Cubs bullpen

chibears55

Well-known member
Why IMO the cubs decided to go with Cole Hamels and hope that the rotation will be great and eat up innings..

Pedro Strop (33, season ended with a hamstring injury)

Carl Edwards Jr. (27, erratic season in performance, had a shoulder injury and a forearm injury)

Steve Cishek (32, wore down late in the year after heavy usage)

Mike Montgomery (29, might be needed in the rotation, was quietly fairly poor as a reliever last year)

Brad Brach (32, struggled in the first half with Baltimore, turned it around in Atlanta)

Brandon Kintzler (34, was terrible with the Cubs, is an aging high-contact pitcher)

Tyler Chatwood (29, lost all semblance of control last year)

Brian Duensing (35, was terrible and injured last year)

Randy Rosario (24, scary peripherals all year)

Brandon Morrow (34) out til at least May and will be used sparingly because of injury


The bullpen is very questionable and could be their weakest link all season..
 

Spunky Porkstacker

CCS Donator
Why IMO the cubs decided to go with Cole Hamels and hope that the rotation will be great and eat up innings..

Pedro Strop (33, season ended with a hamstring injury)

Carl Edwards Jr. (27, erratic season in performance, had a shoulder injury and a forearm injury)

Steve Cishek (32, wore down late in the year after heavy usage)

Mike Montgomery (29, might be needed in the rotation, was quietly fairly poor as a reliever last year)

Brad Brach (32, struggled in the first half with Baltimore, turned it around in Atlanta)

Brandon Kintzler (34, was terrible with the Cubs, is an aging high-contact pitcher)

Tyler Chatwood (29, lost all semblance of control last year)

Brian Duensing (35, was terrible and injured last year)

Randy Rosario (24, scary peripherals all year)

Brandon Morrow (34) out til at least May and will be used sparingly because of injury


The bullpen is very questionable and could be their weakest link all season..
You brought this same thing up last year if I'm remembering right, I agreed with you then and agree with you now. JMHO, need a difference maker in the closer role or what appears to be a very good starting rotation won't matter in the play offs.

Unless C.Edwards Jr can somehow figure it out and be the man.
 

jooo83

Active member
The cubs need a closer. That should be obvious. Of course someone might "step up" but that is not a gamble worth taking for a team with championship aspirations. I know he struggled in the playoffs but they need to strongly consider Craig Kimbrel. Some inexplicably claim the team does not have the funds. But it simply isn't true. The cubs owners have very deep pockets, revenue is high, a TV network is coming soon, equity is well over 1 billion dollars, and significant money comes off the books after 2019. The fans should be upset. Ricketts is putting a relatively small amount of money over winning during a championship window that appears to be shorter than once thought. I don't understand why he is largely getting a pass for this (or for cowardly skipping the cubs convention to avoid answering questions on spending and/or Addison Russell). The team should still be very competitive (possibly even good enough to win it all again) but without 1-2 legitimate upgrades they simply do not appear to be as good on paper as the Astros, Red Sox, Dodgers, maybe the Yankees, and more importably, the Brewers. I hope I'm wrong. Either way, there is still time (as well as in-season trades) for improvement.
 

beckdawg

Well-known member
Said it before and I'll say it again... other than lacking a second LH option after monty their bullpen is fine. Since 2014 Strop has a 2.61 ERA over 296.1 innings with a 10.1/3.5 k/bb per 9. He's fine as a closer until Morrow returns. Cishek was great in a 7th/8th inning role last year. Brach struggled a little with the O's last year but was great after his trade to Atlanta and has been one of the most reliable if unspectacular relievers. Between him and Cishek they are fine for the 7th/8th inning until Morrow returns and when Morrow does return they become a lot deeper.

Now keep in mind none of this even mentions Edwards who is probably the most talented pitcher on the roster when he's going right. The great thing about the set up as it is now is that even with Morrow hurt you can use Edwards as a stopper and when Morrow is back you have 2 really strong options. That means if you're in a really bad situation you can burn Edwards for 1 or 2 outs as needed to get out of jams with guys on rather than having to save him for the 7th/8th innings.

Long story short I think people are vastly overreacting to the need. As I said, I don't love the LH depth the cubs presently have but between Monty from the LH side and Morrow, Edwards, Strop, cishek, and brach from the RH side that's 6 really good relievers. The 8th guy I'm guessing is going to be a swing position where they stream in guys from AAA to use and abuse as needed and send them down to AAA to rest. So you're probably talking about Maples, Rowan Wick, Randy Rosario, Kyle Ryan and James Norwood.

The biggest questions for me are what you do with Duensing, Kintzler and Chatwood. The hope would be that Duensing looks like 2017 and your LH issue is solved. And Kintzler could in theory add even more depth if he is good in ST. Chatwood as I've said for some time now I think will be traded at some point.

Also, one other thing to keep an eye on is Danny Hultzan. He was the #2 pick in the draft who's pitched well just has never stayed healthy. He is a lefty who put up really good k/bb rates and could in theory break camp with the team
 

Spunky Porkstacker

CCS Donator
If CE Jr can't figure it out he is to unreliable. Strop can be a stud but has also shown inconsistency. Maybe there will be a surprise from within, but if the closer role is showing to be lacking should there be a move by the TD?

If all of the bats are working well the O could be amazing, but still when you get into the POs and face a team running a Josh Hader out to the mound throwing fire...
 

Spunky Porkstacker

CCS Donator
The cubs need a closer. That should be obvious. Of course someone might "step up" but that is not a gamble worth taking for a team with championship aspirations. I know he struggled in the playoffs but they need to strongly consider Craig Kimbrel. Some inexplicably claim the team does not have the funds. But it simply isn't true. The cubs owners have very deep pockets, revenue is high, a TV network is coming soon, equity is well over 1 billion dollars, and significant money comes off the books after 2019. The fans should be upset. Ricketts is putting a relatively small amount of money over winning during a championship window that appears to be shorter than once thought. I don't understand why he is largely getting a pass for this (or for cowardly skipping the cubs convention to avoid answering questions on spending and/or Addison Russell). The team should still be very competitive (possibly even good enough to win it all again) but without 1-2 legitimate upgrades they simply do not appear to be as good on paper as the Astros, Red Sox, Dodgers, maybe the Yankees, and more importably, the Brewers. I hope I'm wrong. Either way, there is still time (as well as in-season trades) for improvement.
Agree, Ricketts was working the expenditures kick pretty hard in Score interviews right before the CC. The gold mine AKA Cubs and he wants to be frugal.

I can't wait to see if they re-sign KB or let him go as some are saying.
 

CSF77

Well-known member
I honestly agree with Beck here. They are fine except for a LOOGY. Monty back in the pen stablizes it some and after that it is on Duesing to rebound.

Kintzler I see as the bubble guy. He forced in with a 5 mil pick so booting him and back filling with a min deal you really lose nothing.

I see it as Brach was signed as insurance to Morrow. He has closed in the past. Strop is the closer and Cishek is the 8th inning. If this works in April I think that they make Morrow the 3rd wheel for the season to keep his wear down. When that happens low man gets the boot. And it should be a performance over pay out. All things equal option first than fake a injury to stuff a arm.
 

beckdawg

Well-known member
If CE Jr can't figure it out he is to unreliable. Strop can be a stud but has also shown inconsistency. Maybe there will be a surprise from within, but if the closer role is showing to be lacking should there be a move by the TD?

If all of the bats are working well the O could be amazing, but still when you get into the POs and face a team running a Josh Hader out to the mound throwing fire...
What are you even talking about? Since 2014 among relievers who've thrown at least 200 innings Strop has the 17th best ERA(2.61). That's about as consistent as it gets. As for Edwards, if he isn't pitching well you don't have to use him in high leverage situations. You literally can use Monty, Strop, Cishek and Brach before him when Morrow gets healthy which should be roughly a month into the season and until then you still have 3 options other than him.

As for the playoffs, they are going to add pieces in july. They always do. But even if they don't, I'm perfectly comfortable with their bullpen. They lost Morrow for half of last year and still had the 2nd best ERA for their bullpen and that's before you account for Brach who i think is a lot better than people are giving him credit for. In 2017 he was as valuable in terms of fWAR as wade davis was to the cubs. Now sure he didn't have an amazing start to last year but you're not paying him to be Wade Davis. You're paying him to be a reliable set up guy and there's way more upside than that. Also, something people never factor in is just how good the cubs team defense is. The reason their bullpen ERA was so good and pretty meh looking additions like De La Rosa and Chavez looked great for the cubs was because of that team defense. There was around half a run difference between their FIP and ERA as a team.

And while we're talking about the playoffs I want to clear up a misconception people have. You don't need Hader for a perfectly clean inning. That is to say if you're using Hader to start say the 7th or 8th inning you're really not using him to his full value. What you need high k rate great relievers like him for is to get out of bad jams. Just as a reference here, in low leverage situations league average was a 2.86 ERA. In medium leverage that jumps to 4.49. In high leverage it jumps to 8.99. The current cubs in thos situations look like this

Brach - 2.85/2.69/4.04
Edwards - 1.49/2.66/7.62
Strop(since 2014 breakout) - 1.73/1.26/5.63
Cishek - 1.80/2.17/4.27
Morrow(since 2015 switch to reliever) - 1.06/2.43/3.67

I didn't include Monty because he's a bit weird given a lot of his innings have came as a starter when he might get into trouble while being tired. But those 5 guys have been ridiculous in low/med leverage situations. Edwards hasn't been great in high leverage though you're only talking 28.1 innings. The other 4 though are vastly superior in those high leverage situations comparative to league average.

My point here is that the cubs have guys that are good. Sure there's room for improvement but people are making it out like this is a terrible bullpen. It's not. In an ideal world I'd like to see another good lefty and another high k rate guy but you can win a world series with this bullpen. I mean look at the 2016 team. Joe would only use Chapman Monty and Strop. Chapman is probably better than Morrow but it's not that much difference assuming Morrow is healthy and the rest of the cubs pen is far better than 2016.
 

anotheridiot

Active member
They definitely got some lumberjack looking guys to try out for the team. I think the biggest question is how all these guys respond to Hottovey since he has had little to do with coaching and more for scouting. It could be a perfect choice or a huge mess. I dont think Lester or Hamels have much to do with pitching coaches messing with their craft, but my biggest thought is not telling them what to do, but pointing out what is changing in their deliveries when things go wrong, so maybe a scout is a great choice. But these for lack of a better term "projects" they are picking up might need more.
 

beckdawg

Well-known member
They definitely got some lumberjack looking guys to try out for the team. I think the biggest question is how all these guys respond to Hottovey since he has had little to do with coaching and more for scouting. It could be a perfect choice or a huge mess. I dont think Lester or Hamels have much to do with pitching coaches messing with their craft, but my biggest thought is not telling them what to do, but pointing out what is changing in their deliveries when things go wrong, so maybe a scout is a great choice. But these for lack of a better term "projects" they are picking up might need more.
I read something suggesting one thing players really liked about Hottovey is that he had a system set up where by it took high res images of how pitchers were gripping pitches at various points during the season. Doing such allows players to see when they are pitching well what they were doing differnetly.
 

anotheridiot

Active member
I am pretty sure the grip is the one thing they do not change, its the arm slot or position of the rest of the body or the actual point they are releasing the ball that changes. Sounds like he might end up like an NFL team and take an Ipad out to the mound on visits.
 

Castor76

New member
I am pretty sure the grip is the one thing they do not change, its the arm slot or position of the rest of the body or the actual point they are releasing the ball that changes. Sounds like he might end up like an NFL team and take an Ipad out to the mound on visits.
Bet there'll be a lot of that in between innings.
 

Spunky Porkstacker

CCS Donator
What are you even talking about? Since 2014 among relievers who've thrown at least 200 innings Strop has the 17th best ERA(2.61). That's about as consistent as it gets. As for Edwards, if he isn't pitching well you don't have to use him in high leverage situations. You literally can use Monty, Strop, Cishek and Brach before him when Morrow gets healthy which should be roughly a month into the season and until then you still have 3 options other than him.

As for the playoffs, they are going to add pieces in july. They always do. But even if they don't, I'm perfectly comfortable with their bullpen. They lost Morrow for half of last year and still had the 2nd best ERA for their bullpen and that's before you account for Brach who i think is a lot better than people are giving him credit for. In 2017 he was as valuable in terms of fWAR as wade davis was to the cubs. Now sure he didn't have an amazing start to last year but you're not paying him to be Wade Davis. You're paying him to be a reliable set up guy and there's way more upside than that. Also, something people never factor in is just how good the cubs team defense is. The reason their bullpen ERA was so good and pretty meh looking additions like De La Rosa and Chavez looked great for the cubs was because of that team defense. There was around half a run difference between their FIP and ERA as a team.

And while we're talking about the playoffs I want to clear up a misconception people have. You don't need Hader for a perfectly clean inning. That is to say if you're using Hader to start say the 7th or 8th inning you're really not using him to his full value. What you need high k rate great relievers like him for is to get out of bad jams. Just as a reference here, in low leverage situations league average was a 2.86 ERA. In medium leverage that jumps to 4.49. In high leverage it jumps to 8.99. The current cubs in thos situations look like this

Brach - 2.85/2.69/4.04
Edwards - 1.49/2.66/7.62
Strop(since 2014 breakout) - 1.73/1.26/5.63
Cishek - 1.80/2.17/4.27
Morrow(since 2015 switch to reliever) - 1.06/2.43/3.67

I didn't include Monty because he's a bit weird given a lot of his innings have came as a starter when he might get into trouble while being tired. But those 5 guys have been ridiculous in low/med leverage situations. Edwards hasn't been great in high leverage though you're only talking 28.1 innings. The other 4 though are vastly superior in those high leverage situations comparative to league average.

My point here is that the cubs have guys that are good. Sure there's room for improvement but people are making it out like this is a terrible bullpen. It's not. In an ideal world I'd like to see another good lefty and another high k rate guy but you can win a world series with this bullpen. I mean look at the 2016 team. Joe would only use Chapman Monty and Strop. Chapman is probably better than Morrow but it's not that much difference assuming Morrow is healthy and the rest of the cubs pen is far better than 2016.
I don't see Strop as the shut down closer to have on the mound in extremely dire situations.
 
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