Ask OV: Because We Had a Day Off and We Haven't Done This For a While.

Many of you might have been asking, "Hey! What happened to my favorite new feature on Obstructed View? When the hell are they going to do another Ask OV?" Some of you might have been hoping that we never do another stupid Ask OV post again. Most of you probably didn't even think about Ask OV since the last time we posted one. So get ready to be enthralled, close your eyes, or just turn off your computer for awhile because here we go:

What kind of velocity does Michael Bowden have?

Excellent question, though judging from his first outing, the better question might be, "Does Michael Bowden have any clue where the ball is going when he releases it?" But to answer the original question, we'll go to the post MB wrote about Bowden shortly after the trade was completed:

He throws a 4-seamer that has averaged about 92.9 mph over his career. He also throws a slider and a changeup and every once in awhile he may throw a curve. His average fastball velocity so far this year is 92.6.

Where is Steve Bartman now?

Well, I doubt anybody knows for sure, but the blog, Cubbies Crib did an e-mail interview with someone who claims to be Steve Bartman. I've read through that Twitter feed and it doesn't sound like someone who has spent the last 8 1/2 years dodging anyone and everyone who wants a piece of his story. But whoever it is, they are dedicated to the bit, so there's that.

Why isnt Lee Smith in the Hall of Fame?

The joke answer is that he left his house to get there three years ago and is due to arrive sometime in 2015. Get it? Because he moves so slowly? Nevermind.
 
The real answer is probably a combination of things. For one, closers don't generally get a lot of love from the BBWAA voters. Whether that is right or not is irrelevant at this point, because it is currently true. Secondly, HOF voters do like to see post-season success and Lee doesn't have any. He appeared in two postseasons, pitched poorly in both and his teams lost. So count that against him.
 
Thirdly, his career, while impressive, doesn't have a a real spike of true greatness.  He has one significantly good season in 1983 where he was worth 4.5 WAR, but nothing else higher than 3.0 (which is good, but not great). Over his 18 year career, he averaged about 1.6 WAR per year. Compare that to Bruce Sutter who had 3 seasons over 4.5 WAR (including 6.3 in 1977), and averaged over 2 WAR per season.
 
The flipside is that he does hold up pretty well against another Hall of Fame closer, Rollie Fingers, and he held the saves career record for 13 years. But I don't think he gets in for awhile, and he better hope he gets in before Mariano Rivera is due because no closer looks good when compared to Rivera.

How much does Starlin Castro make a year?

He's making $567,000 this year, up from $440,000 last year.

Better prospect, Anthony Rizzo or Brett Jackson?

Depends who you ask. Baseball America ranks Jackson at 32 and Rizzo at 47.  Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus feels even more strongly that Jackson is better, ranking him 44, but Rizzo all the way down at 75.
 
Meanwhile, Keith Law at ESPN has Rizzo ranked 36 while Jackson is barely edging out Javier Baez (95) at 89.  MLB.com basically is calling it a push as they have Rizzo at 35 and Jackson at 36.
 
Personally, I like Jackson better because he has a wider skill set and plays a premium position. If Rizzo doesn't hit, he's pretty much worthless over at first base.

What are marquee games and silver games?

Those are pricing tier designations that the Cubs began using when they realized not all games are created equal. Originally, the schedule was broken up by Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. However, as time has gone on, they have since added the Platinum level above the Gold and new last year, the Marquee level above the Platinum.
 
So now, a Saturday ticket against a rival may be in the Marquee level because that is the most valuable, but the Friday afternoon game may be Platinum because they realize it is still happening during working hours and it limits the population that can buy them.  
 
Additionally, the Cubs introduced a new system this year where the bleacher seats can sometimes be a different price level than the tickets in the "bowl." This is meant to address the disconnect between bleacher seat demand and demand for the tickets in the grandstand.

Is bunting ever worth it?

MO would emphatically tell you that it is not and then probably threaten to kill you and your family if you disagreed.  However, Brett over at Bleacher Nation had an interesting discussion on his site about Tony Campana bunting and whether his speed making a "sure out" into a potential hit changes the math.
 
One commenter, TC, did some quick math to suggest that maybe it would be worth it:
Did some quick back-of-the-napkin calculations on that Campana bunting question. The answer is….yea, it might actually make some sense to have him laying down sac bunts
Using the base-out Run Expectancies at Tango’s site, I calculated the weighted change in RE using 30% no out on bunt 70% out on bunt runners advance for any situation where I’ve seen a true sacrifice bunt:
 
0 outs:
1 on first: +.0303 RE
1 on 2nd: +.0782 RE
1st & 2nd: +.1739 RE(!)
 
1 out:
1 on 1st: -.0295 RE
1 on 2nd: -.0882 RE
1st & 2nd: -.0355 RE
 
So, yea, there’s a few occasions where this will make sense. The +.1739 RE for the 2 on no outs situation is shockingly high, and would be a great thing to introduce into the game strategy if those situations happened more than 1.5% of all plate appearances. (If Campana were to get 600 PA this year and bunted on every single runners on 1st and 2nd situation, it would likely lead to only an extra 1.56 runs…)
 
There are obviously about 1000 problems with the data presented here, but its an interesting surface-level look at the question.
Somebody please check to make sure MO doesn't swallow his tongue as he has his convulsions.
 

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I used to write lots of things about the Cubs. Now I sometimes write things about the Cubs.

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