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Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Two-Week Season: The Dale Sveum Chicago Cubs

Then Sveum said, ‘Let us make the Cubs in my image, in my likeness’

But if you combined all the Cubs’ offensive stats from two weeks into the season to form a single player? Well, we’ve got almost enough stats to Frankenstein together our own utility player, even if all he is really good for is moaning “Fire bad!” and occasionally pinch hitting for Brent Lillibridge.

So far this season, the Cubs have amassed about 400 plate appearances, 11 homers, 35 runs, a 23.9% strikeout rate and a 5.5% walk rate (these numbers are offensive, of course, and, yes, I mean that in multiple ways). All that and more is good for a .635 OPS and a .275 wOBA. In case you’re wondering, no, the Cubs position players have not yet attained replacement-level production yet. With positional, fielding, and baserunning adjustments factored in, they’re worth 0.1 wins below a replacement level player. So that’s awesome.

So I used baseball-reference.com’s play index to find a player in recent history who had posted a season similar to what the Cubs have accomplished so far this year as a team, and the result was mildly interesting. The player who most closely resembles your 2013 Chicago Cubs to date:

Dale Sveum…

Repoz Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, history, sabermetrics

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   1. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4413663)
This is a fun little article, if one with an unpleasant reminder about just how bad this Cubs team is offensively.
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 14, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4413691)
Yeah, they're bad. But they have a ways to go before they are Pitsburgh or Miami bad. The Marlins have scored 19 runs in 11 games. The Pirates have a 41 team OPS+.
   3. salajander Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4413931)
Forty-one?!
   4. Brian C Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4413932)
Yeah, both the Marlins and the Pirates have a higher team OBP than their team SLG. And their OBPs are both really awful.

(As is the Cubs' .271 OBP, but at least the Cubs have hit a decent number of HR, unlike those two other teams.)
   5. salajander Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4413971)
Pirates have 13 hits so far today so I expect that OPS+ will go up a smidge.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 14, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4414073)
one thing that made sveum unique was his ability to blow a bubble gum bubble mid-play

I saw him do that several times where he would be blowing a bubble with his bubble gum while making a play

it was impressive
   7. Curse of the Andino Posted: April 14, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4414110)
I saw him do that several times where he would be blowing a bubble with his bubble gum while making a play


Adam Jones does that in the OF. Actually, he just spat out some sunflower seed husks yesterday when making a catch.
   8. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4414188)
Lucky for him, he didn't do any of that the other night on that dropped catch.
   9. jdennis Posted: April 15, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4414250)
wow, dale sveum played full seasons? i remember him as like a backup to all-stars, a guy who played like ten games a year.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: April 15, 2013 at 12:53 AM (#4414253)
hmmmm.... more than one Sveum in baseball history. And he's the cousin of John Olerud. But, yeah, he was a legit prospect at one point and a decent-ish player as long as he could handle SS. He was also a much worse hitter than I remember.

As to the Cubs ... c'mon now, it's time for them to stop messing around. Somebody please start working with Castro on pitch recognition. His standard 5% walk rate is horrible enough but he's got 0 in 49 PA so far this year. Templeton was supposed to be the downside. If he was hitting 320 or putting up 200-point ISO that would be one thing.

According to fangraphs, in his first couple of seasons he swung at about 1/3 of the pitches outside the strike zone. Last year it was 37%, so far this year it's 41%. Even worse he's making plenty of contact on those pitches. Things are not going in the right direction.

He won't develop as a hitter if he won't take a walk -- we all know this, what are the Cubs doing about it?
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 15, 2013 at 07:48 AM (#4414296)
He won't develop as a hitter if he won't take a walk -- we all know this, what are the Cubs doing about it?

Giving him the long-term financial security needed for Castro to completely ignore them.

Seriously, though, his patience and power went up a touch in the second half last year (at the expense of BA) following the firing of Jaramillo. So I think they are trying things with Castro's approach even if it's not apparent what they might be in 49 PAs.
   12. TomH Posted: April 15, 2013 at 07:52 AM (#4414299)
hey, Bryce Harper can't walk, either. Maybe the Cubs will take him off the Nats hands as a favor....
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 15, 2013 at 08:26 AM (#4414319)
if sveum doesn't break his leg his second full season I think he has a solid career. he could play and you could tell he was getting better.

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