State of the Iowa Cubs 7/6/2017

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.

UpdateApparently Schwarber is back with the MLB Cubs.  Wasn’t following the news while writing this.

-3.4 -77.4 294 379 27 38 -5.7 -1.3 Iowa_Cubs_CHN 6/17/2017
4.7 -65.2 408 475 39 47 -4.3 -2.2 Iowa_Cubs_CHN 7/6/2017

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.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+020+ 3.19 Victor_Caratini_CHN BAT
+054+ 2.33 Eddie_Butler_CHN PITCH
+088+ 1.89 Chris_Dominguez_CHN BAT
+091+ 1.85 Ian_Happ_CHN BAT
+175+ 1.30 Dylan_Floro_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 1.18 Zac_Rosscup_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 1.07 Mark_Zagunis_CHN BAT
XXXXX 0.86 Jeimer_Candelario_CHN BAT
XXXXX 0.82 David_Berg_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.78 Stephen_Bruno_CHN BAT
XXXXX 0.76 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT

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.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.76 0.343 0.477 44 9 9 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT

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

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 7.31 Oswaldo_Arcia_ARI BAT
+002+ 6.87 Christian_Walker_ARI BAT
+003+ 6.30 Garrett_Cooper_MIL BAT
+004+ 5.31 Steven_Brault_PIT PITCH
+005+ 4.91 Caleb_Smith_NYA PITCH
+006+ 4.60 Thomas_Eshelman_PHI PITCH
+007+ 4.60 Brett_Phillips_MIL BAT
+008+ 4.51 Jabari_Blash_SDN BAT
+009+ 4.18 Hector_Velazquez_BOS PITCH
+010+ 4.18 Rhys_Hoskins_PHI BAT
+011+ 3.74 Lewis_Brinson_MIL BAT
+012+ 3.67 Colin_Moran_HOU BAT
+013+ 3.63 Mike_Tauchman_COL BAT
+014+ 3.55 Edgar_Olmos_BOS PITCH
+015+ 3.34 Will_Middlebrooks_TEX BAT
+016+ 3.30 Jose_Pirela_SDN BAT
+017+ 3.23 Zach_Borenstein_ARI BAT
+018+ 3.21 Luke_Weaver_SLN PITCH
+019+ 3.21 Jose_Berrios_MIN PITCH
+020+ 3.19 Victor_Caratini_CHN BAT

The only name I recognize is Will Middlebrooks because he was part of out minor league coverage  here and here back in October of 2013.

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….