Blog Entry

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

Posted on: January 27, 2008 2:30 pm

Ryan Dempster 2007-  0-2 4.73 ERA 1.34 WHIP 28 SV 0 Hld 7.43 K/9

The Cubs have flirted with him and the rotation, but the addition of Jon Lieber means that probably won't happen. He had two problems in 2007: non-save situations and the Mets. He was actually good as a closer (converting 28 out of 31 SV chances). Many have questioned his role as he is not the typical closer, and had many almost BLSVs. He'll definitely be in the hunt for the closer's job in Spring Training, and he has more expirence in the role than anyone else on the team.

Bob Howry 2007- 6-7 3.32 ERA 1.17 WHIP 8 SV 22 Hld 7.97 K/9 

The overlooked option in the Cubs pen, but possibly the most dependable. Serving mostly as an 8th innning man, for the portion of the year when Dempster was on the DL, Howry filled in nicely as the closer. He doesn't have the flashy stuff of Carlos Marmol or even Kerry Wood, but he does consistently throw in the high 90s. Is in the running for closer, but it's most likely that he will remain the 8th inning guy. Hey, why mess with success?

Carlos Marmol 2007- 5-1 1.43 ERA 1.10 WHIP 1 SV 16 Hld 12.46 K/9

It wouldn't be a stretch to call him the most dominant reliever in baseball in 2007. He has absolutely flithy stuff, and is electric on the mound. If it wasn't for a bad LDS, he would be the obvious closer option. Although Lou may to try and save his arm as he is only 25 and has an akward delivery, which could cause future arm problems.

Kerry Wood 2007- 1-1 3.33 ERA 1.27 WHIP 0 SV 0 Hld 8.88 K/9

The longest tenured Cub is now forever a reliever. By no longer starting, the Cubs hope to limit the abuse on the elbow, as he will use the breaking ball less. He has all the stuff to be a closer, but hasn't shown yet that he can go back-to-back days. Surely the more time he spends in the pen, the more comfertable and dominant he will become. Definitely a closer option.

Micheal Wuertz 2007- 2-3 3.48 ERA 1.37 WHIP 0 SV 8Hld 9.83 K/9

People forget how good this slider-specialist is. In the last two years he has had ERA+ of 174 adn 134. Last year he ranked 2nd in the league in percentage of runners stranded. He would get a bigger role, if he wasn't the fifth right-handed option out of the pen. But I wouldn't be worried if he came in in a close game.

Scott Eyre (L) 2007- 2-1 4.13 ERA 1.80 WHIP 0 SV 5 Hld 7.74 K/9

The All-Star break was very very good to Eyre last year. Last year before the break he had a 6.60 ERA, after a .81 ERA...that's an insane difference. Probably best suited as a lefty specialist as he has a .233 BAA against lefties in the last 3 years.

Kevin Hart 2007- 0-0 .82 ERA 1.00 WHIP 0 SV 0 Hld 10.64 K/9

The Cubs minor league pitcher of the year in 2007 may give the Cubs something they lacked in 2007, a long reliever. He's young and has good stuff. Good option for spots starts.

I'll go through more relievers later 

Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs

Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2008 11:31 am

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

I agree, Great analysis. I'm already excited for the '08 season to start. I know this has been said time and time again, but a lot of potential is showing I just hope it doesn't blow up some how.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2008 1:57 am

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

Great great analysis Don!!!!!!! Loved it and I think one of the biggest keys was in the Howry part you put why mess with success this is my feeling on the closer situation!!!!

Dempster has one year left on that contract he ain't a perfect closer but 28 of 31 chances is pretty damn good!!! If it ain't broke don't fix it!!! Leave Dempster as closer one more year.

Let Kerry Wood build up his arm and just have a good solid year but keep him out of the closer roll for now.

Let Marmol continue to bollosm by sharing time with Howry in the 8th inning role!!!! This is just my few thoughts on the situation!!

Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: January 27, 2008 9:24 pm

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

The Cubs have finally learned that you can't predict which arms will produce in the pen from year to year and therefore you need to start with what looks like too many arms (it rarely is). I think that they have given themselves a great shot at being productive all through the lineup. Looks like a great 2008!

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2008 7:41 pm

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

Yeah that 7th spot is almost a tossup, if Lou goes with 12 pitchers. It could go to Hart, Ascanio, Lahey, Marshall, Cotts, Petrick or Pignatietto. Depending on how Lou wants to go through it. He could go with 13 pitchers and then you may see Ascanio and Cotts, but if he goes with 12 I think that definitely means a long reliever: Hart or Marshall.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2008 6:25 pm

Analyzing the Cub's Pen

Great look on the relievers.  It's always a bit of a house of cards for most teams as they build their relief staff.  I'm refreshed to see that we have this whole group back (some like hart just coming in late), from last year.  I also am excited about Jose Ascanio as far as his prospects of making the team as well.  In fact, it will be interesting to see if he beats out one of these others and makes the team.  My suspicion is he will make the team and one of these others will either be traded, injured, or if Hart struggles is sent back down to the minors.  He definitely will be battling for a spot.  This hard throwing right hander has great potential, and was traded to the Cubs for Will Ohman and Omar Infante.

The coolest thing about this pen situation is how different it is from the Cubs of old.  To actually have too many relievers that "should" make the roster is a problem I don't remember too many times over the years.  Plus I like the mix of veterans and youngsters.  You need both.

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