Today we’ll look at the state of the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs AAA team which is the highest level of minor leagues before MLB. We combine Pacific Coast League, the league the Cubs are in, with International to make a complete dataset of 30 MLB franchise affiliates. The math works the same for this closed league as it does for MLB. Let’s start with team status, current and the last time we did this.
Update: Apparently Schwarber is back with the MLB Cubs. Wasn’t following the news while writing this.
They’re only 8 games under instead of 11 mid June. UR still underwater which means sub average fielding as a team. Let’s look at their top players so far.
Five guys in the top 200 which is typical for a sub average team. Happ and Butler are playing for the MLB Cubs. Since their value in this league is frozen they’ll drop in rank as the season progresses. Caratini, Zaguni, and Candelario were recently brought up and not sure which team they’re on at this moment. Apparently Caratini is a catcher and if he can hit like this in MLB that will be a huge plus for the MLB Cubs.
Kyle Schwarber has only been playing a week and he’s almost at +1. This doesn’t mean much without context so let’s look at his full line.
Very high BA and OBP. We can convert that WAA into a WinPct rate using the following formula.
Win% = 0.5*WAA/(number of games played) + 0.5
where number of games played = PA/38.4
The 38.4 is a baseball constant that defines the average number of plate appearances per game. It is used by this model much like how ERA uses exactly 9 innings to define a game even though an average baseball game is not exactly 9 innings either. More explanation about this can be read here.
Crunching the above numbers Kyle has a WinPct of 0.833. To put that into perspective Aaron Judge, the best hitter in MLB right now, has a WinPct of 0.815. Aaron Judge has maintained that rate through the entire season though and Kyle has only played a week so far. Showing the rate only provides perspective. Schwarber has done very well in Iowa which should have been expected and this model shows it. It’s a good sign on a day when the Cubs are losing to the Brewers 11-2 so far.
Since we’re here let’s look at the top 20 AAA league leaders so far this season
That is all for now. Perhaps in a couple of days we’ll take a look at the AA league and the Tennessee Smokies. Cubs start a new series with PIT tomorrow which means we’ll do a matchup report. Until then….