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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  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.