Cubs Status 8/17/2019

After several heart breaking losses it appears the Cubs are tanking.  Since we haven’t done this in 10 days let’s step back from the ledge and look at Cubs status moving forward because the past is water under the bridge.

CHN Team Status

Tm W L BAT PITCH UR
CHN 61 52 11.8 55.8 3.4 20190807
CHN 64 58 8.8 52.9 2.5 20190817

Cubs went 3-6 losing 3 games in the last 10 days which is very bad for a team hoping to make the playoffs let alone one that wants to win it all.  Surprisingly both BAT and PITCH remained relatively stable.  Ian Happ’s funny error is probably the reason for the slight drop in UR which is still decent.  Could be worse.

NL Central 20190817

Tm W L BAT PITCH UR
SLN 64 56 -58.2 77.9 8.5
CHN 64 58 8.8 52.9 2.5
MIL 63 59 -13.2 -12.9 6.5
CIN 57 64 -40.7 44.8 16.5
PIT 51 70 -18.2 -49.0 -19.5

Cubs in second behind St. Louis who have very weak hitting based upon runs scored.  Their pitching is compensating however and the MLB Commish only cares about the W/L columns — not run differential.

CHN  5 year split

Date WAA BAT PITCH UR
20150817 18 -25.7 58.4 -0.3
20160817 33 63.8 128.6 10.0
20170817 6 18.8 39.3 -8.7
20180817 21 38.4 44.8 7.1
20190817 6 8.8 52.9 2.5

This table shows comparison of today’s status with that of the last 4 years.  Team 2019 is now tied with Team 2017 although the trends are reversed.  This means if you’re in “the trend is your friend don’t buck the trend” camp Team 2019 is in trouble.  Team 2017 was trending up right now.   If you’re in the Fangraphs favorite; “regress to the mean” camp then there is hope for Team 2019 and throw cold water on Team 2017.   Since we’re from the future Team 2017 follows trend is your friend through the end of that season.  CUbs fans are hoping for regress to the mean for the next 6 weeks.

CHN Tiers

Type Name_TeamID Tier #
Lineups 0.43
SP Yu_Darvish_CHN 0.21
SP Cole_Hamels_CHN 1.04
SP Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 2.23
SP Jon_Lester_CHN -0.34
SP Jose_Quintana_CHN 0.44
Relief 0.09

This table shows tier numbers for lineups, starters, and relief.  Hendricks and Hamels down from past reports, Quintana and Darvish up, even steven.  Lester pitches today so maybe he can start something.

Lineup is down from earlier in the year.  At 0.09 Relief is actually even steven but that’s because Cubs got Kintzler back and got rid of some negative value.  Ironically Team 2017 relief carried Cubs first half and tanked the second.  Team 2019 Cubs relief has been pretty mediocre all season.

CHN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+048+ 3.78 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 136.3
+127+ 2.21 Cole_Hamels_CHN 109.7
XXXXX 1.41 Jose_Quintana_CHN 135.7
XXXXX 1.11 Yu_Darvish_CHN 139.0
XXXXX 0.38 Jon_Lester_CHN 128.0
Total 8.89 0.562

Hendricks has been a rock solid pitcher every year for the Cubs since 2016.  Lester has potential to finish strong like he did last season.

CHN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+124+ 2.23 Brandon_Kintzler_CHN 46.7
XXXXX 1.32 Kyle_Ryan_CHN 46.0
XXXXX 0.84 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN 57.3
XXXXX 0.71 Rowan_Wick_CHN 16.7
XXXXX 0.65 David_Phelps_CHN 22.3
XXXXX 0.15 Duane_Underwood_CHN 3.3
XXXXX -0.63 Pedro_Strop_CHN 29.7
-110- -2.04 Derek_Holland_CHN 75.7
Total 3.23 0.549

This is a completely mediocre relief staff — still — even after blowing several games in the 9th inning.

CHN Hitters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+042+ 3.93 Javier_Baez_CHN SS
+125+ 2.21 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+143+ 2.04 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-RF-LF
XXXXX 0.80 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.80 Ian_Happ_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.08 David_Bote_CHN 3B-2B
XXXXX -0.27 Victor_Caratini_CHN CR
XXXXX -0.73 Tony_Kemp_CHN 2B-LF-CF
XXXXX -0.78 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF-CF
XXXXX -0.82 Addison_Russell_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX -0.86 Jonathan_Lucroy_CHN CR
XXXXX -1.68 Nicholas_Castellanos_CHN RF-DH
Total 4.72 0.521

Baez having another stellar year but not as good as last season and not MVP worthy yet.  He’s almost exactly where Christian Yelich was on this day last season.

Christian_Yelich_MIL LF-RF-CF

YEAR Rank WAA
20181001 +005+ 8.40
20180927 +009+ 7.48
20180923 +012+ 6.59
20180919 +011+ 6.24
20180915 +013+ 5.86
20180911 +018+ 5.59
20180907 +016+ 5.69
20180903 +014+ 5.73
20180830 +016+ 5.12
20180826 +030+ 4.12
20180822 +030+ 3.97
20180818 +035+ 3.72

You have to read this from bottom up right now.  Ranks in this model are among both pitchers and batters so being Ranked #5 at the end of 2018 still made him the top ranked NL hitter.  The above shows it was quite a run Yelich had making it very possible for Baez.    Cubs need some players streaking like this now if they want any shot of contending in the playoffs.

Since Castellanos came to CHN with such negative value we’ll be on Castellanos watch for awhile to further demonstrate what these numbers mean and how this model works.  Negative value reflects the past and Castellanos put up negative value for DET and part of the reason why they have a real team WAA of -45.  Whether Castellanos was partly at fault for that or a mere victim of circumstance is unknown to all.  He had a good season last year, decent game stats this year, and is very young.

Player acquisition is a skill few people can do successfully which is why it’s so hard for some teams to break free from the cellar year after year (hello CHA!) even employing highly paid General Managers and staff.  I am not qualified to do that job.  This model merely shows an accurate representation of the past.  If a GM is evaluating an acquisition thinking a player’s past was good or great when that player actually ( Joe Maddon’s word ) sucked, then they are basing their decision on a shaky foundation.

WAA for players in this model can go up as fast as it can go down.  Here’s a progression of Castellanos since the Cubs acquired him.

Nicholas_Castellanos_CHN RF-DH

YEAR Rank WAA
0801 -068- -2.12
0805 -133- -2.27
0809 XXXXX -1.39
0813 XXXXX -1.53
0817 XXXXX -1.68

He gained let’s say 0.5 WAA in around 2 weeks which is very good.  If you extrapolate that over a 6 month season ( which you shouldn’t ) that’s 12 weeks time 0.5 equals +6 WAA for a season.  This would rank him in the top 25 MLB players by end of season — if he could play like this for 6 months straight — which only 25 out of >1000 MLB players can each season.

Baseball has ebbs and flows that affect players as well as entire teams.  The Catellanos gamble is paying dividends right now.

That is all.  Blast from the past playoff horse races coming next.  Until then.