There’s a link down below, but the most interesting thing I saw this weekend was Tony Campana’s speed getting the better of perennial Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay. It’s a good thing for the Cubs to have that kind of speed out there, considering they have only one player (Bryan LaHair) who is at all competent at knocking the ball out of the park.
This is one where the Sabermetric crowd may be thinking “well, duh” but the team may have made a mistake when they left Campana off the opening day roster. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and I guess nobody expected Marlon Byrd to have a batting average roughly equal to my 3-year old’s weight, but Campana posted a 1.5 WAR (per Fangraphs) in 95 games last season. That pro-rates to a 2.6 over a 162-game season, assuming he stayed healthy, which is decent. Not world-beater, but right on pace with what Byrd (2.7) would’ve had over a 162-game pace.
One other factor to consider is that Tony C didn’t even get a chance to show off his speed last season, getting only 155 plate appearances in those 95 games. Given a chance to get more PA, would Campana have been more valuable (per WAR) than Byrd? Likely. Was leaving him off the 2012 roster also a mistake? Also likely.
Look, I don’t know that that wasn’t a fluke, but the Cubs have little to nothing else going for them, and Campana is pretty entertaining to watch. The Cubs need something like that to get me actually interesting in watching them play in 2012.
PIRATES (9-12) @ Braves (14-8)
6:10 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: Do I think James McDonald is a good pitcher? No. (And the peripheral stats back that up.) But he is coming off of a great outing and it will be interesting/revealing to see how he fares against a team that’s playing pretty well in 2012.
- The Bucs lost 2011 2nd round selection Josh Bell with a left knee injury this past weekend.
- Garrett Jones invites 5-year old girl to steal the bat from him.
Mets (13-9) @ ASTROS (8-14)
7:05 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: Knuckleballs. Other than that, I think it’s awesome that we have two pitchers with negative WAR going head-to-head.
- The Houston Chronicle wants to know how much you would pay for something that Nolan Ryan once peed on. That’s… kinda’ weird.
- Don’t give up on Jordan Lyles!
BREWERS (10-12) @ Padres (7-16)
9:05 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: I’m staring to wonder if the Brewers will ever get/stay above .500, but a series against the Padres is a good way to help your chances. And, also, seriously?! Another negative WAR match-up?!
- Nyjer Morgan’s loss is Carlos Gomez’s gain.
CUBS (8-14) @ Phillies (10-12)
6:05 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: Honestly, there’s never a good reason to watch Chris Volstad pitch. Every time I see this guy throw I see a guy who doesn’t appear terribly interested in doing what he does for a living. Pass.
- Tony Campana helped the Cubs beat Roy Halladay this weekend. Accent on Cubs, beat and Halladay.
- Count Jonathan Papelbon among Theo Epstein’s fans.
Other Team News
- Chris Carpenter still not close to coming back.
- And again…
- Ken Rosenthal breaking down the NL Central for us.
- Poor David Freese…
- Scott Rolen and Chris Heisey among several Reds trying to heat up.
- Speaking of today’s Campana-centric focus on what speed can do for you, he’s more love for Reds’ prospect Billy Hamilton.