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
||.857||746 for 2b/788 for RF||21||87||103|
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
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.
Dempster 2.37 (-1.17 due to batting)
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.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.