Guest Post: A look back at the 2012 season

The following is a guest post from Alex Walsh.  You may know Alex from the Cubs blog 'Goat Riders of the Apocalypse".  He has also written for Major League Trade Rumors.  We are pleased to have him contribute another great article, this one looking back on some of the positives of the 2012 season.  You can follow Alex on Twitter @ajwalsh08.


Well, here we are. All 162 games have been played. Wasn't that just a hoot?

The Cubs sucked at everything this year. They weren't even the best at losing!

But now that all the games have been played I can go into good ol'
Fangraphs and see if I can't find some redeeming stats out of all of
this. Off the top of my head, I know of a few places to look.

Let's start with the offense.

1. Alfonso Soriano had a career year!

WAIT. No he didn't. I mean, it was a great year -- .262/.322/.499 will
get you where you need to go, any day of the week. But look at last
year's slash line: .244/.289/.469. See anything weird? Indeed, each of
this year's rates is about 30 points better than last year. It's
almost as if a few of last year's outs turned into singles this year.
If only there were a way of knowing if that were the case?

Soriano's 2011 BABIP: .266. In 2012: .303.

To be sure, it wasn't all luck. His BB% was up from 5.3 to 7.2
(although his K rate increased too), and his ISO was a bit higher (12
points). And I don't mean for this to be a rag on the guy; what I
really mean to show is he's actually still a good hitter, and ought to
find a competitive team to play for in the offseason. Look at his
slash line since 2010: .255/.312/.489. That's an OPS above .800. This
wasn't a resurgence; this is who he is -- a guy with big power and
just enough hit to be consistently dangerous.

2. What about Starlin Castro?

Maybe you are worried. Isn't this guy supposed to be a superstar?

I think we can at least stop being so worried about one part of his
game, and that's defense. Despite some struggle at the year's start, I
think we can all agree things were much better this year compared to
last. He is improving.

Now how about the bat? Castro had a really rough summer, including a
.235 average in the month of July. What the hell?

I am not alone in thinking that Castro changed his approach at the
plate midseason this year. In fact I think an established beat writer
may have reported on it at some point. Anyways, let's look at a few

ISO by month: .100, .148, .145, .173, .144, .164. Eh, better I guess.
ISO by half: .131, .165. K.

Other first half notables: 16/10 SB/CS, 61/12 K/BB
Other second half notables: 9/3 SB/CS, 39/24 K/BB

He's certainly on the path toward an .800 OPS season. Maybe it happens
next year.

3. Other notes: David DeJesus doing what he was paid to do (.350 OBP),
Darwin Barney still not hitting (75 wRC+) but obviously quite good
with the glove; nice age 22 season for Anthony Rizzo (he needs to
improve on his .178 ISO and I think he will); be wary of Welington
Castillo (.348 BABIP, .263/.360/.355 in September); what to do with
BJax and JV?

4. Can you name the three Cub pitchers with K/BBs of at least 3? They
were Jeff Samardzija, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza. Across MLB, there
were 148 pitchers with at least 20 IP that managed K/BB ratios of 3 or

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  • The first major free agent domino has fallen. Izturis signed with Toronto. Let the floodgates open.

  • I wrote that they were getting close in the thread. I don't know if I'd call him major, but he's a good, versatile, part time player.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry, John. Just my sarcastic side coming out.

  • Ha! It went right over my head. I was wondering about that "major" FA comment :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Anibal Sanchez was originally drafted by Boston. Any chance the Cubs make a run at him?

  • I think they would have had his price not gone up the way it has. They'll probably be outbid for a team that's closer to winning and can justify spending more to get a guy like Sanchez who is in the middle of his prime.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think the Cubs can justify someone like Sanchez to try to put a competitive team out there now and with an eye for the future - he's only 28. If they don't think they want to make a shot at being competitive, then it'll be Let's Suck for #1 Again". Being competitive doesn't mean buying an all star at every position. Let's move up a rung or two in our division, with Houston gone, we're a lock at last place.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Well put. More than likely the Cubs will have to overpay for any free agent they sign, so the younger the better. As long as they don't include no-trade clauses in contracts it shouldn't be a problem. They have the resources.

  • fb_avatar

    I like that deal a lot more than the contract Minny handed out to Jamey Carroll last year, who signed for 2.75 mil at age 38, 3.75 mil at 39, plus 2 mil at 40 or a 250k buyout.

    Izturis gets 9 mil total for his age 32/33/34 seasons. Plus a 3 mil option, buyout not known yet, for age 35. He's a solid, not great player, but 3 mil is a pretty fair price for him. Not outrageous but not a bargain.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Especially if he plays SS, then I think it's a great deal. Guessing Escobar is on his way out.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. The free agent SS market is pretty weak other than Drew and Scutaro. Oakland was rumored to maybe have interest in Escobar. I would pass on him. Another attitude guy wearing out his welcome with multiple teams.

  • fb_avatar

    BTW, nice post by Alex.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Yes, Alex does good stuff and I'll have to say he was very brave looking back into the past when so many are trying to gaze into the future.

  • Yeesh, Barney with a 75 RC+. Forget what a disappointing offensive year he had with his defensive streak. Little worse than last year even, despite him coming into spring training all beefed up and trying to drive the ball more. Seemed to do it in patches and then give up on it in patches.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    That's a bit harsh!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    How so? I think he'd admit it himself.

  • fb_avatar

    Ok guys, I've seen some pretty dumb stuff written by tribune writers, but this is, by far, the worst thing i've read from a so called "professional" Journalist.,0,3734225.column

    Phil Rogers thinks the cubs should trade Castro straight up for Upton because of the presence of Baez makes him expendable. Do I even need to explain why that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for this team? What makes me angrier is that guys like this get paid to write this crap while people like John write quality material day-in-and-day-out for free.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I saw that... probably one of the dumbest thing I've ever read.
    Maybe if they thew in Miley I'd listen. Or not.

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