Carlos Zambrano: Venezuelan Winter League Stats

Hey, so Carlos Zambrano is pitching in the Venezuela Winter Leagues, a place Quad-A guys and comeback hopers go to keep fresh and prepare to impress in Spring Training. Zambrano is, in truth, neither of those — Qaud-A or a comeback candidate.

Well, he's kind of, but not really a comeback candidate. Comeback guys are like Dmitri Young, who is out of baseball, without a contract, and hoping to catch on with some team. Zambrano is under contract. He will be with some team during the 2012 Spring Training unless he elects to retire.

Anyway, Big Z has tossed three games for the Caribes de Anzoategui and has thus far culled some impressive stats:

Pitcher   GS    IP   ERA   FIP
Zambrano   3  13.2  3.29  2.63

Note: I've calculated his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) myself, but the MLB does not have IBB data, so if there is an error there, it would only mean Z has pitched better than I have calculated.

So Zambrano's Winter League stats are good, close to great so far. Which is only right. He's facing vastly inferior competition. Also, according to MLB Trade Rumors, he's apparently working out like crazy:
"I'm preparing like when I was a rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach, and exercising hard so that I can arrive at Spring Training in optimal shape," he said, as relayed by Joiner Martinez at Líder en Deportes. "I want to stay in Chicago for the two seasons I still have with the team. I'm not a coward who would take the back door out of the majors."
Tack onto that, the Cubs may very well be in legit contention for the second NL Wild Card in 2012. The latest Oliver projections have the Cubs within reach of an 85-win season. I have been saying for a while that the Cubs need at least two years to rebuild into a winning team, but honestly, a few prudent acquisitions and they may be in the playoffs in 2012.

And that, frankly, is stunning. Maybe they acquire Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder? That would be another huge bump and frankly not a bad long term move either, because both are relatively young (Darvish moreso than Fielder). A bit more pitching depth, a big year for Zambrano (think: 3.50 FIP; great, but not amazing) and suddenly the Cubs look legitimate.

Get ready Cubs fans. The Big Zanta Clause is coming back to town, and he may be bringing presents.

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