Cubs OPD Rankings: One Stat Will Rule Them All

This is a couple of weeks old, but Chris Dial at Baseball Think Factory came out with a huge spreadsheet rating every player in the league on offense and defense with the appropriately named metric OPD (Offense Plus Defense). It does not take into account baserunning though, and be aware that players are compared to those who play the same position.  He briefly explains the methodology in that link and a further description of the defense can be found here. I didn't spend a lot of time assessing the merits of his system, but it seems solid enough. It tells me Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer were the best players in their respective leagues last year and well that certainly passes the smell test, although by no means is it the ONE stat that will settle every argument from now until the end of days.

The full Google spreadsheet can be found at this link and I've listed the Cubs team ratings and individual players below. It would have been nice to put a ranking next to each player so I didn't have to count them out, which I'm not going to do for every player, but I'll let you know that Soto was 17th in the NL and DeRosa 18th. The numbers are runs relative to average, not replacement or wins, and of course, a positive number is above average, negative is below average.The general sabermetrician's rule of thumb is that 10-12 runs is good for a win.

Soto 25.8  -0.9 24.9
DeRosa  24.3  -0.3 24
Fontenot 16 5.3 21.3
Ramirez 22.2  -7.4 14.8
Edmonds  13 -4.5 8.5
Soriano 10.5 -3.3 7.2
Johnson 2.7 2.3  5
Hoffpauir  4 -1.9 2.1
Blanco -1.1 2.4 1.3
Theriot 4.5 -5.4 -0.9
McGehee -3.9 1.8 -2
Fukudome -5.3 3.1 -2.1
E. Patterson -1.7  -0.7 -2.4
Murton -3.9  0.8 -3.1
Pie -3.8 0.6 -3.2
K. Hill -3.7  -0.7 -4.4
Ward -5.9 0.8 -5.1
Cedeno  -6.2 0.6 -5.6
Lee  -10.2  0.1 -10.1


 For a team that was the best in the NL at turning balls in play into outs, it sure looks like the Cubs had a lot of poor defenders. Poor Derrek Lee sure didn't have a good year relative to his first base peers.

 Team 1B
3B C
 Cubs -15.2 39.8 12.7 19.3 10.3 3.7 -2.1 -0.9 67.6

 The Cubs are ranked third behind the Cardinals (113.1) and Phillies(69.2). The Cubs catchers (Soto & Blanco) were the best in the league, just edging the Braves, although McCann did beat out Soto individually. The Cubs second basemen ended up behind the Phillies for 2nd. Every other position is around the middle of the pack, even first base ends up at 10th despite (supposedly) being the Cubs biggest drag.


theyre no brian giles or jody geruts.

I'd say I generally agree with those assessments.

Not much they missed the target on by a wide margin.

Erm... Okay, that could work... I doubt it is true, though...

So a metric that says the Cardinals were twice as good as every team in the National League passes the smell test? Confused.

in position players, which is about 60% of the game....does not account at all for pitching. I don't know of where to look for a team FIP (fielding independent pitching), but looking at their team pitching stats, they were last in strikeouts and 9th in HR's allowed, so to have the 7th best ERA in the NL was due a lot to their defense. 

and "twice is good" isn't very accurate, 113 to 69 between them and the Phils, 140 would be twice as good, this is more like 1.6 times as good. 

/I'll show myself out.

As I mentioned, it's only their starting 8 and bench players and the 44 runs is good for about 4 wins better than the Phils and Cubs position players. But their pitching really wasn't that good, relying heavily on their defense. Wellemeyer lead their starters with a 6.39 K/9 which is bloody awful. I know that's Duncan and LaRussa's mantra, to "pitch to contact" and let the defense play make the plays and it's certainly worked for them, but if anything this OPD stats shows how important their defense was.

Cubs GB/FB = 1.07 27th in MLB
Cardinals GB/FB = 1.34, tied for 5th

Zone rating, which these defensive scores are based on, ignores line drives to the infield, fielding efficiency doesn't. There's a few other problems with ZR.

If you give the Cubs the Cardinals rotation, and vice-versa, the Brewers probably win the division, but the Cubs would still beat the Cardinals.

If you give the Cubs the Cardinals rotation, and vice-versa, the Brewers probably win the division, but the Cubs would still beat the Cardinals.



Zone rating, which these defensive scores are based on, ignores line drives to the infield, fielding efficiency doesn't. There's a few other problems with ZR.

good call, hadn't really read up on it, but here's a primer for anyone else interested 

nonetheless, I'll stick by my assessment that this OPD is if anything, a decent guide for evaluating both sides of the diamond. I wouldn't stake my life on it, but it's a decent place to start.

just looking a list of players and how the D numbers work out they should probably go back to the drawing board.

it's a funny quirk to have a guy like brian giles on their O list, but the D rankings are kinda f'n wonky with a lot more players.

it doesn't seem like good one for judging arm quality, either. seems to be heavily glove-weighted.

it rates performance not reputation or scouting...if no one is running on you or you don't get the chances, you wont' get credit for the assists or kills. 

if you base an aggregate stat on flawed stats you're gonna get a wonky outcome based on what actually shows up on the field.

the "science" of D stats is still trying to find it's way through the mess that it's in now. imo, the search for a better stat-based-D-measure is playing around in too much of weighing/aggregating existing flawed stats. it creates too many "huh?" for my tastes even if the players on whole, aggregated, get close to what it's supposed to be.

That 'smell test' doesn't look too good with the Manny and The Fontenaught scores, either.

Seems I'm not the only one with a 'crystal ball'.

Except no one in that article made silly predictions. The article just said that there were injury issues. You, on the other hand, said things like Peavy will not throw more innings than Dempster, or something like that.

Saying the obvious (that there are injury concerns) is different than telling us what will happen.

Alright, Big_Ass. I am pretty sure I preceded my predictions with the phrase 'if I had to guess'. Sort of like last year when I said I could see a situation where Dempster was the best pitcher in the rotation.

Reading comprehension, for the lose!

whatever happened in your childhood to make you so angry, please take it out on a hooker or a homeless person. I'm tired of your petty insults and namecalling  towards everyone. Everyone else can act civil 95% of the time around here, except you. For whatever reason, I've let it slide this long, but I'm done with it.

So knock it the fuck off....

Are you talking to me? Because I am pretty sure that it was Big Ass who started with the demeaning comments.

You really need to grow up and get some objectivity.

I don't state my opinions like they're facts. I don't change my signature in an attempt to antagonize other posters/ readers. I don't mix my opinions of baseball acumen with political propaganda.

Time to check yourself, mother fucker.

I don't state my opinions like they're facts.

If you say so. But I am pretty sure if you we held a poll, the VAST majority of TCR readers would say that is all you do - state your opinions as facts.

I don't change my signature in an attempt to antagonize other posters/ readers.

Sorry... does my signature make you upset? Its a fucking signature. Get over it. Even if it mocks you.

I don't mix my opinions of baseball acumen with political propaganda.

Huh? You constantly bring up political stuff around here. You have to be kidding me.

Once again, you cannot restrain your childishness. No one was talking to you, Dave. I realize that's hard for you to comprehend, but it's the truth. Just to pander to you though, because it's obvious, you're a special child who needs extra consideration:

"Sorry... does my signature make you upset? Its a fucking signature. Get over it. Even if it mocks you."

After a late night of drinking sometimes I wake up and have a big, hairy shit. Typically, I give those shits' opinions more credence than anything you say. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy - - of Rob G, warning me, when you and Tito have had your sad little signatures up there for months. Have I ever complained about your solidarity diatribes? No.

Here's the quote you couldn't grasp that got you and Rob G. so worked up.

"I would guess a 4 year Dempster deal gets you about 760 innings of 3.75 ERA pitching. Over the same time I expect Peavy to throw about 250 innings of 3.00 ERA pitching." It's a an opinion. There's no other way to read that than opinion. I don't know how else to help you understand.

For reference, Kerry Wood, over the four years from 2004 to 2007 threw 251.3 innings and had a 3.83 ERA, following two pretty solid seasons.

It's ironic that you try to accuse me of distorting perceptions, when it's right there in black and white, yet you blantantly lie to try to build a consensus of nay-sayers against anything the 'Big Bad Real Neal' says.

i kind of remember you throwing insults at me 3 times in a row not too long ago for no f'n reason.

you've been wound pretty tightly and lashing out at others for a couple months now...and you seem VERY hung up on the current political climate.

Uh, no, crunch. You tried to condescend to me, (and you were wrong, you're not a socialist, unless you're paying 60% taxes by the way), and you got spanked.

I haven't ever brought up political shit. I've discussed it when Rob G or you or Carlos brought it up, (remember that time when you were talking about how great Venezeula is being run, even though you didn't know about the food shortages... well done).

no, you just assumed i was attacking you and you lashed out with the tact and class of a spoiled 5 year old.

you've been doing a lot of it lately to a lot more people than me.

and you have been bringing up "political shit" in your direct attacks on people. that's where that's coming from. and you're also wrong about "what i know/said" in your 2nd paragraph rant, but i dont feel like play fighting on the internet with you today. take your ball and go home.

my objectivity is just fine, Neal...

you're the only one on this board who CONSISTENTLY feels the need to personally insult anyone who even considers disagreeing with you. I realize tempers can flair on occasion and people get worked up about stupid shit and normally I let it go, but for whatever reason the last 2-3 months you've gone off the deep end. 

I'm sure you don't see it that way and that I'm the big, bad doofus just out to get you, but I guarantee the readers and writers around here know what I'm talking about.

The thing is, I've always pointed out stupid shit (in my mind) that people said. Over the last two or three months, maybe certain people are just more touchy about it. If you haven't noticed Dave stalking me, though, I don't know what to say. It's really quite blatant. Look at his comments over the last two weeks. If he's going to do that, I am going to rip him, and rightfully so. I think that you should be able to post your opnions here, and if I am being too, or overly snide, say something and I'll tone it down. If you don't want me around, that's fine, but I am not going to put up with favoritism, which is what you're quite obviously doing here.

I'm not saying I am the nicest guy in the world, but I don't try to pick on anyone - I share my ass-holeness equally.

"you're the only one on this board who CONSISTENTLY feels the need to personally insult anyone who even considers disagreeing with"

I think if you really look at that - you'll find it's a big fat lie. Yes, I condescend to people, probably more than is cool, but I'm rarely the instigator, and when I argue with people it's more likely because they treat their opinion as fact, than vice-versa.

This post is one example. Your crystal ball, shit is another (where I didn't make any attacks that I recall). - Dave starts shit - Dave starts shit

Maybe Dave sees himself as a hero for the working class or whatever, but, he should know if he starts shit with me it's going to end badly, it's not like I am deviating from form.

By the way, I don't think it's possible to judge your own objectivity.

you're missing the point about where you lash out at people without being provoked because for some reason you think you're being provoked.

you lash out in really childish/bratty ways, too.

it's not just 1 or 2 people "misunderstanding"'s been a little bit par for the course lately.

and i don't think you realize how political a lot of your insult-rants are...and i'm not talking about just you and talking about how you've been interacting with a lot of people lately.

Can't we just all be friends and commiserate on how the cubs got swept from the playoffs? Isn't that what TCR is all about?

Neal... it is pretty simple.

I have called you out for things that you have written. You can call that "starting shit" if you want, or you can call that stalking all you want, and you can blame it on the election all you want, but you will be wrong.

FWIW.... you made a very sarcastic comment about the crystal ball, and i responded to that. In the Giles post, you compared Marquis to the Giles situation, and found that to be pretty absurd, and called you on it. In that same post, you made a pretty absurd comment about California and burritos and tailgate parties, and I called you on it.

You have responded, as you often to do to many commenters, by turning it into a big personal attack pissing match.

I don't care if you don't like me. I don't care if you are a pompous jackass that pretends he is better and smarter than everyone around here. I don't care if you think that you are important enough to stalk.

It just makes me laugh at you. And I don't think I am the only one.

"If you haven't noticed Dave stalking me, though, I don't know what to say."

I don't think it's so much stalking as it is you saying things that people, particularly the Dude, feel the need to respond to.

Happens to me quite a bit. Usually when I say something inaccurate or short-sighted.

No, I haven't noticed Dave stalking you, I've noticed him disagreeing with you. I've noticed you disagreeing with a lot of people. I've noticed me disagreeing with a lot of people, and down the road it goes.

I don't care if people disagree,  I encourage it. If someone says something  stupid, they should be called on it with the appropriate research to back up their claims.

What I don't care for is the petty's gonna happen here and there and I'll let it go, you seem to have made it a habit lately. Argue the points, not the person and don't make it personal. Read the bold part over a few times so you understand it.

Everyone else seems to be able to handle that for the most part, I expect the same from you.

And if you think I'm making you an example or being hypocrite, I don't give a shit. I'm calling it how I see it and it's been a long-standing "I'll know it when I see it" rule when people go overboard in the comments. I think I'm pretty lenient, shit, I let Silent Towel go for like 6 months. You've been crossing it a lot lately, so I would appreciate it if you tone it down.

I've been a regular at TCR since 02 and I've seen quite a few assholes here and there, but the only two that have gone this badly are those with the usernames Silent Towel and The Real Neal. Think about that. When your name is being put in the same level as Silent Towel, it's either you have gone off the deep end with no chance of coming back or you are Silent Towel using a new username.

Don't think i don't know who you are talking about!

I would never call you an asshole, Chad. Although someone did call you a douche and got banned right?

Dude, if people got banned for calling me douche, there would be no one left to post here

I'm with Rob. He's been very lenient and while many of us have at times been inappropriately personal, I think that Neal has done it on a regular basis recently.

oh crap. i can't believe you just called RobG a mother fucker.

Trib has the White Sox shopping Swisher more aggressively now. Come on, Hendry--Swish makes sense for this team.

I wonder what the asking price will be.

I'm getting bored with this..

The Padres again have asked the Braves to revise their proposal for right-hander Jake Peavy, requesting that the team substitute Single-A catcher Tyler Flowers for Single-A center fielder Gorkys Hernandez, according to major-league sources.


The Cubs and Padres, meanwhile, continue to discuss the same list of six to eight names from which the Padres would choose in a deal for Peavy. The Padres then would have the option of spinning one or more of those players to other clubs.

Rich Hill was shaky last night but got through four innings giving up one run, 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts.

Pitched against Caracas, Josh Kroeger's team. Kroeger was 1 for 5 but scored the winning run in the tenth, on a triple play.

Batting second ahead of Kroeger was Matt Murton. Murt went 3 for 4. Against Hill he hit a double, stole third and scored.

Everybody steals on Hill. That hasn't changed.

Cedeno and Fuld are on Hill's team, Aragua. Cedeno's BA has dropped to around .260 while Fuld's has risen to .275-.280.

Scoring on a triple play is more impressive than going first to third on a grounder to second!

Three walks in four innings, actually, is a bit of an improvement.

Hill's problems aren't as bad as Ankiels or Knauchblauch (spelling)? Gosh, they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn

The only way this is possible is in the top of the 10th.

and my God! It would have to be something like:

Bases loaded no outs. Sac fly to say, right field, they throw to third and nail the guy trying to tag and then throw back and get the guy who tried to tag from first.

Ahh, yeah, but then I would call that the 'go ahead run' rather than the 'winning run'.

you can kinda still call it the winning run, if in fact later it held to be.

Baseball semantics: I have to agree with Neal, it's the "go-ahead run" even if you win with it, but it's not a big deal. I imagine there is a definition somewhere... or multiple differing definitions somewheres.

Edit: I just did a quick Google and most of the internets appears to disagree with me. If the lead holds, it's the winning run.

Chad appears to be right. *sigh*

"Don't f*uck with the infinite"

- Mean Streets

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  • wow I am glad I missed the start of the MIA game.  I would have been sobbing.

    Transmission 1 min 26 sec ago view
  • Baez!!

    Brick 5 min 31 sec ago view
  • baez grand slam!

    crunch 5 min 36 sec ago view
  • lulz, MIA with a 5-0 lead after 2 innings.

    crunch 33 min 34 sec ago view
  • d.gordon leads off MIA inning with a HR...came up to bat wearing j.fernandez's helmet.

    he barely made it back into the dugout after crying his way around the bases.

    i can't watch this game anymore. it's too much...too real.

    crunch 55 min ago view
  • FLA really doesn't look like they're mentally/physically prepared for this game. never seen anything like's not just a few people in the dugout still feeling it large, it's pretty much everyone.

    i doubt it will lead to some kinda error-filled little league quality game, but everyone looks drained and still draining.

    ...and onto the cubs game. go #100.

    crunch 1 hour 2 min ago view
  • The Marlins organization is obviously affected deeply by this. I feel for the people there. And I understand circumstances have changed.

    But retiring his number. Wow. Literally a week ago the rumor mill was fast and furious about how Fernandez was going to be traded this winter, with the front office in response doing almost nothing to deny it. And to turn around and retire his number, just like that, when they obviously felt the organization would have been better long-term without him, just reeks of insincerity.

    John Beasley 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • jose fernandez's number is going to be retired by FLA.

    there's custom jerseys on their way to tonight's game (and hopefully will make it on time). all the marlins are going to wear #16 tonight.

    this still sucks.

    crunch 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • probably saturday depending on what they do with hammel (assuming friday for ham).

    crunch 8 hours 7 min ago view
  • Lester is going to get one more start, right? It sure would be nice to see him get a shot at 20 wins.

    Charlie 8 hours 38 min ago view
  • Nicely done! I think in my 10-14 games I went .500 or a little over. Strangely, I went to the Cards games they mostly lost (incl Saturday) and the one SF game they lost, plus a couple Brewers games they lost, too. I should have gone to just Reds games. But still - saw mostly very good baseball on the North Side this year. Regardless of what happens come October - the Cubs are positioned for some good times in the next 3-5 years.

    The E-Man 10 hours 3 min ago view
  • Attaboy!

    billybucks 10 hours 55 min ago view
  • First Cub victory at home this year for me!
    Saw all four starters this year

    jacos 12 hours 19 min ago view
  • RIP Arnie. We could use a lot more like you -- a man who succeeded and failed on his own terms, a true original, and, finally, a remarkable example of graciousness towards others.

    billybucks 20 hours 14 min ago view
  • Cubs finish 33 over at home. I was, personally, one game over at 3-2, which was one of my better years in a while.

    I do hope that's the last time we see the Cardinals this year. A lot of power, which is dangerous, particularly in a short series, and they have really shut down KB all year.

    Oh, and Jon Lester? Damn!

    billybucks 20 hours 26 min ago view
  • Yes. Boating accident at 3AM. Very sad, but stupid. Young men do stupid things.

    billybucks 21 hours 22 min ago view