May 20, 2010

Series Preview: Starlin Castro (19-23) at Elvis Andrus (23-18)

The Cubs head to Texas to face the Rangers, who were generally considered to be the best team in the AL west, and have lived up to their preseason projections so far. Here's their lineup and pitching staff

Hitters (wOBA, ZiPS RoS wOBA, CHONE UZR projection)

  • C Matt Treanor, RHB (.251, .279, -1.3)

  • 1B Justin Smoak, BHB (.291, -, -)

  • 2B Ian Kinsler, RHB (.385, .377, 3.7)

  • SS Elvis Andrus, RHB (.366, .338, 0)

  • 3B Michael Young, RHB (.351, .354, 0)

  • LF Josh Hamilton, LHB (.373, .368, 0.8)

  • CF Julio Borbon, LHB (.240, .310, 13.3)

  • RF Nelson Cruz, RHB (.445, .383, 4.5)

Pitchers (FIP, xFIP, ZiPS RoS FIP)

  • Scott Feldman, RHP (4.49, 5.09, 4.77)

  • Rich Harden, RHP (5.75, 5.76, 4.04)

  • C.J. Wilson, LHP (3.53, 4.25, 3.69)

  • Colby Lewis, RHP (3.66, 3.99, 4.10)

  • Derek Holland, LHP (4.42, 3.93, 4.90)

  • Neftali Feliz, holy shit (2.86, 3.50, 3.99)

  • Darren Oliver, LHP (2.90, 2.44, 3.53)

  • Frank Francisco, RHP (3.94, 4.25, 3.77)

It seems strange that Traenor is their catcher, given the shitton of talent I seemed to remember at the catcher position there. Maybe the depth chart is off its rocker. Aside from their erstwhile ace (Feldman), the Rangers have a damned good pitching staff. Just look at all that young talent. This is what the 2013 Cubs should look like before Hendry and Ricketts fuck it up by trading their young talent for the Joe Blantons of the world.


Caridad was moved back to the DL (sucking), and Gorz is not expected to make a trip after taking a liner off his hand. He might miss a start, but the Cubs should be able to skip his turn in the rotation with the off-day on Monday. The Rangers have a bunch of guys on the DL whose names I don't recognize, so I figure they're not very important (dying laughing) ST can correct me tomorrow if I'm wrong.

Players to watch

The easy choice is Castro and Andrus, two young and talented SS who broke into the big leagues at a very young age. They've both got great careers ahead of them.

Pitching Probables

Friday Ted Lilly, LHP (4.77, 4.70, 4.03) vs Colby Lewis, RHP (3.66, 3.99, 4.10), 7:05 PM CT

Several of the projection systems had a tough time with Lewis, as he had a shitty early career from 2002-2007, never posting a FIP below 5. He went over to Japan for the next two seasons and pitched out of his mind before returning to the team he started with. So far, his 2010 has looked a lot closer to his Japan years than his earlier MLB ones. The biggest difference is his strikeout rate, which hovered near the mid 6's before Japan but have been over 9 K/9 so far this season. He still walks a fair amount of batters though (3.68 BB/9 this year). Lilly has unsuprisingly been burned by the It could be an ugly game with Lilly pitching at the Launching Pad in Arlington, but hopefully it won't be too warm tomorrow night. Hopefully he strings together a few good starts and the Cubs move him for some more prospects.

Saturday Randy Wells, RHP (2.97, 3.47, 4.08) vs Derek Holland, LHP (4.42, 3.93, 4.90), 7:05 PM CT

Looking at those numbers for Wells really makes me shake my head at the bullpen talk. However, I'd probably keep him on my list of guys the Cubs should hang on to in the event of a fire sale. This is only his second season in the bigs (I don't think his 5.1 innings in 2008 count) so he should still be around in 2012 and 2013. If you look at Holland's strikeouts and walks, his numbers look great, but not surprisingly, given his home ballpark, he's had big problems with HRs. Here's hoping the right-leaning lineup pounds him.

Sunday Fail Whale, RHP (4.21, 4.12, 4.37) vs C.J. Wilson, LHP (3.53, 4.25, 3.69)

I'm not exactly sure what to make of C.J. Wilson's projections, as he was a reliever for pretty much all of his mlb career until this season, and that 3.69 FIP is still largely projecting him as one. He had an insane season last year, posting a 10.26 K/9 in 73.2 innings. He's pretty wild too, though not quite Marmol-esque. So far he's managed to keep things relatively under control as a starter. Silva had yet another decent start in his last outing, scattering 6 hits and giving up 2 runs, and most importantly inducing 11 grounders to only 7 liners/flyballs. It could get ugly to see the Rangers teeing off in him in that park though.