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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  • I'm kind of nostalgic for the Schwarber-for-Miller rumors.

    Brick 3 min 30 sec ago view
  • This offseason, after some ridiculous playoff run and Chapman saving every game from here until the end of the postseason striking out 27/9innings, I welcome anyone to quote this thread and call me a dummy: I hate this trade, and my hate is 2 parts Chapman makes this team less likeable and 1 part that's a ridiculous overpay for 30 regular season innings and, at tops, 10 postseason innings. Already hoping they don't extend him.

    Charlie 5 min 19 sec ago view
  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 27 min 38 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 28 min 6 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 36 min 55 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 57 min 5 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 19 min ago view