The Derrek Lee Era
With Derrek Lee's departure to the South and front running Braves, the Cubs lost one of their finest players over the last 30 years. But just how fine was he?
I think we can agree that since 1980 (arbitrary cutoff by me, live with it) that Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are your top two Cubs depending on how much you want to dock Sosa for his alleged indiscretions. That leaves a quartet of Cubs vying for spots 3-7 among position players: Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.
Let's go to the HTML table:
WAR is Fangraphs all-encompassing stat, WARP is Baseball Prospectus version and after the slash is their average wins per season.
|Player||Years as Cub||WAR as Cub||WARP3 as Cub|
The Hall of Famer trails the pack clearly and I think you have to give Grace the number three spot thanks to longevity and his per season numbers are in the vicinity of Lee and Ramirez. Aramis still gets the rest of the year and most likely next to improve upon his numbers, but Derrek Lee did easily have one of the best Cubs' seasons of all-time in 2005.
I'd probably give the nod to Ramirez over Lee for fourth, based on nothing more than clutchiness or at least perceived clutchiness on my part. Ramirez did seem to be the guy to get all the big hits over the years while Lee seemed like the guy to ground into a double play at the worst of the times. I'm sure that's more perception than reality, but I'm damn glad both were around for nearly a decade. It didn't end well for Lee and the Cubs and us fans, but baseball marriages rarely do. A proper retrospective on Lee will need some time and the perspective gained with it, but I sure hope he goes down in the Cubs' history books as one of the best.
|CHC (7 yrs)||924||4021||3514||578||1046||239||10||179||574||51||22||448||721||.298||.378||.524||.903||128||1842||107||27||2||30|
179 HR's as a Cub ranks him 11th all-time, 574 RBI's is 29th, 578 Runs in 33rd and his .378 OBP is 9th.