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.
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.
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.