636 Reasons for Cub Fans to be Thankful in 2008
In a special, Thanksgiving edition of his Stat of the Week, John Dewan chronicles the Cubs' aversion to taking walks from 2003 through '07.
Here is how the Cubs hitters ranked among NL clubs in BB:
2003 14th of 16 teams
2004 14th of 16 teams
2005 16th of 16 teams
2006 16th of 16 teams
2007 15th of 16 teams
Last year was a different story.
The Cubs led the NL with 636 walks--the league average was 551--and, as Dewan points out, "the Cubs increased their run production by over 100 runs...leading the 2008 NL in runs scored with 855."
Based on the individual player stats at FanGraphs, here is how the key figures in the Cub lineup aided the cause and how their willingness to walk in 2008 compared to 2007 and the rest of their careers:
|Player|| '08 BB%
||'07 BB %
||Career BB %
Geovany Soto (just 79 career AB's before last year) and Kosuke Fukudome aren't listed because they had no MLB track record to compare to, but both wore their walking shoes last season: Soto walked 11.2% of the time (2nd among NL catchers) and Fukudome finished at 13.9%, a higher BB rate than all but three other regular NL outfielders, Adam Dunn (19.1%), Pat Burrell (16.0%), and Atlanta's Gregor Blanco (14.7%). As much as Fukudome appeared to be overmatched for much of the season, his patience at the plate, at least early in the year, seemed to set the stage for the Cubs' overall offensive approach in 2008.
I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.
Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.
I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.