Name: Scott Baker
Position: Starting Pitcher
Role: Pretty much slotted in as #3 starter for the moment
Opening Day Age: 31
Uniform Number: He's only ever worn #30 for the Twins, but Travis Wood owns that one right now.
What was his best game in the Majors?
His best game probably came in 2007 when he took a perfect game into the 9th inning against the Royals on August 31st. He gave up a lead-off walk to John Buck to lose the perfecto and then gave up a one out single to Mike Sweeney to lose the no-hitter, but he ended the game by getting both future Cub, David DeJesus and former Cub, Mark Grudzielanek to end the game.
Is he hoping the Cubs have a good dental plan?
He might be. It looks like he has had some orthodontic work as recently as 2011.
Baseball-Reference.com's Most Similar Pitcher: Wade Miller
Why We Might Like Him:
- He actually throws strikes and doesn't walk many batters.
- He's a solid pitcher when healthy. Bill James projects an xFIP of 3.85 for this season.
- If he's healthy, he could improve on his career numbers a little just due to switching to the NL.
- He could be Maholm 2.0 and get traded at the deadline to help restock the farm system
Why We Might Hate Him:
- He is coming back from Tommy John surgery, so you never know for sure what you're going to get back, or when.
- The knock on him from early in his career was that he often left the ball up in the strike zone and gave up lots of homeruns. He was a bit better the last couple years, but then he got hurt.
- He's also been labeled a slow starter. The splits do show a difference between 1st half and 2nd half, though not a huge one.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "CRAB TEST OK" or "BAT CORK SET"
What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
Baker, a righty starter, is making his way back from Tommy John surgery, and was probably looking for a soft place to land, re-establish himself, and then hopefully sign a more lucrative contract in the near future. The Cubs, thankfully, can provide that opportunity. And if Baker succeeds by July, with the Cubs out of contention, he becomes a nicely flippable piece.
The big bodied righty (6″4″ 220 lbs) is familiar with the MLB and should be able to adjust quickly from his surgery. His mix included a fastball that wont blow anyone away at 88-92 MpH, but has a very decisive “jump” action as it draws in to the plate, thus making it very difficult to read. Sprinkle in his effective pounding of both sides of the zone, and his fast ball is a registered weapon at the major league level. Secondary pitches include a big curve, an average to + slider and a tricky fade-away changeup that is particularity vicious towards left handed hitters.
Personally, I really like the signing because it’s low risk. This is a regime that has expressed to fans that the rebuild is going to come primarily through the farm and supplemented with smart free agents that make sense for the long term plan. Baker accomplishes that.