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...

Name
WARP-1
OPS
League OPS @ Position
HR
RBI
R
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
.294/.382/.506.

Name WARP-1 ERA
W-L
HLD
SV
K/9
K:BB
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.

Comments

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

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

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  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 3 min 55 sec ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 17 min 22 sec ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 55 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • QuietMan 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 39 min ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 3 hours 17 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 1 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 12 min ago view
  • You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.

    To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 13 min ago view