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.
But if we're being honest here the biggest impediment the Cubs face is that they're probably the 3rd best FO in that division
— Jonathan Bernhardt (@jonbernhardt) March 17, 2014
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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