A Quick Tour of the Cubs Offense....

Alfonso Soriano - still projected to hit 41 HR's on the season despite a .657 OPS in May. Also on pace to strikeout 184 times which would be a career high. Since his public flogging at the hands of the WWE, a .376 OPS with 19 K's and 0 HR's (hat tip to reader Romero for keeping an eye on that).

Ryan Theriot - .340 BA and .993 OPS at home (5 HR's will help that), .241 BA and .667 OPS on the road. Little Ryan Theriot gets homesick. .903 OPS with runners in scoring position has been a bright spot.

Milton Bradley - ever so slowly warming up, he's finally above Mendoza line  and his OPS is at .740 (just 40 pts behind Bobby Abreu for those keeping track at home). One of the few Cubs that could be considered to be doing well with runners in scoring position with 1.018 OPS although just a .269 BA in that situation, meaning he's doing more of keeping the rally going than bringing the runners home. Dusty Baker disapproves of this strategy.

Derrek Lee -  the death of this team, completely useless player that the Cubs should just drop... he just happened to have the best OPS for any of the regular Cubs in the month of May (.955).

Aramis Ramirez - Get well soon. Real soon.

Aaron Miles - The exact opposite....

Geovany Soto - GeoWalton as someone so affectionately labeled him in Parachat has all of 5 extra base hits this year. He had 29 at this point last year and 60 on the year.

Mike Fontenot  - Godenot or FonteNOT depending on your mood and his level of play is showing the power while playing out of position. The .497 OPS with RISP though is...um...not good.

Kosukue Fukudome - came back to Earth a bit in May with an .830 OPS but an incredible .406 BA and 1.208 OPS with runners in scoring position should keep him near the top or middle of the order for awhile.

Reed Johnson - He's still doing his job versus lefties with a .955 OPS against lefties (most of the damage coming the last week). Just hope Lou resists the urge to get him more at-bats versus righties.

Bobby Scales - your 15 minutes are just about up.

Micah Hoffpauir - He's doing pretty much what I expected from, which is a decent lefty power bat off the bench or as a fill-in. 

Jake Fox - Free Jake Fox! Free Jake Fox!

If there's a silver lining to the first two months, either most of the Cubs forgot how to hit or they've just been unlucky. The numbers suggest unlucky.

(BABIP numbers via Fangraphs)

Player BABIP
Soriano .278
Theriot .322
Lee .278
Bradley .244
Ramirez .370
Fontenot .250
Soto .274
Fukudome .359
Johnson .313
Hoffpauir .324

 

Not to get into too big of a batted ball type tangent, but Bradley and Fontenot are the two Cubs that probably expect major improvements in their numbers. We should also expect some improvements from Soto, Lee and Soriano with Fukudome and Ramirez giving back a little. For Bradley, he went from an absurdly high .390ish BABIP last year to an absurdly low .244 so far this year. Hopefully he can stay on the field long enough for that to correct itself.

I also want to mention Geovany Soto and his THT page. He's hitting line drives and ground balls at about the same rate, but his homerun per flyball rate is down to 2.7% from 13.4%. Some have suspected he got fat again, some think his shoulder is bothering him or maybe it's just the sophomore slump, but it does appear as the weather warms and the ball starts carrying a little more, hopefully the home run rate will follow.

 

 

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Comments

Bradley had a BABIP of .390 last year? WTH was Hendry thinking when he fed us this crap of Bradley maturing into an offensive force? A .390 BABIP means it's a fluke. Sure, he had a nice year, but even Jesus H. Christ couldn't put up back to back .390 BABIP seasons. And let me tell you, I knew Jesus H. Christ and Milton Bradley is no Jesus H. Christ.

I wonder what Bradley's numbers last year would have been if he had a lg. avg. or even his career avg. BABIP?

That means Hendry went out and signed two guys coming off career years, Bradley and Miles.

I thought I would take a look. This is pretty rough, but here is my methodology.

I looked at both a .300 BABIP and a .320 BABIP (.320 is his career average). I found out how many hits they would have with the lower BABIP, and what % that was of his actual hits last year. I then reduced each type of hit in play (1b, 2b, 3b) by that %.

Here is the slash line that I came up with:

.300 BABIP: .256/.365/.429 OPS: 795
.320 BABIP: .270/.376/.447 OPS: 823

It isn't perfect, as we obviously don't know what hits "luck" played a role in. The big difference for Bradley right now is that his LD% is much lower than last year (16.9% vs. 24.7%) and his GB% is higher (48.3% vs. 41.4%).

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: Just want to make it clear that I know that this assumes a lot, and in part assumes things that we can't really assume. But it does give us a very rough idea of what would happen if 25% and 20% of his balls in play ended up being outs instead of hits.

Nice work, I know there's no way to be 100% accurate, but that's still fascinating how far his numbers drop.

fwiw, his current career mark .323 BABIP with a career .823 OPS. I don't know what it was before the season started.

I was expecting something around a .900 OPS this year but certainly not the .999 OPS he put up last year.

I used Baseball-Reference's career BABIP of .320.

Little confused on your math. Why does his isolated OBP drop with a .300 BABIP and rise slightly with a .320 BABIP?

Sorry... made a couple of mistakes. First, I left off the HBP in the calculated OBP, and I also messed up the calculated SLUG with a typo in the excel formula.

Here are his new slash lines:
Actual numbers, with .390 BABIP: .321/.436/.563 OPS: .999
Estimated numbers, with a .320 BABIP: .270/.394/.495 OPS: .889
Estimated numbers, with a .300 BABIP: .256/.383/.478 OPS: .861

At this point, I'd take the bottom line, if he can get back into the lineup and get his 450 PA's.

I ran similar calculations but did it on this year's numbers:

Actual, with .239 BABIP: .220/.338/.390 OPS:.728
Estimated, with .300 BABIP: .266/.377/.446 OPS: .823
Estimated, with .320 BABIP: .281./.389/.465 OPS: .854

If Jesus H. Christ can't do it, maybe Jacob Q. Fox can. Bonus points for anyone who knows what the Q. stands for without looking it up.

Quetzalcoatl?

Quirin.

Or something close to that if I remember correctly. I remember seeing something like that name on his player page.

How many bonus points?

5,000,000 bonus points, redeemable at the Visa Rewards web site. That should get you a painted Obama quarter.

I've never heard of anyone named Quirin before. Is that a popular name among any particular region, religion, or ethnic group?

Quirin is German it looks like:

http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Quirin

"the death of this team, completely useless player that the Cubs should just drop"

Terrible comment. If you say this about Lee, you have to say this about Fontenot, Soto, Bradley, and Soriano. All of these guys have similar offenseive numbers. The only difference is Soriano has 12 HR's...but his 54K's, inability to take walks and steel bases, makes him useless. You can't move him since he is hitting .162 w/RISP...so if Lee is the death of the team, Soriano, Soto, and Bradley are right there with him.

Lee's offense has been miserable, but you can't get rid of him until you improve your defense up the middle. He makes Theriot, Miles, and Fontenot, better. I guarantee our pitching staff would not be happy to get rid of Lee without upgrading the defense elsewhere. Lee should not be in the 3 or 4 spot...that is correct, but to say he is useless is incorrect.

Terrible comment.

I am 100% sure that the comment was sarcastic.

Lee's offense has been miserable

No it hasn't... did you even read the rest of Rob's comment on Lee?

it was a joke...

Ryan Theriot is one of the few bright spots in the lineup so of course he gets needled while Uncle Milty gets props.

MB's OPS at Home .867
MB's OPS on Road .638

It looks to me that RT is better both at home AND on the road.

I think it should be noted that Theriot also leads the team in hits, doubles and stolen bases. He's second in homeruns, rbi's and total bases.

On the other hand, Unk was brought in AT GREAT FUCKING EXPENSE (including the bewildering dumping of Mark DeRosa) because he's supposedly a switch hitter. Except so far he can't hit right handed pitching. His splits:

as a RH hitter .313 .389 .500 .889
as a LH hitter .190 .327 .357 .684

As for Derrek Lee, here's a guy hitting in the middle of our order, often cleanup, who has 1 RBI in the last two weeks and that was a homerun.

ONE RBI $#%@!

As for Derrek Lee, here's a guy hitting in the middle of our order, often cleanup, who has 1 RBI in the last two weeks and that was a homerun.

Last two weeks, OBP:
Soriano: .192
Theriot: .319
Fukudome: .367

Combined OBP: .270

Its a bit rough when people in front of you are not on base.

Its pretty absured when you are complaining about a guy who has gone .314/.400/.457 over the last two weeks.

way to take something unnecessarily seriously...

but I'll go out on a limb and say Bradley outhits Theriot by the end of the year....

Yahtzee has to stay healthy first...

Thanks for the hat tip, Rob!

But...no analysis on Farney? WTF?!!

kind of forgot about Freel and Farney to be honest, really haven't played enough....

Rob...Farney does not like this.

I know...I'm going into witness protection with the Gatorade machine.

"still projected to hit 41 HR's on the season despite a .657 OPS in May"

now that's leadoff hitting!

god knows with aram out, dlee+soto power slumping, and milton semi-slumping we don't need a RBI guy. we need a sub-.300 ob% guy leading off trying to snag 80 RBIs to go with his 80 xbase hits.

maybe he'll steal 10 this year with his yearly bum leg.

Soriano hitting .162 with a .620 OPS in RISP, .186 with runners on and a .458 OPS.

now that's RBI production...

only Fontenot and Soto are hitting worse with RISP.

that doesn't help the case to bat him leadoff, imo.

besides that, aram is out...i'm not gonna pretend sori has some mysterious mental block or special plate approach that keeps him from batting anywhere but first. hell, he doesn't even get pitched at like a traditional leadoff hitter...they don't feed him steady fastballs as if he's a guy who hits them 150ft. at best.

he swings at everything and hits them hard. he not only has a homers/doubles bat, but he has a sac fly bat, too. it's all being wasted.

aram is out, the power is slumping...it's time to quit screwing around in that area, imo.

it doesn't help the case for him to bat anywhere....he should be batting 8th or not at all, but he's Soriano and plays through his slumps.

40hr, 40 doubles...yeah, bat him 8th...he'd probably get more RBI chances than 1st, though he'd lose an AB every game or 2.

i really don't think moving soriano down...especially with Aram out is anything close to radical thinking. it seems to be a blatantly sane option when you're missing your 2nd best power hitter and your best power hitter is hitting 1st and can't cover his ob%.

I thoroughly enjoyed this entry. Thanks TCR!

One thing, and I don't want to start a stat war, and I don't really care anyways, but a low BABIP doesn't always mean unlucky. A guy can be making weak contact and his average on balls in play might suffer because of that. It doesn't mean he's unlucky, it means he's making contact, but not hitting the ball very well.

Correct, but even the fringe players seem to have a similar BABIP to the stars, on average. So when you see a stat way out of the norm, not in the .290-.300 range, you know it's going to come back towards that number or it was a fluke year, either very lucky or unlucky.

certainly, and a guy with a high BABIP could be just crushing baseballs...

I'm not the type to believe this is all an absolute science, but I would be surprised, particularly by Fontenot and Bradley if they stayed in the .240 range all year. That's just way too low (even though they seem to be hitting a lot more groundballs and less line drives).

But hey, stranger things could happen. They might suck all year with Soto and Lee and Soriano may strike out 200 times.

Have to go ahead and point out the facts here. Yes, it's possible that a guy hits a lot of weak grounders and has a low BABIP, as a result. In practice though, that doesn't really happen. If you hit the ball you're going to hit it as squarely as you have in the past, which got you the opportunity to get to MLB in the first place.

Find a guy who has 600 PA's and a .240 BABIP and we'll talk. I know you'll want to bring in cause and effect, but it just doesn't happen. Konerko had a BABIP of .247 last year, lowest in the majors among qualified hitters. There's no cause and effect there, because the White Sox feel like they have to play him. This year his BABIP is .322.

You've got to be damned fucking slow, and a groundball/flyball but not HR magnate to have a BABIP that low for the entire season and neither Pepper Spray or Bradley fit that bill.

guess I should mention that my use of RISP was just to accentuate the Cubs offensive troubles, not to really make a point about their individual skills. While hitting with RISP is not much of a repeatable skill set, when a team or player can hit well in those circumstances, it certainly translates into runs.

Oh come on Rob, we know deep down you hate the Cubs and sleep in "I Love My Pujols" pajamas.

I do have 4 Cardinals on my fantasy team though including Pujols. I feel dirty.

Soriano, Riot, Fukudome, Lee, Bradley, Not, GeoWalton, Andy White, Wells

vs.

Johnson, Escobar, Jones, McCann, Anderson, Prado, Frenchie, G White, Kawakami

The Jerome Walton/Geo Soto connection has shaken me to my very core.

I think Lee has reverted to his old ways. Terrible April followed by pretty good May through the rest of the year.

Lee just tested my hypothesis

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