Where is the Cubs Offense Going?
UPDATE: I added two new charts at the bottom in the appropriate bar format as requested.
The Cubs are about a month into the season, let's take a look at some of their offensive peripheral numbers to see who's likely to regress or progress.
The first chart is their strikeout percentage per plate appearance. Once you start getting over 25%, there's some worry, although you want to compare it to that players' career numbers as well. For Tyler Colvin, I use his career minor league numbers for all the charts.. The Derrek Lee numbers overlap, but it's 23.0% for his career and 23.2% for 2010.
Fontenot has really cutdown his strikeouts so far and it can't all just be contributed to almost exclusively seeing righties. For his career, he has a 16.7% K rate against righties, so the improvement is real...well at least for a month. Byrd, Fukudome and Baker have also showed measured improvement to this point with Aramis Ramirez just a complete mess.
I usually like guys in the 10% or over range and the Cubs just have 3 guys at the moment with Soto, Colvin and Fukudome with Soriano just missing at a surprising 9%. Fontenot, Theriot and Byrd have dropped off the most, but all enjoyed a good month, although Fontenot's power numbers are off. A look at the next chart will show that Theriot and Byrd are probably going to fall and fall hard if they don't find some patience.
Players usually hover in that .290-.330 range as the career line shows, although random spikes will happen within a season. They're not random enough though to hope that Theriot has any hope of sustaining his .350/.390/.400 line though, unless he starts taking some more walks. A .370 BABIP over a season can happen, although it's pretty rare and I would guess even more rare for someone with such a small walk percentage like Byrd has had so far this year. The good news is that Lee just looked like he had a bad month and Ramirez much the same, although Ramirez's elevated K totals are definitely worrisome.
To sum up, what I would expect for the rest of the year based off these numbers. The more arrows, the more I would expect for there to be improvement or regression.
Fontenot ↓ or ↔
Fukudome ↔ or ↓ (just because he always hits well in April)
By my new sophisticated up/down/sideways arrow computation (UDSA for short), you can add up the up and down arrows and expect the Cubs offense to produce about the same the rest of the year. It's the new UZR in advanced metrics.
Update: I added HR/FB% and iso slugging charts. The average for HR/FB% is around the 10-12% range, but power hitters bring that average up and the Ryan Theriot's of the world bring it down.
Those are 0% for Fontenot and Theriot. I'm not sure how relevant Marlon Byrd's career numbers are in this case and I can't guarantee the accuracy of Tyler Colvin's minor leage rate(Minor League Splits says he had a 42.1% FB rate in the minors which I multiplied by his AB's and then divided that number by his total home runs in the minors) . Fukudome and Soto should expect a drop unless the wind blows out all summer.
CORRECTION: I believe I should have subtracted K's from Colvin's AB's which makes it 9.6%.
Not so bad for Soto when you look at iso slugging, maybe some of those balls that don't end up home runs go as doubles instead. Fukudome, Byrd, Soriano and Colvin playing a bit over their heads, but Ramirez and Lee should pick up a lot of that slack...hopefully.
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)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.