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
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:
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.
Kevin Gregg, Aarron Miles, Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto
||League OPS at Position
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 numbers...you 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....
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
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!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
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.
Baez still learning
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.
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.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
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.
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.
#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
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as 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.
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#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)