Has been a better pitcher in May, allowing fewer BBs (10 fewer BBs in 5 fewer IPs) and 4 fewer HRs.

Hitters' count-He has been hit early in the count allowing hitters an .879 OPS with a 0-0 count, if a hitter can ahead in the count (2-1) or (2-0) the hitters has the advantage as well.

Situational Pitching-
Matt Morris has been a much better pitcher w/no runners on compared to runners on. Opponents are getting on-base at 27% clip, which has helped keep his #s down. In 69 ABs, he has allowed 9HRs and the opponents have a .681 SLG% with runners on (.960 OPS)& w/no runners on, he has help his opponents to a .603 OPS.

By Inning-
He is much easier early in the game and gets more difficult to hit as the game progresses. In the 1st inning, opponents have hit (.382/.395/.794).

Innings 1-3-.790
Innings 4-6-.712
Innings 7-9-.463


Minor League Notes:
" ... Jason Stokes [FLO] and Dwaine Bacon [CHN] ... named co-hitters of the week while Arnie Munoz [CHA] and Bobby Brownlie [CHN] ... tabbed as co-pitchers of the week in the Southern League. During Carolina's seven-game winning streak, Stokes homered in four consecutive games, pushing his league-leading total to 11 for the season. For the week, Stokes had an amazing slugging percentage of 1.043 while driving in 10 runs. Bacon, who leads the league in stolen bases, collected eight more for West Tenn, as the Diamond Jaxx captured eight straight games. Bacon, who had an on- base percentage of .484 for the week, scored nine runs and walked six times. Diamond Jaxx pitcher Bobby Brownlie posted an impressive 0.64 ERA in his two starts last week, both wins. In 14 innings of work, Brownlie allowed just six hits while striking out nine without walking a batter. Munoz allowed just one earned run in 12 innings, as he tied the Southern League record with his 12th consecutive victory. In his two appearances for the Barons, Munoz gave up just seven hits and one walk while fanning eight." (The Sports Network)

" ... Sean Marshall ... 2003 sixth-round pick, is using a high-80s fastball and a quality curve to put up some of the best numbers in the minors. He had a 2.34 ERA and a 99/23 K/BB ratio in 80 2/3 IP after being drafted last year, so he seems to be a legitimate prospect. Still, he ranks behind at least six or seven other pitchers in the Cubs system right now."

" ... The Ben Christensen saga is over. It began when the big right-hander out of Wichita State made national news in April 1999 by beaning Evansville's Anthony Molina in the head as Molina warmed up near the on-deck circle. Molina suffered injuries to his skull and right eye and just recently settled a civil suit with Christensen. It continued when the Cubs selected him in the first round (26th overall) of the 1999 draft - a surprisingly controversial pick for the usually conservative Cubs. It ended Thursday when Christensen, who underwent arm surgery last year and never could find his old form, was released by the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, the Double-A Southern League affiliate of the Cubs. "That's it (drop in velocity)," said Oneri Fleita, Cubs director of player developement. "It's a tough and difficult thing to release someone. He was disappointed and he should have been. This is a tough part of the game and I wish there was a nicer end to this, but that's a part of the game." Christensen made 9 appearances with the Diamond Jaxx this season, 8 out of the bullpen. He finished with an 0-1 record with a 4.91 ERA." (Arlington Heights Daily Herald)


Stats of the Day


(XR) per 600ABs



Patterson hitting 7th:

1)Despite the success of Walker and the less than expected production of Lee, it puts him in a better position to drive in runs.

2)Allows him to be more aggressive by not having to take pitches he would not usually take, even with Patterson's aggressiveness, hitters need to maintain an aggressive approach. I'm well aware of Patterson's ability to fly out to LF on 1st pitches and most are designed to retire hitters while using the least amount of pitches as possible, but his problems were trying to drive everything to LF and in doing so dropping his backside and lifting fly-balls to LF. Patterson is a drive hitter to all fields, why restrict him to just LF and left-center and take away half of the field? Patterson should be taught to hit between SS and 2B and the between the power alleys where most of the hits occur. That should be compounded with having him aim at the pitcher's head to encourage him to hit line drives as 2 out of 10 fly-balls are hits (that includes HRs), 3 out of every 10 ground balls are hits (that includes bunts), and 8 out of 10 line drives are hits.

1)It eliminates his base stealing ability, stealing 2B with the #8 up, takes the bat out of the hitter's hands, leading to an intentional BB or pitchign around him to get to the P, with the way Martinez has been hitting, it might not be a bad thing though.


MLB Rumor Board:
Let the speculation begin in ATL, despite numerous amounts of injuries (like the Cubs), there is already hints circulating throughout the media of a potential selling frenzy by ATL. The recent struggles by the offense (missing Drew, Giles, Furcal, C. Jones) and the probably of a reduced payroll next year has led to speculation that Drew and Ortiz might be avail. (both are 2005' FAs) if the Braves do not improve or they might consider trading high priced players like Andruw Jones and/or John Smoltz. The only possible fit for the Cubs would be Smoltz, I would say that is doubtful at best, despite the relationship between Smoltz, Remlinger, and Maddux.

A GM mentioned that the Royals would not only trade Beltran, but Mike Sweeney as well. Ken Harvey is a poor 1B, Pickering can hit as well as he can hit. Each of them are not likely to match the production of Sweeney. Trading Sweeney is a step backwards for an organization building on a fluke 2003 season, while Beltran seems logical as what they would likely receive in return would be greater than compensation for being the premiere FA. Beltran would seem like a possible choice for the Cubs, if the Cubs became the Yankees and Patterson became Mark Quinn.

No trade rumor: The Rockies are not interested in trading Todd Helton despite the mammoth contract, they are more interested in trying to create a time machine to quickly end the contracts of Walker, Neagle, Johnson, and Wilson.

Byung Hyun Kim, the talented but expensive and injured starter/former closer is being linked to both the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. Several obstacles need to be cleared for either team to show serious interest in him. It would interesting if Colorado did get him, the concept of having Chacon and Kim as set-up and closer while being the team's two likely best starters is a good example of mismanagement.

Raul Mondesi is still linked to several ML teams, I wish the Cubs would join the fray as he would be an ideal 4th OF and a legit RH bat off the bench. His desires are to be starting, which eliminates the Cubs.

Help Wanted: The Angels are looking for a 3B, possibilities include Joe Randa, Scott Spiezio, Shea Hillenbrand, or Edgardo Alfonzo.

There is a possibility of Urbina being available if the Tigers fold by the deadline, as a nice signing by Dombrowski, Urbina potentially could net a couple of decent prospects. I think the Cubs are a potential suitor for Urbina.

No Progress: The St. Louis Cardinals have made no progress in trying re-sign FAs Matt Morris and Edgar Renteria. Morris' status is probably in limbo because he can;t keep the ball in the yard and is likely not worth the salary of a #1 starter. Renteria is the Cards' top priority, as Renteria looks to cash in on one great year, one good year, and several mediocre to poor seasons. So far, Renteria is off to a poor start, showing no ability to hit RHs and spotty defensively, despite his overrated/Gold Glove defensive reputation. I think the Cubs will pursue Renteria if he becomes an UFA, Hendry was in Florida at the same time Renteria was a Marlin and he seems the type of player Hendry covets. When Renteria signs his contract, it will be a matter of how much a team overpays based on his 2003' season compared to his overall production.

Seattle fire sale: Everyone has been mentioned to be either traded or released, Bavasi has done a poor job this off-season and it has shown. Garcia, Meche, Aurilia, McCracken, and Olerud are all expected to be traded or released as Seattle looks to re-tool. Maybe instead of signing Aurilia for SF, they should have looked at prospect Cody Ransom who is out of options with SF? Aurilia is a possibility with the Cubs, Aurilia has been terrible, I'm not much of a believer that Dusty will cure Aurilia of lacking bat speed, so, while there is no risk of picking him up if he released (beyond the 40 man roster adjustment), there is likely little reward.

TB likely to trade Lugo as uber-prospect BJ Upton gets closer to taking over and becoming one of the best SS. Lugo is interesting, he's young, talented, underrated (hard to imagine SS having 3 underrated players w/Guillen, Valentin, and Lugo), but for the Cubs he becomes interesting next year. He is probably in the second tier of FAs shortstops next year as Renteria and Nomar are the head of the class, Cabrera is in the second tier, Lugo is probably a notch below. The difference in salary between Cabrera and Lugo, might make him an interesting option as the difference in production shouldn't be nearly as much as the difference in salary.

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