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Cub Tracks takes a healthy cut

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Out to launch, and other bullets

The best-stretching first baseman in baseball.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

BCB commenter Doshi said this:

Launch angle is a fad. Pitchers are going to start elevating their fastballs against known launch angle aficionados, and those guys will start whiffing because they have an uppercut instead of a straight bat.

To which I replied:

Sure. Watch David Bote swing in September. Watch Javy flail at eye-high fastballs.

I was gonna talk about that a little, given that exchange, but given the Cubs’ acquisition of a new old coach (Cubs hire Anthony Iapoce as hitting coach), one with ties to former Cubs coach John Mallee and to the Cubs’ minor-league system, where he coached many of today’s starting lineup, that behooves us to ask the question — “Hey Cubs, what gives?”

Given some of Joe Maddon’s comments re: launch angle, I wonder if he was on board.

“It’s one of those things that sounds good, but doesn’t help you,” said Maddon, who has crusaded against the hype surrounding slight uppercut swings to produce more power. “There are certain things that people want to promote and talk about. But it doesn’t matter.

“When a hitter is in the box, you’re trying to stare down a 96 mph (fastball) or a slider on the edge. The last thing you’re thinking about is launch angle. When it comes to practice, you don’t have to work necessarily on angles as much as your body works a certain way.” — Mark Gonzales.

Hard to say, because Joe will probably agree with this appointment, too, as the boat is hard to steer when it’s rockin’. At least publicly. 2019 is already shaping up to be interesting. Joe being a lame-duck manager should light fires under people’s asses — Joe’s for one.

As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  1. With reference to ongoing commentary: Cub Tracks’ full 40-man as of 10/13.

Cubs News and Notes:

  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): The search is on for the ‘edge’ that will put the Cubs back on top. “...the 2018 Cubs, who fell short of reaching even the NLDS for the first time in four years, were a team lacking edge and urgency.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde in play for Rangers, Twins, Angels managerial vacancies.”It looks like Chili Davis might not be the only member of Joe Maddon’s staff departing after just a year on the job.”
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Cole Hamels’ cap hit may actually be a little less than $20 million. “...the Cubs would actually take a roughly $19.65 million cap hit if they exercise Hamels’ 2019 option...”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): What should Brandon Morrow’s role be in Cubs 2019 bullpen? “...an injury isn’t surprising given Morrow’s lengthy history of arm issues.”
  • Bill Thompson (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): It’s time to give Pedro Strop a chance to close. “Strop has already cemented himself as the greatest reliever in the history of the franchise...”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Why the Cubs see Anthony Iapoce as the right hitting coach at the right time. “...just because Iapoce worked closely with John Mallee throughout his career doesn’t mean that he’s a Mallee clone.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): How did the Cubs go from Rudy Jaramillo to Anthony Iapoce at hitting coach? It’s a long story. “...Epstein’s eighth season with the Cubs will feature his sixth batting coach.”
  • WGN Radio: Mark Gonzales talks Cubs and the hitting coach shuffle [AUDIO].
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times {$}): Chili Davis ‘not going to blame myself,’ wishes next Cubs hitting coach better. “I’m not going to blame myself for this. I’m not going to blame anyone. It didn’t work,” Davis said.
  • Jeff Burdick (Cubs Insider): Bryce Harper would add star power, perhaps not playoff wins. “...Harper still represents a tangible upgrade.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): The Padres’ roster crunch and the Cubs – any trade fits there? Maybe even for a shortstop? “...the Cubs always seem to grab a couple guys in late October/early November.”
  • Andrew Battiforano (MiLB.com): Miguel Amaya, Jared Young headline Cubs’ next wave. “The Cubs might not have the glitz and glamor of a few years back, but there are positives for the North Siders.”

Food for Thought:

Thanks for reading.