The Cubs 2008 MVP

Be sure to vote on the poll below...

Now that the Dodgers have been rightfully ousted and played like the team I expected them to play like (bad defense, no one hitting besides Manny, overrated starting pitching), I can go about acknowledging baseball again. I know, sounds like a bunch of sour grapes and I don't really care. The Dodgers weren't a good team, the Cubs just beat themselves and I have always had a healthy distaste for the Dodgers and their fans.

Before I start looking forward to 2009 later in the week, let's take a look at 2008 and revisit the Cubs MVP talk. Bold indicates team leader...

League OPS @ Position
Soto 7.0 .868 715 23 86 66
DeRosa 8.0
.857 746 for 2b/788 for RF 21 87 103
Ramirez 6.6 .898 776 27 111 97

There is a write-in option in the poll as well, so you may want to also consider the following. Soriano led the team in HR's with 29 and Theriot lead the team in batting average (.309) and OBP (.387).
I imagine they'll be some sentiment for the Jim Edmonds/Reed Johnson
platoon. Combined they were good for a 6.5 WARP-1, 22 HR's, 85 RBI's
and 86 Runs scored and a rough back-of-the-envolepe batting line of

Dempster 7.6 2.96 17-6 -- -- 8.31 2.16
Marmol 3.9 2.68 2-4 30 7 11.75 2.78

A reliever, no matter how dominating, isn't likely to get much love in any cumulative stat, but they are counted on when it supposedly matters most. Reader "Real Neal" did the legwork for me (although I swear I was going to mention it), but here are the WPA numbers for some of the Cubs.

Marmol 3.77
Ramirez 3.31
Dempster 2.37 (-1.17 due to batting)
Lee 1.81
DeRosa 1.80
Harden 1.65
Edmonds 1.63
Soriano 1.41
Soto .95
Theriot -.22

I usually don't get too caught up in who meant more to the team or who defied expectations when it comes to my MVP vote. To me, it's pretty much a rough formula of 95% whomever had the best season statiscally and 5% for everything else. On that note, I don't like to put all my stock in one number like WARP-1, but a range of stats that cover offense and defense. Right off the bat, I'm going to knock Marmol and Ramirez out of the race. When you're only contributing 6% of a team's innings, I don't think you can afford to slip much and Marmol had that brutal stretch in late June/early July. It was a small hiccup in his season in retrospect, but he wasn't nearly overwhelming enough after that for me to truly consider him. Ramirez had another solid season with the bat, arguably one of his best as a Cub, but the 22 runs he saved with his glove last year looks to be the anomaly, as he gave back three this season. A matter of fact, he's put up negative fielding numbers at third base every year of his career except last season.

That leaves DeRosa, Soto and Dempster and I'm pretty tempted to wuss out here and call it a three way tie. I think statistically there's solid arguments for each, so that means it's time to argue everyone' favorite topic, intangibles. Soto seems to be maturing into the field general quite nicely as the pitching staff seemed to have nothing but good things to say about him. DeRosa' s defensive flexibility helped the Cubs overcome injuries and ineffectiveness. Dempster's remarkable consistency helped lead one of the better pitching staffs in the league.

In the end I gave my vote to Geovany Soto. I think it's harder to find a catcher who can hit and not be a disaster behind the plate (paging Michael Barrett) than it would be to find replacements for what Dempster and DeRosa did last year. 

And he has the most important intangible...great hair.


to infer from that article...

Dempster will be staying, Kerry might stay as long as he isn't expecting a very long or expensive contract.

Also, everything was Fukudome's fault.

talks about Pie being out of options and finding left-handed bats.

I like Soto.

I'm glad he has a great supporting cast, I hope it never comes down to him being the best hitter on the team.

Catcher is such a wear a tear position.

Am I nuts?

Am I nuts?

Yes. What does that have to do with anything? :)

Geo Soto will never be the best hitter on a championship caliber team.

He shouldn't be. If he was then Hendry's not doing his job.

Quick, someone tell the Devil Rays they don't have a good enough hitter to be a championship caliber team!

Quick someone tell neal that they do!

What the hell does that mean?

he's implying that soto would be the best hitter on the rays and that if so, my assertion would be wrong.

Ok, now I see. I don't see, but I see.

by OPS:

Longoria - .874

Pena - .871

Soto: - .868

when you throw in park and league factors, the Rays do even a little better (OPS+ of 132, 130 compared to 122 for Soto)

Counting stats...

Longoria - 27 HR, 85 RBI, 67 R in 508 PA's drove in 16.2% of runners on base

Pena - 31 HR, 102 RBI, 76 R in 607 PA's drove in 15.8% of runners on base

Soto - 23 HR, 86 RBI, 66 R in 563 PA's, drove in 15.1% of runners on base

close, but the Rays top 2 hitters were definitely a bit better than Soto, although I'd definitely say Soto had the better overall season since those number came from the catching position.

But Chad was just mentioning offense, so he's still got this one....until the next example.

If you make Soto the D-Rays DH or 1st basemen - he puts up better numbers in 2008 than those two guys. Regardless, he's approximately as good as those two were, so Chad's ascertion is wrong. I could go back through the years and find examples, but proving Chad wrong is such an easy thing to do, there's no need to put that much effort in.

no no no no. You can't do that. He must play catcher only for a direct comparison. If you believe that he would hit better as a position player (perhaps he would) then it would show in the numbers and I wouldn't have made that statement.

You said:

"Geo Soto will never be the best hitter on a championship caliber team."

I don't see anything conditional about it saying, while playing catcher.

it was conditional on his actual real life statistics. not what stats he 'could' put up.

if you'd take soto in the middle of your lineup over longoria going on bat alone...damn.

clearly not what Chad was saying though...

but I am sure there is an example somewhere down the line where Soto would have been the best offensive player on a WS team.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.