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
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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