Submit, Reader! A look at Cubs Pitcher Comparisons

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By Lawhide

Being bored recently, I decided to work on some statistical tomfoolery: I decided to find out who was the ABP for each Cubs pitcher in the majors. What’s an ABP? I took the OBP- and SLG-against for each pitcher and tried to find the most comparable 2007 MLB hitter. For instance, batters hitting against Will Ohman in 2007 hit a line of .355 OBP and .436 SLG (an OPS-against of .791). Luis Gonzalez (the old one) hit .359/.433/.792 this year, making him Will Ohman’s Average Batting Partner, or ABP.

Keep in mind that there’s not really any useful statistical information in an exercise like this, it’s purely for fun (at least, fun for those of us who are into the numbers side of things). That being said, here are your 2007 Cubs Pitcher ABPs.

CUB Carlos Zambrano .329 .372 .701
ABP Nomar Garciaparra .328 .371 .699

There was a time where having Nomar as your ABP would make you a candidate for highest SLG-against in the league, but 2007 saw the man who slugged over .500 seven times in the last ten years hit only 7 home runs. Previously, Nomar’s lowest SLG was in his injury shortened stint with the Cubs in 2005 (aka “Groingate”) where he still slugged for a respectable .452

Nomar’s batting average this year was .283, while Big Z’s BA-against was .233, a full fifty points lower. However, I decided against including batting average in this exercise because I’m a scout-hating, Harvard-graduating*, Billy Beane-worshipping pencil-neck geek (sarcasm fully intended).

CUB Ted Lilly .286 .406 .692
ABP Danny Richar .289 .406 .695

Danny Richar only had 206 PAs for the crosstown White Sox in 2007, his rookie year. With Tad Iguchi gone, he appears to be leading in the running for the starting 2B job, as his minor league numbers project improvement on his first taste of the majors, but he doesn’t project into anything special. If Ted Lilly’s making the average batter look like a middling rookie middle infielder, I’ll take it.

CUB Jason Marquis .335 .409 .744
CUB Angel Guzman .339 .409 .748
ABP Kaz Matsui .342 .405 .747

Marquis and DL-mainstay Guzman share almost-Cub Kazuo Matsui as their ABP, This is a good example of how useless this exercise really is, since the two pitchers have really nothing else in common in terms of pitching style and pitching stats. But its good to know that Matsui is going to be around our division next year to help Marquis keep up his trend of lots of groundballs and too many walks.

CUB Rich Hill .305 .394 .699
ABP Richie Sexson .295 .399 .694

Like Nomar, Richie Sexson’s power disappeared off the face of the earth in 2007, the only season EVER where he slugged under .500. But as they say, one Richie’s dregs are another Rich’s riches… or something like that**. Sexson also hit for an average of .205, thirty points below what Rich Hill’s opponents hit.

CUB Sean Marshall .326 .424 .750
ABP Jason Bay .327 .418 .745

Notice a trend? Well, it’s just coincidence, but Bay, like Nomar and Sexson above, lost his bang in 2007 after slugging well over .500 in every season before. Just as notable, his OBP dropped into average territory, below .400 for only the second time in his career (.358 in 2004). However, this is largely a product of his .247 batting average. Bay was an average hitter this year, and Sean Marshall was a comparable average pitcher. I think Jim Hendry should use this information and make an even swap with the Bucs (oh right, Littlefield works for us now. Damn).

Here’s the rest of the gang:

CUB Bob Howry .292 .377 .669
ABP Jay Payton .292 .376 .668
CUB Michael Wuertz .320 .392 .712
ABP Elijah Dukes .318 .391 .709

I’m a big Wuertz fan, so I was sorry to see his ABP be Dukes. He shouldn’t be anyone’s partner in anything.

CUB Carlos Marmol .282 .226 .508
ABP Andy Gonzalez .280 .249 .529

No, I hadn’t heard of him either. He plays for the White Sox. Marmol’s ABP was tough because there aren’t that many players who have an OBP that low, and a SLG even lower, and who don’t end up as car salesmen.

CUB Ryan Dempster .323 .394 .717
ABP Melky Cabrera .327 .391 .718
CUB Scott Eyre .399 .433 .832
ABP Ichiro! .396 .431 .827
CUB Kerry Wood .310 .299 .609
ABP Robert Fick .309 .305 .614

I didn’t bother to find the ABPs for the Cubs pitchers who faced less than 100 batters. Except for one:

CUB Steve Trachsel .416 .647 1.063
ABP Alex Rodriguez .422 .645 1.067

Hey, to be fair to Trax, ARod hit .368 this year, and Trachsel held hitters to a Mendoza-esque .314 during his brief stay at Wrigley.

Oh, whoops. Scratch that and reverse it.


*Lawhide did not actually go to Harvard.
**Lawhide hears your groans and apologizes.