Cubs Lineup Waste

(awesome illustration from Tim Souers of Cubby Blue, click on the image for the full-size)

More after the jump...

A few days ago I put up a poll on some of the lineup atrocities over the years, which Neifi ran away with at 73% of the vote, but this continued mess of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hitting ahead of Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto finished a distant second at 11% (with Soriano hitting leadoff finishing just behind at 10%). Anyway, how about contextualizing the current atrocity in numbers thanks to Baseball Prospectus (ROB is Runners on Base).

Player PA ROB
Ramirez 141 104
Lee 154 103
Byrd 143 97
Theriot 155 85
Soriano 121 67
Fukudome 117 63
Soto 107 62
Fontenot 85 53
Colvin 59 52
Baker 57 46
Nady 52 42

As you can see, the two guys struggling the most have had the most opportunities to drive in runs thanks to batting in the middle of the order.  On top of that, thanks to their struggles, there isn't anyone on-base for Soriano while he is hitting. It's a double whammy of lineup stupidity. Just to compare, Chris Young of Arizona and Raul Ibanez of Philly are two other NL #6 hitters with a similar number of at-bats and Young has had 95 ROB in a 144 PA and Ibanez has had 90 ROB in a 130 PA.

Now let's add a column of OBI% or Others Batted In. When we talk about a guy being a run producer, this is where they should be excelling at, driving in the other guys on base in front of them (16-17% is the average). Granted, it's a number that fluctuates quite a bit from year-to-year, but you gotta take advantage of the hot hitters.

Player PA ROB OBI%
Ramirez 141 104 11.5%
Lee 154 103 11.7%
Byrd 143 97 18.6%
Theriot 155 85 14.1%
Soriano 121 67 19.4%
Fukudome 117 63 20.6%
Soto 107 62 9.7%
Fontenot 85 53 20.8%
Colvin 59 52 9.6%
Baker 57 46 2.2%
Nady 52 42 11.9%

I wouldn't worry about Soto much, he just gets walked whenever someone is on-base so they can face the pitchers, but while Lee and Ramirez struggle, Soriano is basically just being back to a leadoff man in the middle of the order. Maybe that was Lou's plan all along.

Today, nothing changes with Theriot, Byrd, Lee, Nady, Ramirez, Soriano, Soto, Castro and Gorzelanny set to battle the Pirates lefty Brian Burres.


Hahah... very funny.

Nice one. Still waiting for my coffee table book.

Rob, wrong 'there' there, 2nd sentence after the ROB list.

Down 3-0 already. Great.

Pre-Ricketts: Cubs beat Pirates.

"Year One": Still looking for an inferior team -- no luck so far, despite playing the Pirates, Reds, Astros and Marlins.

Damn... Ramirez can't catch a break. He finally gets a big hit, and it sticks in the vines and he doesn't get an RBI.

Woo... and Soriano gets lucky with a bloop single, and we have a tie game. Over/under for total runs in this game? 15?

Life is more fun when Lee and ARam don't make outs.

It just sunk in for me that 5 guys in the Cubs lineup are hitting over 300, yet they are 15-20.

R. Theriot 2b .324
M. Byrd cf .346
A. Soriano lf .333
G. Soto c .310
S. Castro ss .364

and none of them are in the 3-4-5 spot today.

at least our main RBI men are in the #2 and #6 slots...wait.

I can kinda understand lee and aram in and around 3-4-5 but there is now way to defend Nada batting 4th every time he plays. Not with Byrd, Sori tearing the yard up now.

Maybe Lou is a big believer in regression to the mean? Err... progression to the mean?

i don't think it's a tragedy, but i'm a little sick of watching soriano waste RBI slot hits.

byrd at least gets to hit 4th/5th occasionally...

aram should be where sori is in the lineup until his bat "wakes up"

byrd and soriano are the power...and they're hitting..

be nice to see soto move up a little, too.

...and byrd hits another homer...

Marlon Byrd is the tits.

Well this is what happens when a player goes into a slump and you start jockeying the lineup all around. By time you figure out the player is back on track, you have pretty much wasted a ton of good RBI chances in the middle of the lineup.

This is knee jerk managing that the fans want.

we're a month and 1/2 into the season.

aram has almost 140 PAs with very constant suck...that's almost 1/4th of a season.

nady hitting 4th/5th so often when he plays i don't get at all...

dlee in the 3 slot i can buy because he's at least seeing the ball with occasional flashes of constancy.


Correction - What you described might be what happens with Lou. Most of us have been calling for moving ARam out of that slot for at least a week... I agree that by the time Lou does it, Aram may be heating up...

XAVIER NADA IS BATTING 4TH on a $ 140 million team!!!

Saltalamacchia has the Mackey Sassers

Is Hill hurt? I think he has a better chance of throwing these speedy Pirates out, but it looks like he is in the Lou dug-house.

Is Hill hurt?

No... he just sucks. And Soto is good.

And FWIW, Hill has a career 33% CS%, compared to Soto's 27%. Which basically means that Hill would throw out a handful of extra baserunners out a year.

His win % can't be ignored!!!

Thanks Big for proving my point. We could use those handful of extra outs today.

That is a couple of extra base runners a year, not a day.

you're ignoring the 3+mph hill adds to a pitcher's fastball, too, fwiw.

WTF Grabow!!!

"cortisone" shot, eh? hmmm...


wtf...4 hits in a row vs. Z...pain.

so long how will it take to get stretched out to start again?

5 hits in a row and according to len he's yet to throw a ball above 90mph.

Z has figured out how to get back In The rotation... By sucking in the 8th inning

Of course, I mean the rotation in Des Moines

At work, keep us updated to what happens when Lou pulls Z.

I'm guessing some jawing.

41 hits in 26 innings for Z, make that Peoria's rotation

Question for Lou in post game-

"Lou when do you expect Xavier Nady to snap out of it and be that .270ish 10 hr guy that we know that he is?"

today could be the day - tick, tick, tick...

the illustration & caption are excellent, btw...

Did he ph Fuku for colvin??

Colvin PH for Nady... why he didn't just start for Nady is the question.

I think he was put in for defensive replacement for nady and when his first time to bat, fuku ph for him.

Anyone else find that bizarre?

Colvin got an at-bat in the 9th and looked silly K'ing

did z get the latroy treatment?

it'll be funny when we're feeding the Pirates playoff run later this year

maybe they'll take Aramis back

Well played.

Going back to last year, we have lost 6 in a row to the PIRATES, first time we have done that since 1992....which was also the last year the Pirates were actually good, the tail-end of the Bonds/Drabek/Van Slyke era.

What does that tell you?

That we suck donkey balls?

On the positive side, I have Garrett Jones on my fantasy team.

On the negative side, I have Big Z on my fantasy team.

Amazingly, only 5 1/2 games out.

4th in the league in AVG, 7th in total runs.

I guess I could be just insane, but I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel yet.

I do get the lineup complaints, though.

Maybe Sam Fuld will give up his playing career and manage this team. He's quite the stats hound, I've read.

Anybody else notice that Gorzo was really busting it in their today? Or was the WGN radar gun just hot? They had him at 96 mph on at least one pitch and routinely hitting 92.

Busted it in flat.


Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).