Can Cubs Front Office Still Exploit Market Inefficiencies? (part 3)

Can Cubs Front Office Still Exploit Market Inefficiencies? (part 3)

Here is part one and part two of this series.

Platoon Advantage
A lot has been written about the Cubs top hitting prospects, but a common concern is the lack of left-handed bats in this elite group. This might actually be an advantage that the Cubs front office can exploit. The explosion in lefty specialists and teams being able to match up quality left-handed pitchers against lefty bats was analyzed by Baseball America. The research found that lefty bats lost one hundred points of OPS, as compared to righty bats losing only fifty points, when facing pitchers without the platoon advantage. Cubs fans are certainly familiar with this phenomenon in Anthony Rizzo.

The Baseball America article pointed out a trend that I suggested might swing the other way a few months ago. I suggested that teams might go back to using multi-inning relievers in order to lengthen their bench. The Baseball America article points out that seeking the platoon advantage on the pitching side might be more beneficial. The current roster construction often means that a bench consists of no more than four usable pinch hitters. That means that pinch hitting for starting position players is going to remain difficult. The Cubs might gain a sneaky advantage by being a righty-dominant lineup. That does not mean that it would be good to have eight right-handed bats, but the need to have absolute balance in the lineup might be overstated by some (including myself).

There is so much available to the front offices of major league teams that we just do not have access to at this point. That is, unless someone managed to hack into the Astros’ Ground Control. I find it interesting though that evidence suggests that the Cubs are not gaining any advantages yet, though I have no doubt that the front office is working tirelessly to find those advantages. The Cubs are using tremendous amounts of information, but, frankly, all organizations are attempting to do that.


At the time of reading this tweet I was taken aback by it. The biggest reason being that I couldn't disagree with it. The division has very strong front offices and the Cubs eventual chances to be a contender involve being able to leverage financial advantages that other clubs in the division don't have. The unfortunate thing is that the Cub's front office doesn't appear to be on the cutting edge like Tampa or Oakland.

I do still believe the Cubs will succeed eventually with this plan, but I am starting to rethink my near absolute faith in that belief. Theo Epstein appears to be a bit out of step with forward-thinking front office folks like Andrew Freidman, the one GM I wanted over Epstein at the time. Ultimately, the success of this franchise depends on developing young impact talent. That situation has remained the same in the past two years.


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  • The tweet was "in that division." Hence, Tampa and Oakland aren't relevant; St. Louis and some other one are. I'm not sure what the other one is, but St. Louis hasn't had to wait for their minor league system to produce.

  • I am aware that tweet was referencing within the division. As a point of clarification, the author of the tweet cites Jockety with the Reds as the other front office he would clearly take. I included it in the conclusion because I was truly surprised when I could not refute that statement.

    The reason I talk about Oakland and Tampa is because those franchises have been on the cutting edge of new market inefficiencies. Before I started researching this topic, I would have figured that the new front office regime was closer to those franchises than the reality of the situation. Hence, why the Cubs ultimately will need to spend to make up the disadvantage they suffer in the starting point and front offices with teams within the division. That does not necessarily mean that a period like this was not needed given the lack of impact talent in prime years available in free agency. The St. Louis model is not something that could really be duplicated in short order given the realities of the franchise in 2011.

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    Levine says the Tigers are scouting Barney and Schierholtz.

  • Would fill needs and if money is an issue for the Tigers would fit budget. Would be interesting to see if the Cubs are moving some of their depth pieces to open roles for players that were brought in this offseason.

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