Cubs Status 5/3/2018

Tomorrow starts a series with the Cardinals in St. Louis.  There are four  NL Central teams in the mix for first which include both CHN and SLN.  Tomorrow we do Ouija board and series analysis and will mostly focus on the Cardinals.   Since we are 1/6 into the MLB season let’s look at the first Cubs status for the 2018 season.

Team status was somewhat described last season during April downtime.  Here are current lines for the Cubs (CHN) today and last year on this day.

1.3 23.9 136 111 16 12 -2.0 1.8 CHN  5/3/2018
13.3 6.0 137 121 15 12 -5.1 1.8 CHN  5/3/2017

Rs is runs scored and Ra, runs scored against.  It’s basic run differential.  The W, L, and TeamID should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.  Here are the formulae for the other columns.

Ravg = league average runs scored = league average runs scored against
BAT = Rs - Ravg + LR/2
PITCH = Ravg - Ra + UR - UR
UR = Unearned Runs above average = UR - UR(league team average) - team unearned runs
LR = Lucky Runs above average = R(team) - RBI(team) - LR(league team average)

Edit 5/9/2018: I screwed up the above ... again!  Subrtract UR in PITCH not add.  Subtract team unearned runs from league average.  Clear as mud? :-)

These are what the columns mean. A negative in the UR column means a team is committing a lot of errors that score runs, a positive means good defense. URs are counted in PITCH total, LR for BAT. The LR column is included for symmetry.  Lucky runs occur when a run scored without a batter receiving an RBI.  They are called lucky because the hitting team did nothing to deserve them but they still must be accounted for in order for the books to balance.

BAT and PITCH are runs above or below league average and derived from standard run differential.

A value of 0 means completely average.  The Cubs have a very positive PITCH and it’s in the top 5 in MLB along with the Cardinals who they play tomorrow.  From the status line you can also tell Cubs have  average BAT, somewhat below water UR, and a real WAA = 16 – 12 = +4.  Last season they had better BAT than PITCH and after today they struggle barely staying average all the way to All Star break.

The team status line and run differential represents the current performance of a team for an entire season.  As the season progresses team rosters change where the run differential does not represent the players currently playing.  This will get explained more as the season progresses and we get into lineup/starter/relief tiering.

Now let’s look at top Cubs and their rank.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos  5/3/2018
+016+ 2.06 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B
+054+ 1.22 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+066+ 1.18 Carl_Edwards_CHN PITCH
+080+ 1.01 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN PITCH
+083+ 1.01 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF
+084+ 1.01 Brandon_Morrow_CHN PITCH
+089+ 0.97 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
+101+ 0.90 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH

The Rank column shows each player’s rank amongst all other players in MLB.  Pitchers and hitters are ranked together.  The Cubs have 8 guys in the top 100 which is very good.  With 30 MLB teams, the average team will field 3 or 4 in the top 100.  Tomorrow we’ll cover who the Cardinals have in their top 10.

Now that we know the Cubs this year and last year had similar records and run differential, let’s look at that team’s top players on this day in 2017.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos  5/3/2017
+055+ 1.20 Wade_Davis_CHN PITCH
+057+ 1.18 Carl_Edwards_CHN PITCH
+060+ 1.11 Mike_Montgomery_CHN PITCH
+139+ 0.73 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B
+155+ 0.67 Hector_Rondon_CHN PITCH
+176+ 0.57 Addison_Russell_CHN SS
+191+ 0.53 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B-2B

Only three guys in the top 100 on this day last year and all of them relievers.  Cubs relief keeps this team competitive all the way to All Star break last season.

We’re not going to dive into rosters yet.   Way too early in the season  to dwell on negatives.  Tomorrow we’ll tier starters, lineups, and relief for each team and take a look at  the SLN roster.  OPS series on hold for awhile.  Until then….