Cubs Status Halftime Edition

A baseball season is around 6 months long and the beginning of July (now) marks the third month so we’re half way through the 2019 baseball season already.  In the past  halftime editions posted during All Star break but this year we’ll do it at the actual halftime of the season, now.  All Star break is next week

CHN Team Status

Tm W L BAT PITCH UR
CHN 37 29 29.7 32.0 -3.1 20190612
CHN 45 41 23.8 26.0 -2.8 20190703

It has been almost three weeks since the last Cubs status and since then they went 8-12 losing 4 games with their team WAA down to only +4.  Ruh roh!  Both BAT and PITCH down a little.  A team WAA of +4 is still above average but probably does not get them into the playoffs.  Below is a comparison of this year with the last 4 years — each of which the Cubs made the playoffs.

Cubs Today and the last 4 years.

Date WAA BAT PITCH UR
20150703 6 -25.1 39.5 -0.2
20160703 21 53.4 91.0 3.6
20170703 0 -14.7 28.4 -2.2
20180703 13 50.5 48.0 2.0
20190703 4 23.8 26.0 -2.8

The WAA column is simply team wins minus losses.  Normally people like to see the W and L columns but having a single column makes it easier to see the differences over the years  for the only stat that matters in baseball that is 100% accurate;  team WAA.

Cubs made the playoffs each of the last 4 years.  In 2015 Schwarber was called up around now and hit like Babe Ruth propelling BAT from very below average. to around league average — still a great improvement..   By the end of that season Cubs qualified for a Wild Card in the playoffs. In 2016 they dominated regular season and squeaked by in the playoffs.  Squeaking by to win a World Series still counts.

Today in 2017 the Cubs were even steven with problems hitting.  As described in the halftime edition posted then, Cubs relief kept them from sinking out of contention.   Last season Cubs were well above average today and this year they’re a little off.  Let’s drill down into their roster.

CHN Tiers

Type Name_TeamID Tier #
Lineups 1.40
SP Yu_Darvish_CHN -2.00
SP Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 1.58
SP Jon_Lester_CHN 0.52
SP Jose_Quintana_CHN -0.20
Relief 0.47

A tier number of 2 or -2 is one standard deviation above or below league averages for that category according to current rosters.  Due to trades, injuries, and minor league call ups, current rosters are constantly in flux for most teams which means they will deviate from what seasonal run differential BAT and PITCH indicate.

Tiers are used in game simulations.  Lineups and Relief are valued as a group, Starters (SP) as individuals.

CHN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+100+ 2.08 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 91.3
XXXXX 1.11 Jon_Lester_CHN 88.0
XXXXX 0.46 Jose_Quintana_CHN 94.0
XXXXX -1.18 Yu_Darvish_CHN 90.3
Total 2.47 0.531

Hamels is on DL who is their #1 pitcher right now.  Cubs fifth starter is grabbed from their relievers or randomly called up from Iowa.  With Hamels the above is a pretty good playoff rotation.

CHN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+114+ 1.93 Brandon_Kintzler_CHN 35.0
XXXXX 1.22 Steve_Cishek_CHN 36.3
XXXXX 0.61 Kyle_Ryan_CHN 30.3
XXXXX 0.04 Pedro_Strop_CHN 18.7
XXXXX -0.08 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN 44.0
XXXXX -0.23 Randy_Rosario_CHN 8.0
XXXXX -0.23 Dillon_Maples_CHN 8.0
XXXXX -0.42 Craig_Kimbrel_CHN 2.0
XXXXX -0.78 Mike_Montgomery_CHN 27.0
XXXXX -1.22 Brad_Brach_CHN 35.0
Total 0.84 0.515

Joe has 10 relievers or 14 pitchers total on the 25 man roster which means pinch hitters are in short supply for the time being.  The above shows relief has problems right now.  The current scripts only grab the top 8 relievers so negative value of Montgomery and Brach are off the books when counting this relief squad.  This causes cumulative WAA for RP to rise giving them a plus Tier # shown above.  Relief tabulation is being reexamined for the next iteration of the simulation dataset.

Both Montgomery and Brach pitch a lot of innings and are crucial if this team wants to win another World Series.  Chatwood has been used as both starter and relief which is why his Innings Pitched is so high.

We’re not seeing much dancing in the bullpen this season.  The above shows Joe is working the relief problem trying to find a squad who can get the job done consistently.  They may need to acquire a reliever or two at trade deadline.  Kimbrel had a rough couple of innings so far and although he has had a pretty consistent career, baseball players are not robots.  Good players can have bad years.

CHN Hitters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+043+ 2.79 Javier_Baez_CHN SS
+050+ 2.60 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+110+ 1.95 Willson_Contreras_CHN CR
+125+ 1.85 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-RF-LF
XXXXX 0.80 David_Bote_CHN 3B-2B
XXXXX 0.34 Victor_Caratini_CHN CR
XXXXX 0.34 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.06 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF-CF
XXXXX -0.76 Addison_Russell_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX -1.01 Daniel_Descalso_CHN 2B
XXXXX -1.09 Albert_Almora_CHN CF
Total 7.87 0.549

Baez and Rizzo virtually tied and in top 100, Contreras and Bryant top 200.  Entire set above water which one would expect based upon BAT in team status.  They usually field a lineup between 1 and 1.8 tier numbers which isn’t bad but certainly not as good as lineups from top MLB teams, teams they’ll meet in the playoffs if they get there.

So this is the half way point and in the last 4 seasons Cubs excelled second half.  There is less doom and gloom now that there was today in 2017.  in 2015 Cubs fans were happy to be above average on this day for once in a very long time.

For some perspective, here were the top ten Cubs hitters on this day 2016.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+006+ 4.70 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-LF-RF
+025+ 3.38 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+075+ 2.27 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B-LF-RF
XXXXX 0.97 David_Ross_CHN CR
XXXXX 0.73 Matt_Szczur_CHN LF-CF-RF
XXXXX 0.61 Javier_Baez_CHN 3B-2B-SS
XXXXX 0.59 Willson_Contreras_CHN CR-LF
XXXXX 0.50 Dexter_Fowler_CHN CF
XXXXX 0.48 Jorge_Soler_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.38 Addison_Russell_CHN SS

Bryant remained in the top ten rest of the season to win NL MVP which wasn’t nearly as important as receiving the trophy with all the flags on it.

That is all for now.  Minor league extravaganza coming soon.  Until then ….