Friday Five: Needs Improvement

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Five: Needs Improvement

. Friday, April 22, 2011



Welcome to the Friday Five, where this week, we're piling on early. But to temper that negativity, we're focusing on who can improve instead of just saying fuck it and titling it "Worst So Far." We're positive like that. These are the five Cubs who most need to step it up before the weather starts getting warm enough for people to actually start going to games.

There were a lot of people that could have been on this list. I had to ignore completely reasonable candidates like Marcos Mateo, Jeff Samardzija,

5. Tyler Colvin - 48 PA, .136, .208 OBP(!!!!), 11 K (!)

He'd rank higher on the list if I had believed the hype about him last year. Many appear to have done so, but even his execrable performance so far hasn't stopped eBay sellers from having mad unrealistic expectations.

He did put a merciful end to the extra-inning icebox game on Monday, and for that we thank him.

4. John Grabow - 6.2 IP, 2 HR, 8.10 ERA, 2.40 WHIP (!!!)

Here's the sole point on this list where "needs improvement" turns into "needs to injure himself in a vegetable peeling mishap." I absolutely cannot believe that Hendo gave him $4.8 million this year to pitch like he's in the midst of a full-blown herpes outbreak.

John Grabow is like Will Ohman, Neal Cotts, and your creepy uncle Randy all rolled into one package. One failed, overpaid, underskilled package. If the Cubs are in a tight game that's gone to the bullpens and you see Grabow come in from the pen, best to go get a beer. Game's about to get way less exciting.

3. Ryan Dempster - 1-2, 25.0 IP, 6.84 ERA, 29H, 5 HR (!!)

Ryan Dempster has started this year looking like a video game pitcher who has dropped below 50 percent stamina. He's still able to get guys out, but not for long. He fades faster than Jan Michael Vincent's career post-Airwolf.

I understand that he's not really ace material at this point, but one could reasonably expect a man of his salary range to not explode like a tire fire with regularity this early in the year. We need quality starts from him in May and June to stay in the Central race, especially with our demonstrable lack of quality starters at the moment.

2.Carlos Pena - 60 PA, .208 SLG (!!!!), 9 H, 2 R, 0 HR

No doubt that the wind blowing in from the outfield has all but negated his power. That still can't explain how his slugging percentage/OBP ratio looks like that of the late Rey Sanchez. We need him to hit for a ton more bases if we're going to continue this ludicrous square dance with our .500 record.

The depressing part is that his average (.188) isn't all that ridiculous compared to his career numbers. Could be a long year. Thankfully, it will only be one.

1. Matt Garza - 0-2, 24.2 IP, 33 H (!!), 1.662 WHIP (!!!)

We cleared out the minors for Matt Garza, and he can be an incredibly exciting pitcher to watch. But some bad, BAD teams have tagged him in the early going. Things aren't going to get any easier than the Pirates and Astros, so he'd best learn to bring that WHIP down.

Clearly the front office was hoping for an ace in training. But it's pretty clear that Matt Garza has a lot of developing to do before he can be a top NL pitcher. Cutting down on the hits sure would be a good start.

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