Results tagged ‘ Christina Kahrl ’

Inside the Numbers: Delayed gratification?

ESPN SweetSpot’s Christina Kahrl, who contributes analysis to Vine Line and Vine Line Game Day Edition, discusses the reasons Cubs fans may or may not see Josh Vitters (left) and Brett Jackson (right) at Wrigley Field this September. (Photo by Stephen Green)

So the 2011 season isn’t going to involve a renewed bid for contention, and fans are understandably turning the page and wondering when they’ll get to see the organization’s top prospects getting called up. Chances are, you’ll be waiting for a while. The way baseball’s rules work, there are significant disincentives for the Cubs to add their best kids to the 40-man roster.

First, there’s the disincentive to bring somebody up if they’re not likely to make the team next spring. This is strictly economic: Why would a team unnecessarily grant a prospect already under team control early ignition on his service-time clock? Doing so now means very little in terms of improving the Cubs’ chances for 2011. By granting service time, the team is already putting the prospect down a path toward arbitration eligibility—and an escalating pay scale—while not necessarily guaranteeing the Cubs that they’ll control the player’s best seasons before free agency.

The second challenge for a player looking to get called up between now and Opening Day 2012 is the question of whether or not the Cubs need to protect him from the Rule 5 draft in December. Although a player taken in the Rule 5 draft would have to be kept on the big league roster all season or else offered back to his original organization, clubs prefer to avoid the risk of losing a prospect this way whenever possible. (more…)

Vine Line Game Day Preview: Cubs vs. Giants

Christina Kahrl, who writes for ESPN’s SweetSpot Blog and is a founding partner of Baseball Prospectus, contributed this preview of Game 3 starter Tim Lincecum in our Vine Line Game Day Edition program, available at Wrigley Field. Grab your official Wrigley Field scorecard for just $2 and catch Christina’s full look at the Cubs’ matchups every month.

“The Freak” may not throw as hard as he once did, but the short, slim righty is getting the same results from his classic fastball/slider/change combo. Lincecum’s still striking out more than a man an inning, cranking out quality starts two-thirds of the time or more, and every hard-hit ball represents a small moral victory for the batter. Whether with his fastball or his off-speed stuff, he rarely makes a mistake inside, and he’s able to snap off sliders and change-ups for strikes in hitter’s counts.After four years of relative indifference to baserunners—who swiped 77 bases in 90 attempts—Lincecum had benefitted from Posey catching. Now he may have a spot of vulnerability again.

For fans, Wrigley has it right

Vine Line Game Day writer Christina Kahrl took a colleague to Sunday night’s Cubs vs. Yankees game at Wrigley Field and posted on ESPN’s SweetSpot blog that the Friendly Confines have it right where it counts—the fan experience.

After the game we ended up walking all the way to the furthest left-field corner, just to check out the view from all around the ballpark. Steph busily snapped pics throughout the evening, and walked away saying it had to be one of the best ballparks on the planet. I asked if she thought the place was a dump, and she responded that L.A. would be lucky to have a park this nice.

So where does dumping on Wrigley come from? From the people [media members] who work there, and who are used to something better these days. Certainly, those are the people most likely to say something about working in Wrigley and have it become “news.” Maybe the Ricketts can punch up the amenities for the players or the press by adding a building on the northwest corner of their block, up on the corner of Clark and Waveland, an idea that has been discussed in the past.

But coming out of Wrigley Field on Sunday night, I left with the expectation that I’ll have to get Steph back out to see Wrigley again to bring her around to my point of view — that is, to trim away the “one of” aspect of her first impression about best ballparks. But I also came out of the night thinking there’s nothing about Wrigley that merits dumping on it, certainly not from a spot in the stands.

Well worth a full read.

Vine Line Game Day Preview: Cubs vs. Yankees

Christina Kahrl, who writes for ESPN’s SweetSpot Blog and is a founding partner of Baseball Prospectus, contributed this overview of the New York Yankees for the Vine Line Game Day Edition program, available at Wrigley Field. Grab your official Wrigley Field scorecard for just $2 and catch Christina’s full look at the Cubs’ matchups every month.

The last time the Yankees played in Wrigley Field was in 2003, their first visit to the Cubs’ home turf since the still-controversial “Called Shot” World Series of 1932, when—depending on who you want to believe—Babe Ruth either did or did not call a home run off Cubs pitcher Charlie Root in Game 3 of New York’s sweep. In 2003 as in 1932, the Cubs were a postseason-bound ballclub, but the ‘03 edition won their interleague series with the Bronx Bombers by taking two of three. With the Yankees looking to build a lead over the Red Sox and Rays in yet another three-legged AL East race, can the Cubs call the shots by putting a dent in their playoff hopes?

HITTING: With Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson dueling for the overall lead in home runs and Robinson Cano in the race for the RBIs lead, the Bombers bring a ton of firepower to the plate against righties. But their overall record against them was just above .500 (through early June)—it’s lefties they’ve been killing, winning 14 of 22 against them.

PITCHING: It’s a bend-don’t-break rotation helped by a better-than-average defense, and setup man David Robertson headlines a middle-relief crew that rates third in the majors in stranding inherited baserunners. All the better to hand leads off to another pinstriped immortal, closer Mariano Rivera.

Vine Line Game Day Preview: Pirates come to town

Christina Kahrl, who writes for ESPN’s SweetSpot Blog and is a founding partner of Baseball Prospectus, contributed this overview of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Vine Line Game Day Edition program, available at Wrigley Field. Grab your official Wrigley Field scorecard for just $2 and catch Christina’s full look at the Cubs’ matchups every month.

May 2011 Vine Line Game Day Edition

Their consecutive losing seasons might be at a major-sports-record 18 and counting, but there are signs of progress. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen and third baseman Pedro Alvarez are former first-rounders, and players the Pirates can build around. But with a roster almost entirely made up of other team’s prospects, they’re something like a full-season spring-training team, using the year to evaluate what they have, how much of it they should keep, and for how long.

Vine Line Game Day Preview: Road Trip to Fenway

Fenway Park

(Photo by Elsa/Getty)

Christina Kahrl, who writes for ESPN’s SweetSpot Blog and is a founding partner of Baseball Prospectus, contributed this preview of the Cubs’ visit to Boston for the Vine Line Game Day Edition program, available at Wrigley Field. Grab your official Wrigley Field scorecard for just $2 and catch Christina’s full look at the Cubs’ matchups every month.

If the American League had a preseason favorite for the pennant, it was the Red Sox. After adding former Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez and free-agent leftfielder Carl Crawford to an already star-laden lineup, nothing less would be seen as success.

That was before the Sox got off to a slow start, inducing instant panic in Red Sox Nation. Boston’s extraordinary roster depth is the product of extraordinary expense beyond just the $160 million-plus big-league payroll: The farm system has cranked out MVP candidates Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia in the lineup, power lefty Jon Lester in the rotation, and flame-throwing Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard in the ’pen. This series won’t just be historical—it’s as tough a matchup as you can draw, presenting the Cubs with a major challenge during their one away series in May.

May 2011 Vine Line Game Day EditionA season shy of its centennial as a big-league venue, Fenway Park is the East Coast’s answer to Wrigley Field and the site of the 1918 World Series between the Red Sox and the Cubs. Fourteen years before Babe Ruth’s infamous “Called Shot” that helped cost the Cubs the Series, he was helping the Red Sox beat the Cubs as a pitcher in ’18, getting the win in the first and fourth games. (more…)

Scorecard EXTRA preview: Cubs vs. Braves–Friday, Aug. 20

The Braves roll into town for a three-game set this weekend. The Cubs will thankfully miss ace Tim Hudson’s spot in Atlanta’s rotation, so let’s focus on their offense.

Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus broke down the effectiveness of the Braves lineup in the August Scorecard EXTRA (below).

Be sure to factor in the recently added Derrek Lee’s presence.  




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Scorecard EXTRA preview: Cubs vs. Padres–Thursday, Aug. 19

Today’s Padres starter, Mat Latos, was featured by Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus in the Scout’s Corner (below) of August’s Scorecard EXTRA, available at every Cubs home game. 

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Scorecard EXTRA preview: Cubs vs. Padres–Wednesday, Aug. 18

Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus introduces the Padres pitching staff that had its way with the Cubs Tuesday night in August’s Scorecard EXTRA, available at every Cubs home game: 
 

 

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PITCHING: 3.44 Fair RA (first in MLB)

Because the Padres arguably have no single pitcher racking up big numbers, it’s easy to lose sight of their team-wide strengths. They’re the toughest team to hit against: They lead the NL in strikeout percentage, punching out 21 percent of opposing batters, and also profit from a league-best defense. Their 2.89 bullpen FRA reflects a seven-deep spread of effective ‘pen men, headlined by closer Heath Bell. Setup man Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams provide a reminder of how top relievers can be near-everyday impact players in their own right.

 

Scorecard EXTRA preview: Cubs vs. Padres–Tuesday, Aug. 17


Thumbnail image for R05_SCXTRAPADRES AUG10.jpgThe Cubs got a taste of Padres closer Heath Bell in the non-save situation of last night’s ninth inning. He retired Starlin Castro, Kosuke Fukudome and Darwin Barney in order–the first two striking out.

Bell didn’t pitch in the Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 Padres-Giants games, so expect to see him back on the mound during the last three games of this series.

If it’s in a save situation, as Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus explains in August’s Scorecard EXTRA (right), beware. His 35 saves (in 38 opportunities) lead the NL.  

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