State of the Cubs 8/12/2017

Another week has passed so let’s look at how the Cubs have been doing this past week.  Here are the last two team status lines.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
3.0 42.8 510 469 57 51 -5.1 0.4 CHN 8/5/2017
2.5 44.7 538 497 60 54 -6.9 0.7 CHN 8/12/2017

Both hitting and pitching flat for the week which means almost completely league average.  League average gets a team to 81-81 for a season which is not playoff caliber.  They went 3-3 for the week which is also league average and maintained their +6 WAA.  A +6 WAA at the end of the season gets them to 84-78.  In 2006 the Cardinals limped into the playoffs with 83 wins and came home with the trophy.

Let’s look at top Cubs players.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+074+ 2.73 Willson_Contreras_CHN CR
+107+ 2.16 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH
+118+ 2.04 Pedro_Strop_CHN PITCH
+121+ 1.97 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+133+ 1.87 Wade_Davis_CHN PITCH
+149+ 1.68 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
+164+ 1.53 Mike_Montgomery_CHN PITCH
+193+ 1.30 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+194+ 1.28 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 1.26 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX 1.01 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B
XXXXX 0.88 Ian_Happ_CHN CF-2B-LF-RF

Nine guys in the top 200 now which is good and shows that the Cubs rise as a team as well as play average as a  team.  Willson Contreras has suffered from the curse of being on top of this list.  Montgomery, Davis, and Exwards all suffered the week after being top Cubs player (not that they even knew they were on top).   Contreras may be out until the playoffs now which is a huge blow.  Let’s look at Cubs starters according to the roster.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+149+ 1.68 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
+193+ 1.30 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+194+ 1.28 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.10 Jose_Quintana_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.02 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
-159- -1.34 John_Lackey_CHN PITCH
Total 3.00

Three starters in the top 200 and one in the bottom 200 who could easily climb out with another outing like he had last night.  Quintana is still pitching average but his upside potential is large.  The upside potential of all these guys is large.  Let’s look at the relief staff which has been carrying the Cubs all season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+107+ 2.16 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH
+118+ 2.04 Pedro_Strop_CHN PITCH
+133+ 1.87 Wade_Davis_CHN PITCH
+158+ 1.62 Justin_Wilson_DET PITCH
+164+ 1.53 Mike_Montgomery_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.73 Carl_Edwards_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.42 Hector_Rondon_CHN PITCH
+158+ 0.02 Justin_Wilson_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.76 Justin_Grimm_CHN PITCH
Total 9.63

The acquisition of Justin WIlson helped their overall value.  He hasn’t pitched many innings for the Cubs yet.   This is a top tier MLB relief staff even after having a few hiccups lately.

That pretty much sums up the Cubs for the week.  Now let’s reminisce….

Blast from the Past 1969

This is my favorite dead horse to beat and on this day in 1969 is around when the Cubs start their infamous collapse.  Here are your Chicago Cubs on this day in 1969.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
74.1 59.1 552 405 73 43 13.8 0.1 CHN  8/12/1969
-30.5 46.1 443 417 62 50 14.8 -4.4 NYN  8/12/1969

Exceptional and well balanced pitching and hitting with hitting a little better.  Cubs UR is also extremely high which means they had good fielding by not letting runs score due to errors.  The Cubs were +30 right now which is around the record Houston has today, the second best team in MLB.  I just looked up LAN.  Holy cow!  +47!  But I digress ….  The Cubs were cruising. The Mets were +12 with bad hitting.  How could the Cubs possibly lose?

Here were the top Cubs players on 8/12/1969.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+008+ 7.10 Ron_Santo_CHN 3B
+025+ 5.19 Bill_Hands_CHN PITCH
+033+ 4.58 Billy_Williams_CHN LF-RF
+036+ 4.56 Ferguson_Jenkins_CHN PITCH
+046+ 4.12 Ernie_Banks_CHN 1B
+071+ 2.73 Don_Kessinger_CHN SS
+080+ 2.35 Randy_Hundley_CHN CR
+121+ 1.41 Ken_Holtzman_CHN PITCH
+130+ 1.26 Phil_Regan_CHN PITCH

Ron Santo in the top ten at #8 and many of those names should be familiar.  I think I have all those baseball cards.  <Spoiler Alert!>  The Cubs go -8 from now until the end of the season while the Mets had some kind of epiphany and went +26.  “Stop crying in your beer Jack Brickhouse,” my father used to say late September of that year as he watched those final games.  If the Cubs would have gone +8 instead of -8 they could have won their division that year.  Oh well.  Water under the bridge and none of that matters anymore after last year.

If Ron Santo was playing today a +7.10 puts him ranked #3 behind Clayton Kershaw and above Bryce Harper.  The distribution each year differs and there were some good players back then.  Here were the top ten MLB players on 8/12/1969.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 10.23 Bill_Singer_LAN PITCH
+002+ 9.43 Reggie_Jackson_OAK RF-CF
+003+ 8.25 Willie_McCovey_SFN 1B
+004+ 7.81 Tony_Perez_CIN 3B
+005+ 7.64 Harmon_Killebrew_MIN 3B-1B
+006+ 7.50 Frank_Robinson_BAL RF-1B
+007+ 7.48 Boog_Powell_BAL 1B
+008+ 7.10 Ron_Santo_CHN 3B
+009+ 7.10 Steve_Carlton_SLN PITCH
+010+ 6.91 Frank_Howard_TEX NONE

The Dodgers again with a top of the league pitcher.  Most of the above are in the HOF and this was Bill Singer’s best year of his career.  That’s enough beating up on the 1969 Cubs even though that season haunted Cubs’ fans for over a decade until the 1984 debacle replaced it.  That lasted until the 2003 debacle and then the 2008 debacle and then … no more debacles!  Whatever happens this season is gravy after last season.