The Cubs Offensive Offense

The Cubs struggles offensively are obviously no secret and it's been a team wide affliction that I don't even think a roll in the hay with Amy Winehouse could fix. I took a quick look at their OPS numbers since May 1st:

Lee .976
R. Johnson .906
Theriot .785
Soto .756
Bradley .747
Hoffpauir .682
Fontenot .678
Fukudome .670
Soriano .636
K. Hill .620

You could pick any arbitrary date and come up with equally appalling numbers such as:

Theriot hasn't taken a walk since June 9. For the month, he's 12-for-49
for a .245 batting average. His OBP for June is .296, and his slugging
is .327. He's walked twice and struck out 12 times this month. For the
season, Theriot has 18 walks and 39 strikeouts. Last year, he put up an
OBP of .387, walking 73 times and striking out 58. His isolated power
(slugging minus BA) of .147 is still way up from last year's .052. So
that's definitely a good thing.

There's also "Soriano Shame Watch", his numbers since he was embarrassed at a WWE event.

108 PA, 152/222/263 485 OPS, 15 H, 2 HR, 7 R, 5 2B, 31 K, 9 BB

So Soriano can get moved down, Lou can tinker with the lineup or just draw numbers from 1 through 9 to pick the day's lineup, but it's all just trying to put $100 lipstick on the ugliest fucking pig we've seen wearing blue pinstripes since 2006

- To say the least , Jim Hendry didnt't have a good offseason. After displaying the Midas Touch the previous two offseasons, pretty much signing and getting rid of all...okay most...of the right players, he's shown whatever is the exact opposite of the Midas Touch...shall we call it the "Number Two Touch"...where everything turns to shit? Jason Marquis goes from overpaid 5th starter to the league leader in wins with a decent ERA, Mark DeRosa has 12 HR's while the Cubs are a third and second basemen short, Michael Wuertz is striking out the AL as Milton Bradley is pretty much doing everything wrong, Kevin Gregg has been the very definition of mediocre and Aaron Miles is Neifi without the exclamation point.

But for all his past sins, he at least made the right decision on Angel Guzman. The über-prospect from the early part of the decade has had his injury issues to say the least and with the Cubs facing a roster and bullpen crunch, Hendry and Co. could have traded the righty. But Guzman's rewarded the organizations good faith in him with a 2.67 ERA to date along with 25 K's to 10 BB's even though he's a good bet to be one of the "tender" arms in the bullpen that Lou spoke of recently. 

Of course this is a trivial point as the team struggles at .500 and this is not meant to blow sunshine up Hendry's derriere just for the fun of it. Rather, to merely point out amidst this cloud of doom hanging over the city of Chicago that a few rays of sunshine are still poking through.

Comments

So you're saying that waking up next to Amy Winehouse in the morning would NOT make a player angry enough to start clobbering the ball? I dispute that notion. Also, Rob, did you change your RSS feed URL? The last headline on my google page is the Miles Fox Trot headline.

I am still getting the feed with new posts.

I'm saying there's not a nasty enough slumpbuster out there right now.

and no, RSS feed should be the same...

Speaking of karmic events, what's Marmol's K/BB ratio since he was seen on the town without his expecting bride?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n...

2.02 ERA, 13.1 IP, 13 BB, 12 K, .396 OPS against, 2-0 with 3 holds...

ugly 0.70 WPA along with all those walks...

I guess, didn't see, Joe Buck's show premiered last night on HBO and he made Magic Johnson look like Johnny Carson-

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/rich...

http://thebiglead.com/?p=14997

Hopefully he didn't read any of his father's bad poetry.

You know, as flat-out terrible as this poem is -- laughable, really -- it nevertheless does make me smile inside and, being across the pond, also very much nostalgic for a good summer time game. Thanks, Jack Buck.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_365.shtml

Then Lange showed up. His opening joke, “TMZ is your favorite website?
What’s your 2nd, suckingcock.com?” was terrific and hilarious, but Buck
was clearly not expecting it, and as was the case all night, he didn’t
take it well.

a few seconds later Lange says...."How about going to a sports website?"

of course, Joe Buck actually hates sports.

http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2008/07/joe-bu...

While I'm not a fan of the Howard Stern show, I fucking hate Joe Buck. He's a jackass announcer who expects people to respect him despite the fact that he hasn't done anything to earn it except be related to Jack Buck.

I'm glad Artie gave it to Joe Buck. He has it coming.

"Soriano Shame Watch"

This is good. This is good.

You forgot to mention the other uber good call besides Guzman - NOT getting Jake Peavy. At least this year.

Everything else Hendry touched, is, as you say, covered in shit.

Nobody can predict an injury like that. It's just a lucky thing the Cubs didn't get him, thus I wouldn't necessarily call it a "Hendry success story".

Peavy hurt himself in a game against the Cubs. If they'd gotten him earlier, that injury doesn't happen. Who knows how he'd have pitched for the Cubs.

Or he has the same injury in his first start of the year.

Imo, in this "snake-bit year", ROB G, nails it.

Somehow he'd have gotten hurt on the Cubs. No doubt in my mind.

Whoops - I mean TRN nails it...

If they'd gotten him earlier, that injury doesn't happen. Who knows how he'd have pitched for the Cubs.
---
or he could have been pitching for the WSux vs Z tonight if Reinsdufus had guaranteed the last year of the JP contract. Since Peavy won the opening game in SD, we might have had just an 0-3 instead of 0-6 road trip in StL/SD.

Fun with altered timelines

...oh oh, there is a bizarre rift in space and here comes the Enterprise B and bizarro Jim Hendry and the alternate timeline Cubs through it.

Not a big fan of OPS.

I know, it's probably a good and meaningful stat to measure a player's offense, but it's a derivative stat that doesn't really translate into anything.

Batting average is number of hits divided by number of ABs. Simple and clean. Most hitters who go 1-for-3 will raise their average. Similar concept for OBP.

ERA is average number of earned runs per 9 innings. Simple and clean. Same with BB or K per 9 innings. Most pitchers who pitch 6 innings and give up 2 runs will see their ERA go down.

What, exactly does OPS represent? Not the math -- what does it represent in terms of what a player does? How does one descibe OPS?

"How does one describe OPS?"

OPS tells you how valuable a player has been at the plate.

It's not really a derivative stat as much as a cumulative one, and obviously it has it's flaws, but if you want one stat to describe how well a player has been doing then OPS is probably the best one that doesn't take a week to figure out. It's the hitter's equivalent to ERA. Both don't tell the whole story, though.

you're kidding right?

OBP+SLG...both are driven by batting average sure, but 10 for 30 and a .300 BA doesn't tell me as much as knowing if they're getting on base or driving the ball...

I could use something fancier, but OPS is readily available and understood...well by most everyone not named billybucks.

geez, how often does Neal have a more dignified response than me? I feel bad now. apologies to billybucks for my snark....

You guys are making my point. Saying it's a great measure of offensive production doesn't answer the question.

I have yet to see a description of what it really represents, other than adding two stats together.

To me, OPS is like a QB rating in the NFL -- everyone knows what a good score is, but nobody can really describe it in simple terms.

OPS is On Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage.

Neal gave you the equation, in regards to your original question of what it represents, ability to get on-base (or not make outs) plus the ability to hit for power...the 2 most important and true abilities of a hitter.

This is one of the reasons why I often just avoid stats in general. There are people out there like Billybucks way smarter than me, and I just don't get it.

So if we look at total runs score by a team charted up against batting average you see very little correlation and I think that's why a lot of people just toss the batting average stat away. But you are totally right, it has a concrete meaning: percent of official at bats that guy gets a hit.

On the other hand if you plot team OPS up against number of runs scored you see very strong correlation.

So I could be wrong (as I often am), but I think the numbers support OPS as a better indicator of run-generating ability. To answer your question "how does one describe OPS?" I would say this: getting on base and driving the ball.

A chart I created a couple years ago... it shows OPS v. runs scored over the period of 3 or 4 years.

Click Here

Which is the reason it's use has become widespread so quickly. Rob G may know off the top of his head, but there's some better ratio (.8 X SLG + 1.1 X OBP or something like that) that even more accurately forecasts a teams' offensive output.

If that is correct it is surprising to me that OBP is weighted more heavily than SLG. I would have expected it to be the other way around. Learn something new everyday.

Don't have a copy on me, but that's one of the things they mentioned in "Moneyball". The single worst thing you can do as a batter is make an out (or really, 3 outs), but remember the 2004 Cubs if you need a point of reference for SLG vs OBP's relative merits.

in response to Neal and Ryno

THT came up with GPA

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossa...

1.8*OBP+SLG/4 (the divide four I guess put into a BA equivelant number for people to understand)

All the cool kids are using wOBA now which you can find at fangraphs and translates like GPA into a number that looks a lot like a batting average...I think it uses 1.7*OBP+SLG essentially

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/com...

BP's EQA is pretty good, "A measure of total offensive value per out..."

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.p...

The Cubs are a little down this page

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/eqa20...

that works too, they use 1.5*OBP essentially along with counting SB and CS if I read that correctly. Curious that all the 3 outlets have slightly different multipliers, although I'm way too lazy to bother figuring out why. Considering BP has their own baserunning metric that goes beyond SB's, shouldn't they incorporate that?

I'd use BP more if their website and leaderboards didn't suck so bad to try to navigate and load. Amazing that THT and Fangraphs at probably 1/10th of the revenue can design more accessible websites...but I digress.

When I get home I'm going to scatter plot wOPA against runs scored to see if anything fun happens. I'm just a scatological geek like that.

Yeah, 100% agree on BP's website, pretty much hate it.

This headline reminds me of the NFL Fever commercial where Peyton Manning is playing Madden on Xbox Live with some kid and he says "You're defense is offensive." I still laugh about that. He's obviously in way too many commercials, but that's one of my favorites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1_czp59tZs

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 8 hours 12 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 9 hours 28 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 10 hours 11 min 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 10 hours 12 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 10 hours 13 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 10 hours 17 min 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 10 hours 17 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 10 hours 45 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 11 hours 49 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 12 hours 55 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 13 hours 44 min 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 18 hours 14 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    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. 1 day 9 hours 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. 1 day 9 hours ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 9 hours 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 9 hours ago view