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.


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?

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-

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.

Then Lange showed up. His opening joke, “TMZ is your favorite website?
What’s your 2nd,” 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.

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

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

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

The Cubs are a little down this page

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.

Recent comments

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  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.