The First Hundred
Everything truly is a matter of perspective. The proverbial glass being half full or half empty that is the Cubs 2019 first half is a perfect object lesson. The Cubs limped into the break with a 10-16 record since June 9 but still somehow in first place. The president of the team promising massive changes if things don't improve highlights how misleading the standings feel at the moment. There is some bad luck, bad sequencing, or bad whatever we presently can't measure but explains why baseball does what it does going on with the Cubs seasons. The Cubs runs, runs allowed, and other indicators suggest a team with wasted potential. And it seems like most perspectives you take leave you with that conclusion about the Cubs first half.
Stars and Scrubs Another Look
As stated at the outset, perspective matters a lot, and the vast amount of information at our disposal within instants means that one can wield a mount of information and facts to support a perspective. That is not to say that there is no such thing as truth, but developing an epistemology of truth is a bit beyond the scope of this post. Rather that by using a single statistic, I can develop a pretty effective case for the Cubs being an example of a stars and scrubs lineup.
The measure that I am going to use is wOBA. To put it simply it is a on base percentage that is weighted for how a player reaches base. As we instinctively know a double is worth more than a single, it has a calculated value in wOBA that is higher than a mere base knock. This is a simple but effective single measure for offense. It is not perfect, but it is a nice all encompassing offensive stat to use for easy analysis.
If we look at the Cubs ranking by position using this measure we can see the stars and scrubs lineup appear quite easily.
The chart paints a vastly different picture than the one in yesterday's post. The Cubs are in the bottom half of baseball in offensive production by position for as many spots as they are getting top 5 production. Two of the positions that rank in the top half also are actually producing very little comparatively. Both Pitchers and Centerfielders rank 12th in baseball but their offensive production is last and fourth to last as well. So those higher marks are more based on being less terrible at the dish than the average at bat from that position.
Return of Federalist #30
In the comments a couple of days ago Jon Jay was brought up as a possible trade target, and as a low cost target he does make a lot of sense. Jay is a good clubhouse presence and would certainly fit in with the team he was a part of just a couple of years ago. And his skill set as a top of the order table-setter with above average bat to ball skills is something the lineup needs.
Jon Jay has only managed to play in ten games for the White Sox this year. He has spent most of the year on the injured list, but his slash line while healthy is certainly intriguing at .286/.350/.343. The White Sox wouldn't seem to have much need for the free agent to be Jay at this point. The odds of a playoff push are very slim on the Southside, and there are a number of options pushing for playing time more interesting long term for the White Sox than Jay.
The biggest question would be the cost. The White Sox would certainly be capable of keeping Jay through the remainder of the year. He is unlikely to net the team anything but his veteran presence around a young team is not nothing for the White Sox. That said the cost for rental bats recently on the trade market has been pathetically low for the selling teams. Impact bats have been dealt without any serious prospects being moved recently and Jay is certainly not an impact bat.
If you could get Jay for cheap, the question is how to make him fit into the roster puzzle. The Cubs have had issues with production throughout the outfield, but who do you sit if you acquire Jay? The obvious place would be at the expense of at bats for Schwarber, but there is no guarantee that Jay's offensive production will be higher. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that it will be significantly lower, and instead the only benefit would be changing the "type" of production.
Jay is an interesting piece, and one of those pesky hitters that seem important to have, come playoff time. I have no sources to suggest this is anything the Cubs are even considering, but in terms of fits it makes a lot of sense. And only 30% of this want is based on my ability to make more 18th century political history references.
Cubs Common Denominator Lineup
I got my winning streak by managing to sneak three by the denizens. The lineup yesterday was a bit morbid of a selection. The nine players name all share a link with a serial killer.
|1||Turner Barber||RF||Gilbert Paul Jordan known as the "Boozing Barber"|
|2||Tuffy Rhodes||CF||Robert Ben Rhoades|
|3||Jose Hernandez||SS||Juan Carlos Hernández|
|4||Luis Gonzalez||LF||Delfina and María de Jesús González|
|5||Ripper Collins||1B||Atlanta Ripper among many, many other Rippers|
|6||Willie Greene||3B||Gary Ridgway known as the "Green River Killer"|
|7||Herb Hunter||2B||The Skin Hunters|
|8||Dave Rader||C||Dennis Rader|
|9||Rodrigo Lopez||Pitcher||Pedro López|
Here is your next puzzle.
|9||Claude Passeau||Pitcher||2.96 ERA||754 K||474 BB||124 Wins||94 Losses|
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