Bullpen Session

Bullpen Session 4.4.19

Fifth; 4.0
Streak: L L L L

Those are more Ls than I care to type. A second solid start from Jon Lester. Another bullpen meltdown that results in a loss. Issuing free passes has become deadly contagious throughout the bullpen. The cure? Throw. Strikes.

The number of days Joe Maddon says it takes to gauge a bullpen’s effectiveness. He may be right, but the early results are downright discouraging. Forget about the next three weeks, this bullpen needs a reversal in the next four games, or they risk digging a hole they can’t climb out of—before playing the home opener.

The number of relief arms the Cubs used last season to patchwork an ineffective bullpen. It’s looking like the over in 2019.


  • 5 – Brach (2.2)
  • 3 – Cishek (1.2)
  • 3 – Edwards Jr. (1.0)
  • 2 – Chatwood (1.2)
  • 1 – Montgomery (0.2)

Hat tip to Jon for reaching base safely in his three plate appearances, a first in his career, thanks to an RBI bloop-single and two walks.

How does Jason Heyward, with that big, strong, athletic body of his, produce such little pop at the plate? His physical stature alone puts in the ranks of the league’s power-hitting hulks. But his swing plays like he’s 5’6—not 6’5. If it’s not a weak ground out to second, it’s an infield pop-up, or another broken bat handle. It just doesn’t make sense.

Which is one way of saying Jason Heyward is a very good fourth outfielder. There’s no arguing his defense remains the gold standard in right field, but his bat, unfortunately, falls short of being an everyday starter. Through five games, all starts, Heyward has failed to draw a walk in his 22 plate appearances, he has the lowest OBP (.273) of all Cub regulars, and he’s hit into a league-leading five double plays. If this is truly a season of player production over player potential, as it was clearly stated by the Cubs brass this offseason, then Heyward’s contributions are best served as a regular role player.

I didn’t see the David Bote five-year extension coming. I think that’s partly because I expected more established Cubs to ink extensions first, and because I don’t view Bote, who’s yet to play 100 games in the bigs, as an established big league player. If, however, Bote does prove to be an everyday player, and it’s clear the Cubs believe he will be, then the club has managed a real bargain at only $15M guaranteed. I’m happy Bote got paid, and also encouraged by the confidence the Cubs are showing in Bote’s development.