Since it’s Friday let’s look at the state of the Cubs again.
BAT was pretty flat, PITCH was up as well as Unearned Runs above average (UR) and they went 5-2 gaining 3 more wins putting them at +7 for the season so far. Currently they’re in first place again but that doesn’t matter until the end of the season. A team should shoot for at least +20 for the year (91-71) to be considered true playoff contenders who can win a DS and CS and ultimately a WS.
Let’s look at Cubs’ current top players.
Cubs now have 8 guys in the top 200 which is why they’re +7 in the win/loss columns now. An average team cannot be packed with superstars. This table shows how the Cubs are climbing back to the top of MLB. I’m reticent seeing Rizzo on top like this because the last bunch of status reports the top Cubs’ player faltered and fell (i.e Montgomery, Edwards, etc.). Hopefully there isn’t a jinx. <anti jinx on> Duensing has been rising slowly and consistently all season with little fanfare. Every out counts!<anti jinx off>
As we mentioned in our All Star picks earlier, catchers are typically not good hitters but are the most important defensive asset on the field. Willson Contreras’ hitting has been a huge asset and although we don’t have a evaluation model for fielding in general, catching in particular, he seems to keep hitters from running around the bases willy nilly.
<anti jinx totally on> This guy is missing from above table.
Kyle is now at the value he started the season at, ~0. He didn’t have to climb much because he didn’t dip much below -0.5. He wasn’t as bad as stat heads and so called experts were saying about him. He’s now showing signs of positive movement. In 2015 he put up +4.5 for a single player between the end of June to mid September. That is proven capability. There still is the rest of the season and playoffs that need to be played so we’ll see. <anti jinx totally off>
We did an optimistic estimate of 92-94 wins during halftime edition of this report. That’s +22 to +26 so they have to put up another +15 to +19 from now until the end of the season. If the players above put up that value we should see many Cubs players in the top 100 before they start the playoffs.
Blast from the Past
Sometimes it’s good to put a current situation into perspective. Let’s look at where the Cubs were this day in that infamous year 2003.
PITCH is about the same as current Cubs, BAT pretty bad as well as bad fielding and the Cubs were an even steven mediocre team. They finish the year with 88 wins which was enough to win a weak NL Central. This means they added +16 from now until the end of the season, almost as much as the current Cubs need to hit our optimistic prediction. That bad fielding haunted the Cubs in the NLCS — especially that flubbed double play after the Bartman incident. But I digress….
Here were your top Cubs on this day in 2003.
Nine guys in the top 200 and 4 guys in the top 100. Since they had so many guys at the top of the league there had to be many at the bottom of the league pulling this team down to an average record. The current Cubs don’t have many flashy superstars this season but they don’t have players dragging them down either. They all seem to play together as a team which means when some players are slumping others are picking up the slack. And then they trade places. The 2003 team didn’t have that. When those top players started playing bad, well, the Cubs lost. As simple as that. The next year, 2004, this team totally collapses because of this.
Cubs are playing the Brewers and we’ll do an analysis of the current Brewers and both team’s lineups for the second game tomorrow. Until then….