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  #1  
Old 08-12-2014, 05:44 PM
kittle42 kittle42 is offline
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Default Grantland praises Cubs' young hitting over pitching approach

I think they are way, way, way jumping to conclusions here, but let's discuss!
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2014, 05:51 PM
Domeshot17 Domeshot17 is online now
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Originally Posted by kittle42 View Post
I think they are way, way, way jumping to conclusions here, but let's discuss!
Its a new approach. I can't say it will work or not. Look at the OBP/Moneyball approach. The SYSTEM works, It won a title in Boston, but Beane has not won a title with it yet. You still have people that laugh at it and think Scouting and TWTW and all that jazz are what matters, not SABR.

I will say this, I do think its important to build a team capable of winning 90 games. To do that, you need to score runs. The Cubs are investing in guys who will play in 130-140 games a year, not 35. I don't know if itll work, because we have not seen a finished product, but they are in good shape for the future, it is hard to argue that.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:00 PM
WhiteSox5187 WhiteSox5187 is online now
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Originally Posted by Domeshot17 View Post
Its a new approach. I can't say it will work or not. Look at the OBP/Moneyball approach. The SYSTEM works, It won a title in Boston, but Beane has not won a title with it yet. You still have people that laugh at it and think Scouting and TWTW and all that jazz are what matters, not SABR.

I will say this, I do think its important to build a team capable of winning 90 games. To do that, you need to score runs. The Cubs are investing in guys who will play in 130-140 games a year, not 35. I don't know if itll work, because we have not seen a finished product, but they are in good shape for the future, it is hard to argue that.
The problem with the Moneyball/OBP approach as practiced by Oakland in the early 2000s is that the game has changed. Drug testing means that you can't just sit around and wait for homers or string together hits as easily as you could back in 2002 and 2003. You just won't see teams with the offensive capabilities of the A's and Red Sox, largely because those teams were juiced to the gills.

The idea of building around offense and trying to find "spare parts" for the pitching staff is interesting and it might even work in the regular season but when you run into really good pitching in the playoffs, it's going to be hard to score. Especially if you're just sitting around waiting for someone to hit a home run. Part of the reason the Tigers have had so much success in the playoffs of late (and twice beat the A's) is because of the strength of their starting pitching. It held the A's to 11 and 15 runs (and a lot of those runs came against the Tigers weak bullpen).

As great as the Red Sox offense was during their run, they had great pitching. The '04 Red Sox were 3rd in the league in ERA, 2nd in earned runs, and 4th in runs. In 2007, they led the league in ERA, runs and earned runs. That's not just building around "spare parts."

Finally, of the guys he points to the Cubs having success with: Travis Wood, Scott Feldman and Jake Arrieta, none of them have had much lasting success. Travis Wood is sporting a 4.84 ERA and teams are hitting .276/.352/.412 off of him, Feldman has an ERA in the 4s and teams are hitting .279/.340/.428, and while Arrieta has had some early success so far his ERA is 4.78 in the second half (which is due largely to a lousy August).
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2014, 07:16 PM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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This guy is definitely putting the cart before the horse by declaring the plan to be brilliance before any good results have happened. The cubs are either going to be ahead of the curve of an anti-starting pitching revolution or they will be just another team with a plan that is no better or worse than the plans of other rebuilding teams. Time will tell.

I think a more fascinating point of discussion is the idea that starting pitchers should be avoided. I see the rationale with all of the pitching injuries, but in my opinion things like this are cyclical. Somebody is going to come up with a system of developing pitchers that lessens their chances of requiring Tommy John. There will also be a market correction where pitchers at high risk for TJS will be less expensive, allowing teams to build more pitching depth. We're already seeing an example of point one with our own team. The Sox have largely avoided TJS (knock on wood) while having a pitcher that was a surefire bet to have it coming out of college in Chris Sale. Eventually teams will take notice and try to copy.

Part of this will require a difference in development at the high school and college level. I can see parents, the NCAA, and high school associations implementing controls that prevent the young pitchers from being overworked. I could also see trends that emphasize learning pinpoint control in the manner of a Greg Maddux or Mark Buehrle rather than just trying to blaze fastballs. Pitchers don't want to get hurt. Their families don't want them to get hurt. Their future MLB teams don't want them to get hurt. The only people who don't care if they get hurt later are the high school and college coaches.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2014, 10:00 PM
DSpivack DSpivack is offline
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Originally Posted by Moses_Scurry View Post
This guy is definitely putting the cart before the horse by declaring the plan to be brilliance before any good results have happened. The cubs are either going to be ahead of the curve of an anti-starting pitching revolution or they will be just another team with a plan that is no better or worse than the plans of other rebuilding teams. Time will tell.

I think a more fascinating point of discussion is the idea that starting pitchers should be avoided. I see the rationale with all of the pitching injuries, but in my opinion things like this are cyclical. Somebody is going to come up with a system of developing pitchers that lessens their chances of requiring Tommy John. There will also be a market correction where pitchers at high risk for TJS will be less expensive, allowing teams to build more pitching depth. We're already seeing an example of point one with our own team. The Sox have largely avoided TJS (knock on wood) while having a pitcher that was a surefire bet to have it coming out of college in Chris Sale. Eventually teams will take notice and try to copy.

Part of this will require a difference in development at the high school and college level. I can see parents, the NCAA, and high school associations implementing controls that prevent the young pitchers from being overworked. I could also see trends that emphasize learning pinpoint control in the manner of a Greg Maddux or Mark Buehrle rather than just trying to blaze fastballs. Pitchers don't want to get hurt. Their families don't want them to get hurt. Their future MLB teams don't want them to get hurt. The only people who don't care if they get hurt later are the high school and college coaches.
I don't think Jazayerli's argument is that they are anti-pitching or against developing pitching; it's that hitting assets have fewer variables to deal with, and that if you stockpile enough of them, you can deal assets for already-established starting pitchers. That's not to say I think that plan will work out, especially as young talent, and among young talent especially pitching, is probably the most valuable commodity in the game. It'll be interesting to see it play out.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2014, 11:23 PM
CoopaLoop CoopaLoop is offline
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My philosophy to prospects is get the best ones you can get. Who cares what position they play, but get the best available. Don't ever trade for need in prospects, just snag the top guy you can. Work out everything else later.

And I will say this, the big negative people throw around here is that the Cubs gave away three seasons. What did the Sox or any other middling team do in those three seasons? I'd rather be gobbling up elite prospects than hoping and praying.


I'd rather be a 60 win team for three years than a 75-85 team.
  #7  
Old 08-12-2014, 11:32 PM
Vernam Vernam is offline
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The diminution of PEDs in MLB has IMO made mediocre pitching cheaper and mediocre hitting more expensive. So I suppose the Flub Filosophy is sound until they realize their pitching prospects don't even qualify as mediocre.

What I'm really fascinated to see is how their touted prospects wilt under the messianic expectations that Theo and his media acolytes have built up for them. It sure does seem they have some studs coming along soon. They've had plenty in the past who wilted even under less lofty hype.

But I'd like to see a few of those kids try to succeed in the relative calm of USCF.
  #8  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:24 AM
34 Inch Stick 34 Inch Stick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domeshot17 View Post
Its a new approach. I can't say it will work or not. Look at the OBP/Moneyball approach. The SYSTEM works, It won a title in Boston, but Beane has not won a title with it yet. You still have people that laugh at it and think Scouting and TWTW and all that jazz are what matters, not SABR.

I will say this, I do think its important to build a team capable of winning 90 games. To do that, you need to score runs. The Cubs are investing in guys who will play in 130-140 games a year, not 35. I don't know if itll work, because we have not seen a finished product, but they are in good shape for the future, it is hard to argue that.
They wanted to invest 80 million into Annibal Sanchez two years ago and 120 into Tanaka last year but were rejected. This story retrofits what they currently have into an argument rather than reviewing what has actually occurred.

I don't think Epstein would agree with the relative importance of hitting over pitching that this article ascribes to him
  #9  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:27 AM
34 Inch Stick 34 Inch Stick is offline
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Originally Posted by CoopaLoop View Post
My philosophy to prospects is get the best ones you can get. Who cares what position they play, but get the best available. Don't ever trade for need in prospects, just snag the top guy you can. Work out everything else later.

And I will say this, the big negative people throw around here is that the Cubs gave away three seasons. What did the Sox or any other middling team do in those three seasons? I'd rather be gobbling up elite prospects than hoping and praying.


I'd rather be a 60 win team for three years than a 75-85 team.
and I would not...let's fight
  #10  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:32 AM
34 Inch Stick 34 Inch Stick is offline
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Originally Posted by DSpivack View Post
I don't think Jazayerli's argument is that they are anti-pitching or against developing pitching; it's that hitting assets have fewer variables to deal with, and that if you stockpile enough of them, you can deal assets for already-established starting pitchers. .
I understand with your interpretation of the article. However, when you read a phrase like "completely correct" for a completely incomplete test of a theory, you understand how it gets people's dander up.
  #11  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:41 AM
Tragg Tragg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domeshot17 View Post
Look at the OBP/Moneyball approach. The SYSTEM works, It won a title in Boston,
OBP is (or should be) a universal concept by now...9 of the top 10 OBP teams made the playoffs or had a playoff game in 2013. How are you supposed to score if you can't get on base?
Otherwise, I don't see Boston doing anything special to capitalize on market inefficiencies really.
  #12  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:46 AM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSpivack View Post
I don't think Jazayerli's argument is that they are anti-pitching or against developing pitching; it's that hitting assets have fewer variables to deal with, and that if you stockpile enough of them, you can deal assets for already-established starting pitchers. That's not to say I think that plan will work out, especially as young talent, and among young talent especially pitching, is probably the most valuable commodity in the game. It'll be interesting to see it play out.
I get that. I used "anti-pitcher" as an extreme, hyperbolic description. The point is that they feel that their pitching coach can correct the flaws that are causing guys to underperform their peripherals. Therefore, spending valuable assets, whether it be a high pick in the draft or free agency money on expensive pitchers is not a smart thing to do. I would like to see some more consistency in these pitchers that they are claiming to turn into gold before I agree with this sentiment.

Their pillars of evidence consist of Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel, and Jake Arrieta. Wood and Feldman have been awful this year. Hammel has been awful since he was traded. Maholm has also been awful since being traded. It might be a case of guys having an initial boost from pitching in a new league or environment only to come crashing down to earth as teams adjust to them. It would not surprise me at all if Arrieta follows in the footsteps of the others next year. If they go into next season with a regressed Arrieta, an awful Wood, and an awful Jackson, things all of the sudden don't look so rosy.
  #13  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:56 AM
34 Inch Stick 34 Inch Stick is offline
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Originally Posted by Moses_Scurry View Post
I get that. I used "anti-pitcher" as an extreme, hyperbolic description. The point is that they feel that their pitching coach can correct the flaws that are causing guys to underperform their peripherals. .
highfalutin version of "Coop 'ell fix 'em."
  #14  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:06 PM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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Originally Posted by 34 Inch Stick View Post
highfalutin version of "Coop 'ell fix 'em."
Exactly, accept that doesn't have a Quintana on his resume yet. A guy who has been "fixed" and stay fixed. His guys have been one or half season wonders so far. Maybe Arrieta will be different.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:13 PM
DSpivack DSpivack is offline
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Originally Posted by Moses_Scurry View Post
I get that. I used "anti-pitcher" as an extreme, hyperbolic description. The point is that they feel that their pitching coach can correct the flaws that are causing guys to underperform their peripherals. Therefore, spending valuable assets, whether it be a high pick in the draft or free agency money on expensive pitchers is not a smart thing to do. I would like to see some more consistency in these pitchers that they are claiming to turn into gold before I agree with this sentiment.

Their pillars of evidence consist of Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel, and Jake Arrieta. Wood and Feldman have been awful this year. Hammel has been awful since he was traded. Maholm has also been awful since being traded. It might be a case of guys having an initial boost from pitching in a new league or environment only to come crashing down to earth as teams adjust to them. It would not surprise me at all if Arrieta follows in the footsteps of the others next year. If they go into next season with a regressed Arrieta, an awful Wood, and an awful Jackson, things all of the sudden don't look so rosy.
I guess there are two different ideas here. The first is as mentioned, building up hitting prospects to eventually deal for established pitching. It remains to be seen whether that will actually work when young, good pitching is as valuable as ever.

The second is in their reclamation projects. It may have worked with Hammel and they dealt him along with Samardzija for one of the game's top prospects. Arrieta looks good so far, but who knows what'll happen with him going forward. The others as you mentioned haven't worked out so well.
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