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BCB After Dark: Amaya’s crystal ball

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks what you think Miguel Amaya’s future holds.

MLB: JUL 04 Cubs at Brewers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the grooviest gathering of night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We are so glad to see you at the start of this week. Come on in out of the fall air. If you have a coat that needs checking, let us do that for you now. There’s no cover charge this evening. There are still some tables available. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

We had two very similar League Championship Series as the Rangers beat the Astros, 5-4 and the Phillies beat the Diamondbacks 5-4. In both games, the winning team broke out to an early 4-0 lead and then hung on as the losing team mounted a comeback that fell short. Of course, the D-Backs are in much better shape than the Astros, as they’re only down one game to none while the Astros are down 2-0 and heading back to Arlington for Game 3.

Last week I asked you if the 2023 Cubs season was a success or a failure. Fully 75 percent of you thought the season as a whole was a success, even if the ending was really a bummer. (My words, not yours.)

Here’s the part where we play the tunes and talk movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight we have a concert by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard for French Television in 1973. So you’re going to get some fusion vibes out of this one, considering the year.

Junior Cook is on tenor sax and flute, George Cables is on keyboards, Kent Brinkley on bass and Michael Carvin on drums.

In my continuing tour through pre-code horror films, I watched the 1931 film Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins. But I haven’t really had the time to write up something worthy of the film yet, so you’re going to have to wait until later this week for my full thoughts. For now, I’m going to say that I liked it very much and while March won the Oscar for his performance in the film, I was even more impressed with the work that Hopkins did.

So I thought I’d bring back the issue of what we are going to do after the playoffs end. Last year we did the Winter Noir Classic and I guess this year we are going to try the Winter Western Classic. This is going to be a challenge for me because while I have seen a lot of Westerns, there are a lot of highly-regarded Westerns that I haven’t seen. I’ll try my best.

I’ve decided that I’m going to limit the tournament to films from 1939 to 1972. There are a few reasons for that. For one, I think more recent films would have a huge advantage in the voting as you all are much more likely to have seen them when they came out. One of the reasons I write about old movies here is to call attention to films that you may not be familiar with. I don’t think I need to call attention to Unforgiven, Tombstone, Django Unchained, etc. Also, by cutting it off at 1972, I can include Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller and I have an excuse to exclude Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976). That film is a true problematic masterpiece, as the author of the book it was based on, Asa Earl Carter, was an especially crude, violent and unrepentant KKK leader. Eastwood fired original director Philip Kaufman because, among other reasons, Kaufman wanted to cut all of the “fascist” (Kaufman’s words) political stuff out of the script. Eastwood finished the film and it’s a classic, but you can see why many people, including me, find it troubling. I’d prefer not having to talk it up, even though I like it as a film.

I picked 1939 as the start point because like The Maltese Falcon kicked off the noir craze in 1941, 1939’s Stagecoach kicked off Hollywood’s love affair with the Western. However, if you’ve got a suggestion from 1938 or 1974, I’m willing to listen.

“Spaghetti Westerns” are allowed and I’ve included some of them here. But I’m mostly only familiar with the really popular ones in that genre.

But please, no Blazing Saddles. Yes, we all love the movie and it would win the vote easily. I don’t think anyone needs to be learn about that film.

Here’s a list of 40 movies that are currently under consideration for the tournament. I need to pare this down to about 24 to 28 and I need to see if there is anything I’ve forgotten. So please look it over and offer your suggestions.

  1. Red River
  2. The Searchers
  3. The Ox-Bow Incident
  4. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  5. Stagecoach
  6. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  7. The Wild Bunch
  8. Ride the High Country
  9. High Noon
  10. Rio Bravo
  11. Johnny Guitar
  12. Forty Guns
  13. My Darling Clementine
  14. McCabe and Mrs Miller
  15. Shane
  16. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  17. A Fistful of Dollars
  18. Once Upon A Time in the West
  19. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
  20. The Magnificent Seven
  21. Winchester ’73
  22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  23. The Left-handed Gun
  24. One-Eyed Jacks
  25. Django
  26. Vera Cruz
  27. For A Few Dollars More
  28. The Naked Spur
  29. True Grit (1969)
  30. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
  31. The Shooting
  32. Jeremiah Johnson
  33. Little Big Man
  34. How the West Was Won
  35. Broken Lance
  36. The Naked Spur
  37. Hondo
  38. El Dorado
  39. Big Jake
  40. Fort Apache

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.

Tonight’s question is about Cubs’ rookie catcher Miguel Amaya. I guess he’s not a rookie anymore because you did get a 53-game look at him this season. Certainly he’s won a lot of fans with his personality and his adorable parents waving the Panamanian flag at Wrigley. But has he won you over as a fan for his ability on the field.

Amaya kind of got rushed to the majors this year because of injuries and while he didn’t excel, he did hold his own. In 156 plate appearances, Amaya hit .214/.329/.359 with four doubles and five home runs. His strikeout rate was 25.6%, which isn’t great but it’s not terrible either. His on-base percentage was solid, but that was boosted by 11 hit-by-pitches. That may be luck, or it may be that Amaya is a player like Anthony Rizzo who just gets naturally hit by a lot of pitches. That HBP-rate is a lot higher than anything Amaya had in the minors, but his walk rate in the majors was well below the numbers he put up in the minors. So it kind of evened out.

For a catcher in the Cubs organization, however, the most important part is the defense and game-management skills. The sample size for Amaya is really too small for us to draw any conclusions from the data, although Fangraphs puts his defensive WAR at an impressive 1.6. Baseball-Reference put it at a more modest 0.1.

I’d say the scouting reports are more valuable than the numbers for Amaya’s defense at this point. His arm is probably a bit below average, but the rest of his game behind the plate appears to be solid. He seemed to be good at game management, especially for a rookie. Pitchers seemed to enjoy throwing to him. Statcast data has him as an above-average pitch framer and that seems to match the eye test.

So tonight we’re going to ask you to predict Amaya’s future. Is he going to be a star, or is he destined to fade away like so many young players. Amaya has certainly had a long injury history, including Tommy John surgery. Durability is an important trait for a catcher and is something to consider.


What will Miguel Amaya’s career with the Cubs look like?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Future All-Star
    (14 votes)
  • 72%
    Solid starting catcher
    (211 votes)
  • 21%
    Career backup/2nd catcher
    (64 votes)
  • 0%
    Bouncing back and forth to Iowa
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Traded, released or not much future
    (3 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by this evening. If you checked anything, let us get that for you now. Please get home safely. Tell your friends about us. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.