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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, May 21, 2018


After a couple of weeks facing the pitching staffs from the Marlins, White Sox, and Reds, a bunch of guys’ numbers are looking a whole lot better than before.  Going into the Reds series, Rizzo, Baez, and Happ all were tied with a .301 OBP.  Afterwards, Happ is all the way up to .361 (I personally demoted him to Iowa before this series), while Baez and Rizzo are down to .299 and .297, respectively. 

Anyway, to the categories.

Bryant - one of the quieter MVP pushes I can remember in some time.  He’s at .305/.427/.583, and just kind of steadily plugging along, carrying the offense.  His K-rate is down again; from his rookie year to now he’s gone 30.6%, 22%, 19.2%, and now 15.7%.  Just amazing.
Russell - in May, he’s slashing .281/.388/.421; more importantly, his K-rate is at a career low - 20.4% - and his BB-rate is at a career high - 11.7%.  The power is trailing a little, but I think it’ll come and I’d expect a big second half from him (unless he’s traded for Machado).
Contreras - he was pretty quiet in Cincinnati, but his May line is .295/.368/.590.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but his K-rate is also at a career low so far, 17.5%.  Which is actually pretty impressive, since he struck out about every other AB the first couple of weeks.  They mentioned this during one of the games, but he’s hitting .293/.376/.500 with 2 strikes (and hitting .375 on 0-2 counts). 
Almora - .348/.415/.457 in May.  I still don’t really like him hitting leadoff (just a personal preference), but in the 2 spot I think I like.  The best part from his is a career high (including minors) BB-rate at 8.8%.
Happ - it mostly is just one series, but that was a helluva series (.455/.700/.1.364). 
Lester - the Ks are down some and the BBs are up a little from last year, so it might be a mirage, but the hits and HRs are down and the way he going to continue to succeed is going to be mostly through trickery (and control). 
Darvish - he looked a lot better this 2 starts, post flu.  The first inning was rough yesterday, but per my flawed memory he seems to be doing a better job of hitting his spots.  I also liked Quintana’s last start and Chatwood only walking a couple against the Barves was impressive, but those are only 1 start each.
Bullpen - like Lester, the underlying numbers are as pretty - especially the walks - but everyone (outside of Wilson’s last appearance) has been doing what they need to, if you’ll give me a pass to sound all narrativey for a moment.  I’m a little worried about some guys’ usage, so I’m still 100% behind them at least being extremely conservative with Morrow for now. 
Run Differential - a few bad losses aside, they’re in great shape. 

Baez - had a nice little game yesterday after getting benched for the 2nd game of the DH, but still only hitting .278/.276/.526 with 30K since his last walk (4/11; 31 games).  I mean, that’s a perfectly fine line, and it’ll look worse if I shortened the starting point, but he’s had some really terrible games or ABs and I continue to advocate for putting him at the bottom of the order and leaving him alone.
Rizzo - it’s gotta be his back, right?  It’s still bothering home, or at least I hope it is (in the sense that it explains this).  As I posted in the comments of the last thread, he’s hitting the ball hard and is pretty unlucky - except when runners are on.  His clutch and high leverage stats are just ugly.
Hendricks - mainly I’m concerned about his HR problem.  It’s up from last year, which was also up a bunch from the prior years.  His Ks are down, but so are his walks. 
Caratini - it’s got to be hard to hit when you play as sporadically as he’s playing, but .266/.309/.313 is still pretty underwhelming. 
Schwarber - homered yesterday, for the first time since 4/26, and he hit .200/.362/.327 in that timeframe (that line actually includes yesterday), with only 3 RBIs (two were yesterday on the homer).  Considering he’s always hitting 5th or 6th, that few RBIs are interesting to say the least. 

Still not talking about it
Heyward - I hope he’s healthy, but…wasn’t it nice not having to watch him play for the week+ he was gone?  I even found a way to be annoyed at his “triple” the other night; he jogged out of the box and most of the way to first.  Had he run hard from the start, that was an inside the park grand slam.  I found it interesting that yesterday he started in CF and Happ in RF; I don’t know if that’s more of a comment on Happ’s defense in CF or if Maddon wants Happ to get more comfortable in RF.  Right now, Heyward would just be the 5th OF; Almora would play nearly everyday in CF, and Happ/Schwarber/Zo would split time in the corners.  Heyward can have an occasional start in CF and is just late inning PR/DEF.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:18 PM | 201 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 11, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5689956)
And doing so again.
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