The Cubs 2009 MVP and LVP Analysis

This is probably no more than a formality for 2009, but might as well go through the motions. Last year our wonderful readers voted Geovany Soto as the Cubs 2008 MVP, so let's see who we come up with this year (attempts to build suspense). You can vote in the post above, leave comments on this post though.

Your offensive candidates:

Derrek Lee and...(shuffles papers, clicks on Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus)...I got nothing. Let's put Koyie Hill just for laughs and because he saved this season according to Hendry.

WAR Team Record when starting OPS
OPS+ League OPS @ Position
Lee 5.2 5.2 73-68 .972 147 858 35 111 91
Hill 1.8 0.3 42-27 .636 65 710 2 26 24

For what it's worth, Lee led the Cubs in home runs, RBI's, runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging (for qualified hitters) and was second in doubles (to Fukudome) and hits (to Theriot). Koyie Hill has a mangled hand, caught 29 straight games and threw out 40% of would be basestealers.

Let's throw in some pitchers for fun:

IP K/9
Dempster 3.3 3.7 3.64 11-9 200 7.74 2.65 3.86
Lilly 4.6 3.7 3.10 12-9 177 7.68 4.19 4.08
Zambrano  3.4 3.6 3.77 9-7 169.1 8.08 1.95 4.28
Wells 4.7 3.0 3.05 12-10 165.1 5.66 2.26 4.28

The team MVP is pretty obvious, but the teams' pitcher of the year is a little more open to the discussion. I'm not even including Zambrano in the poll. I think it comes down to the Ted Lilly or Randy Wells, although if Ryan Dempster isn't dealing with his family problems, I would venture a solid guess that he would have had the best season.  But let's deal in reality instead of theory. 12 innings more for Lilly isn't much of a difference, the W-L records are about the same and the ERA's are pretty much the same. Wells stepped up big and cost a lot less than Lilly, so to put the value in valuable, I'll give Wells the nod.

LVP Candidates

Kevin Gregg, Aarron Miles, Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto

League OPS at Position
Miles -1.1 -1.3 .466 21  .743 170 0 5 17
Bradley 2.6 1.1 .775 101  .781 473 12 40 61
Soriano  1.1 -0.8 .726 85 .782 522 20 55 64
Fontenot  0.5 0.5 .677 74  .743 419  9 43 38
Soto  1.8 1.3 .702 81  .710 389 11 47 27


and Kevin Gregg...

5-6, 4.72 ERA, 23 S, 7 BS (1 after he was removed from closing duties), 13 HR, 68.2 IP, -0.3 WAR, 1.2 WARP-1,  -0.78 WPA, 

That looks like a three horse race to me between Miles, Soriano and Kevin Gregg. Bradley underperforming jack-ass and all, still put up league average numbers at his position. Man, this is tough...I got good reasons to vote for anyone of those three.

Soriano - when you get paid like a superstar, you just can't put up sub-replacement level just can't do it. Throw in his scatter-brain defense (11 incredible errors in LF), and refusal to be up front about his injury and then remember he has 5 years left on his deal. How does that make you feel about the Cubs future?

Gregg -  If you looked at his numbers on July 30th, you'd come away impressed...3.35 ERA and just 3 blown saves. But his August was one for the history books, blew a Marlins game that the Cubs came back and won, then blew another one in Florida, took the loss in extra innings against Philly and then giving up 4 runs in a 1-0 game at San Diego.

Miles - I can't tell you how impressed I am that he accumulated a negative WARP-1 and WAR value in 170 PA's. He has surpassed Neifi! in TCR folklore as the representation of everything that is wrong with the Cubs.

And I still can't decide...but I think I'm going Soriano. As the second highest paid player on the team(he'll be first going forward for the next 5 years, wrap your head around that), the expectations are rightfully high. He disappointed like no other, driving in just 12.7% of the runners on base in front of him, and more interested in playing it up with the fans, then working on his defense. If the knee was the problem, that's fine, hope he heals up well, but he did his team a huge disservice trying to play through it instead of taking a DL stint. If it wasn't the knee, the Cubs are gonna be the proud owners of the worst contract in baseball.

Comment below, vote on the post above....


via Rotoworld...

Charlie Manuel is hoping to bring in a new backup infielder in the offseason.
Not good news for Eric Bruntlett. "I want something similar to who
[Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley] are and someone that can probably
contribute something similar to that," said Manuel.

being Rotoworld, they probably butchered the quote and I can't get the link to work, but I'm guessing infielders that can contribute like Rollins and Utley aren't gonna be back-ups.

soriano was a flaming POS this year.

he doesn't change..he doesn't listen to coaches..but he waves to the OF bleachers and smiles a lot. i'd like to have a beer with that guy!

well, flaming POS is harsh, but his "swing hard at the front of the box" days seem be catching up to his body/skill decline. he's still got his power swing, but he was late on so much stuff in the box. out in the field his casual play is getting embarrassing.

Not trying to defend Soriano, but it seems pretty clear that he wasn't 100 percent physically. I don't think we can expect more than his '07-'08 seasons at this point, but I think he'll be better next year than he was this year.

alas, I was trying to figure out why Z was so much closer in WAR then WARP1..

me guesses WARP1 doesn't account for pitcher hitting?

Chris De Luca at the Sun-Times claims the Cubs and Rays are trying to work out a Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell deal.,CST-...

Levine mentioned the same thing yesterday in the post I had about arbitration, think I mentioned it at the bottom of it. De Luca says the Cubs are pushing the Rays for a "quick resolution."

Burrell, 32, is officially owed $9 million next season, though $2
million of his salary was paid in advance. Bradley is owed $9 million
next season and $12 million in 2011. So the Cubs could repay the Rays
some of the $2 million advanced to Burrell and pay some or all of the
2011 Bradley salary to get off the hook relatively cheaply.

mentions something about putting Burrell in RF (bwahahahaha)


I suppose he could sit with the visitors' bullpen.

'De Luca says the Cubs are pushing the Rays for a "quick resolution."'

I thought the Cubs respected the don't upstage the post season rule, or was that just McPhail?

they can announce it on Nov 1st if they want...

That's great.

I had wanted them to sign Burrell on a one-year deal anyway.

Isn't he an old Jake Fox? With similar defensive "prowess"?

Actually - I have said this before here several times - Jake is Matt Stairs II.

Dave Kaplan has a chat with Bill James on his blog. Unfortunately, I can't get the mp3 file to open. If anyone else any luck, could you let us know if it's worth listening to?

Here's the link:

Well, Bill James said one thing that won't be popular here at all. He said that clubhouse chemistry is hugely important. And one guy (e.g. TheRealNeal) can really screw things up.

He also said

--balanced skills are more important than the ability to do one thing well (see Alfonso Soriano..except this year he could do nothing well).

--wasting an out to move a runner to 2B is ill-advised unless the pitcher is batting
--not making outs most important
--RBI not very important, too related to opportunities
--BA with RISP...not predictive of what a player will do in the future
--OBP very import
--SLG very import
--ERA very import
--OPS..he doesn't use it but it's useful
--BA can be useful

--Wins by a pitcher IS a VERY reliable stat over a period of years (not in a single year)

On Carlos Zambrano, "Is he an ace..I don't know, but if you don't want him I'll take him"

On Milton Bradley, "outstanding player when he keeps his head in the game"

Thanks, Navigator and Rob G!

Very clever, Navigator.

OK, I fess up. I am the Milton Bradley of TCR, and you are the Neifi Perez. The really perplexing question is why you haven't retired.

aaron miles is the new neifi!

what does bill james know about clubhouse chemistry?

unlike some of his peers, he's never worked in one on a regular basis.

you ask any player if it's important and most will say "yes" fwiw. it's actual impact, though...meh...

wins by a pitcher over a period of years makes aaron sele awesome, too.

You've never been in the Cubs' clubhouse, but that doesn't stop you from commenting on it.

You are correct, though, about what players will say. Every one I've talked to said it's important but that winning breeds chemistry, not the other way around. The good chemistry aspect seems to come into play when dealing with adversity. The Cubs had plenty of that this year and didn't seem to deal with it all that well.

starts off interview referencing the Theo interview that Dave linked to earlier where he says the Red Sox don't look at RBI's at all when valuing players and then goes into how RBI's are a function of opportunities and not making outs is the most important thing they look at...

then talks about hitting with RISP and yes, it makes a big deal within the course of the season, but it has very little predictive significance...

it goes to touch on other hitters, balanced players over guys with just one great skill, clubhouse presence being important, takes some questions, sac bunts, Kaplan then runs through a bunch of stats and asks how James values them, Kaplan goes off on Z and especially his contract, James defends Z a little, etc...

so yeah, nothing new, but relevant to the recent Milton/Soriano discussions...

fwiw, James prefaced his clubhouse presence rant with, well I'm never in the clubhouse, his general feeling was that if any co-worker makes your job more difficult, it's most likely a problem and the Red Sox (not himself) definitely take it into account.

Once again I am a little confused how Bradley made the other player's jobs more difficult. Can someone elaborate on that? We have players on the team that performed well over expectations - how is that possible with Bradley in the clubhouse? And of course, if creating a negative environment can affect a player's play, why do people boo players on their own teams?

you're right trn....It's the fans' fault. Just like it was in Montreal..Cleveland...LA....San Diego..Oakland...Texas...

So when those GM's and managers say they would like to have Bradley back they're just lying to prove my point? It's probably because we're such close personal friends.

well I agree with what you're saying about the booing, but there are certainly people I've run into in my jobs that I don't get along with and don't make work a fun place or make it more difficult to get work done. You have to overcome it of course, but doesn't mean I want them around. I doubt any Cubs player is going to point to Bradley for their disappointing season, and if they do blame Bradley, they should be shot on site, but I'm sure they're glad they don't have to deal with him.

Obviously if the Cubs did better and Milton did better, half the shit that went down doesn't happen.

oh...well that makes more sense...

rsox take it into account? is that year 1 or year 3 they wanted to get rid of manny? hehe...

they also had trot nixon and julio lugo on their team. did i miss something?

maybe manny/lugo/nixon (well, nixon wasn't their fault, he was drafted) taught them something.

manny was signed by dan duquette and yeah, didn't they try to get rid of him like every year?

but obviously you have to balance winning, the player's output and their attitude, I don't think Bill even remotely insinuated it was the only factor. A matter of fact, he just gave a very general workplace example and just said it's not something the Red Sox completely ignore from his let's say RBI's.

Forget Burrell and just sign Johnny Gomes.

Forget them both and play Jake Fox and Michah Hoffpauir.

I'm for that even if we dump MB for Burrell. One of those three is likely to be hot. Fox has to stay as backup 1b-3b at the least in case of catastrophy at those positions. Can we then get Chone Figgins to play 2B? And can he spell Theriot at SS for 15 games so we don't need Blanco?

Reed is gone if we have Burrell, Fox, and Hoffpauir, yes? I wouldn't spend money on Reed's slot with the cheaper choices at hand. Fontenot can go to the minors? That would help. Miles has to go. Tampa have any use for him along with Bradley, and throw in Cotts too? Iwamura back to the Cubs? That's a complete stretch. They have to eat Miles.

Soto/Hill, Lee, Figgins, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Burrell, Fox, Hoffpauir, Baker, Johnson or Fuld or Blanco and we've already run out of slots? Who goes, I could see a case for all fo them staying somehow.

Looks like the bullpen will get younger. Grabow would be nice, Cotts not so much. Not gonna be much of a first offseason to the new owner. Ramirez and Soriano healthy and back all year would be huge enough for 2010 I believe.

I could go along with Burrell, but I don't see Figgins coming anywhere near the Cubs in FA

Cole Hamels leaves the park after being lifted from the game...wife gave birth during the game I believe.

I think DeRosa's wife is due at any moment as well, if I heard that correctly from Vin last night on the radio.

speaking of DeRosa, other than soul-crushing errors and a double play, he's hit the crap out of the ball in the last 3 playoffs.

Yeah - he "hit crap" alright, to end any chance of the Cubs winning a Playoff game against the DBacks.

A nice 6-4-3 DP with the bags juiced.

I was there and you could hear a pin drop.

He is a very nice player. I was disgusted that Hendry traded him.

But "clutch" in the Playoffs is not his strong suit.

Even in Atlanta - same thing.

Matt Holliday!!!!

Bah. We former St. Louis residents are not pleased.

Memories of Brant Brown, only worse...

soul-crushing errors
DeRosa gives Matt Holliday a tag-your-it high five.

man. even though i am not a big Dodgers fan, how sweet it would be for the Ned-Flanderish, Cardinal Nation to have a huge turd placed on their collective head. it is goin to be tall odds to win three straight. Wheeee!

btw - joe torre's scouts know what they're doing

Maybe Lou can manage for Torre the next three games, if the Cardinals want to win three straight.

Dave Kaplan on comcast sportsnite talked about how a source of his in
Minnesota (damn he has a source in every city) told him the twins wanted
to trade for Harden and Gregg but Hendry said he didnt want to wave
white flag on Aug. 30th.

To bad Kaplins source did not tell him who the Twins were offering.

My question is are you really waving the white flag by trading Harden
and Gregg. I would think addition by subtraction would have worked here.

kind of afraid that might have been the case...

on a related note, Fire Jim Hendry.

that goes against reports from hendry that there was never any serious offer. don't recall hearing about anyone claiming gregg...weird.

there were clippings that other Cubs were claimed but they didn't know the names, it's more likely that Gregg just made it through waivers...

oh yeah...forgot about the "just sliding through waivers" thing.

Paul Sullivan

Soriano's lack of concentration in the field is definitely a problem. He committed 11 errors this year, while no other left-fielder with 100 or more games there made more than five. But I don't think it's a problem of him not working hard enough. He just takes bad routes, plays the wall and corners poorly, and seems afraid of injuring himself making a diving catch.

He should hire an editor, so someone could point out to him that you don't get errors for doing any of those things.

Well, bad routes and fear of the wall/corners can result in errors if they contribute to getting into bad position or not concentrating on the ball. But most of the errors I've seen out of Soriano don't seem to have much to do with the wall, and often he seems to get to the spot in plenty of time. How does one explain those errors?

Add those to his poor range (bad routes and fear of diving--or poor first steps and poor last steps) and his difficulties with the walls and corners, and you've got some defensive problems. His arm makes up for some of them, I think. I don't know how it is that in the past he's been evaluated as good by defensive metrics... I just don't have insight into the stat, I think.

Where'd your idea of 'poor range' come from? Go back and watch some games from 2007-2008 when his legs weren't bothering him, he had excellent range coming in on balls and on ones hit to his left.

People have a tendency to fixate on watching him struggle with a ball hit over his head and conclude that he takes bad routes to all balls. It's just not true.

Okay. Mediocre range? His range looks impressive when he's got a high fly ball that gives him time to get into his stride. But he's not as quick as I would've thought based on his past stolen base numbers, and he's definitely not a good finisher. Obviously I'm not making a quantitative statement here.

According to Win Probability Added- which is probably my favorite way of determining an MVP:

Lee had 3.48 which lead the team.
Fountainout came in at -2.27

For pitchers it was Lilly leading with a 2.64 (unmentioned Guzman came in 3rd with 2.16) and Heilman was last with a -.84

Recent comments

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  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 27 min 45 sec ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 28 min 34 sec ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 29 min 55 sec ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 33 min 18 sec ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 33 min 41 sec ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 1 hour 1 min ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 3 hours 11 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 4 hours 26 sec ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 30 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 23 hours 41 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 23 hours 46 min ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 23 hours 52 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 day 3 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 1 day 14 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 1 day 40 min ago view