Cubs Analysis All Star Edition


For those coming  from Twitter the numbers here may seem foreign.  Don’t worry about how this sausage is made, rather evaluate the analysis as is.   Please direct any comments or questions to @baseballwaa on Twitter.  Please browse the Table of Contents for more information about this data model.

There are three criteria that the WAA (Wins Above Average) value must adhere:

Sum of PITCHer  WAA across MLB must equal 0.

Sum of BATter WAA across MLB must equal 0.

Sum of player WAA for each team must equal that team’s real WAA (W-L)

For example, since the Cubs real WAA=W-L=53-35 = 18 , adding all Cubs’ player WAAs must equal that value.  There is a mathematical proof for  these criteria.   Many  tables posted may be a little cryptic at first because they are copy/pasted from a dump of this data model.  Team IDs use a 3 letter acronym as defined by which provided event and other historical data to this model. If that’s clear as mud let’s get to it.

Cubs Analysis

Below is a team status line representing important team variables.  I do not want to confuse this analysis by explaining all of them here.  Most should be intuitively obvious.

58.6 75.6 460 321 53 35 3.1 1.7 CHN

The first column represents runs above league average for BATting, second column for PITCHing.  BAT is exactly the same as a week ago and PITCH is way down.  PITCH bled around 25 runs in a single week which is as bad as it gets.  The Cubs real WAA=W-L was +22 last week and it’s down to +18.  The entire team bled 4 WAA in value and it has been PITCHers who took most that loss.

Here are Cubs currently in top 100.  An average team will have 3-4 players in top 100.

+004+ 5.42 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-LF-RF
+013+ 4.12 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
+017+ 3.84 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
+028+ 3.51 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+040+ 3.13 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+062+ 2.60 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B-RF

All players both PITCHers and BATters, both NL and AL get ranked together.  The first column is rank.  Pluses mean rank from top down, minuses bottom up.  A player does not want to be ranked in a bottom up list.  Only the top 200 and bottom 200 get ranked.  Everyone else is in purgatory with a rank of XXXXX.

Kris Bryant is the 4th best player in MLB right now, Rizzo is 28th which is still very very good.  Arrieta spent most the year at the top with Kershaw but he has fallen his last two starts as well as Lester and Hammel and Lackey.  Hendricks actually increased his value from last week.   Here are Cubs in to top 100-200.

+115+ 1.83 Hector_Rondon_CHN PITCH
+124+ 1.70 Jason_Hammel_CHN PITCH
+164+ 1.41 John_Lackey_CHN PITCH
+181+ 1.26 Addison_Russell_CHN SS
+199+ 1.09 Trevor_Cahill_CHN PITCH

This model goes negative fast. Unfortunately the Cubs have someone in the bottom 200.

-151- -1.24 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF-CF

Heyward is 151th from the worst players in MLB who are these guys.

-001- -6.53 Alfredo_Simon_CIN PITCH
-002- -5.82 Ubaldo_Jimenez_BAL PITCH
-003- -4.96 Luis_Perdomo_SDN PITCH
-004- -4.87 Shelby_Miller_ARI PITCH
-005- -4.83 Anibal_Sanchez_DET PITCH

Miller and Sanchez aren’t usually this bad.

The rest of the Cubs are in purgatory which is OK. Adding all their WAAs, second column, will come to +18.

Blast from the Past — 2008

In order to put the above in context it’s helpful to compare to previous years.   The Cubs won 97 games in 2008 so where were they today in 2008? Here is the team status line.

BAT|PITCH|Rs|Ra|W|L|UR|LR|TeamID 07/11/2008
70.2 24.8 497 390 56 37 7.1 4.9 CHN

The numbers are reversed in 2008 compared to now.  BAT is much higher than PITCH but even PITCH is well above average at +24.8.  Their real WAA=W-L=56-37 = 19 which is almost the same as what the Cubs have now (+18).    Back then the Cubs also played 0.500 ball through the last month before All Star break.  Here are Cubs in the top 100 this day in 2008.

+013+ 4.26 Aramis_Ramirez_CHN 3B
+023+ 3.67 Carlos_Zambrano_CHN PITCH
+047+ 2.81 Mark_DeRosa_CHN SS
+050+ 2.81 Ryan_Dempster_CHN PITCH
+057+ 2.69 Alfonso_Soriano_CHN OF
+058+ 2.67 Derrek_Lee_CHN 1B

Here are Cubs in bottom 200 this day in 2008.

-125- -1.47 Ted_Lilly_CHN PITCH

That surprised me. Lilly does finish the season like this:

XXXXX 1.05 Ted_Lilly_CHN PITCH

This means in the second half of the year Lilly turned his pitching around and added around +2.5 WAA to the team helping the Cubs propel to 97 wins that year.  WAA has additive properties.

That is all for now. Please tweet any questions or comments about this model to @baseballwaa . Comments are turned off here because they are a security problem.