Cubs Notes: This Offense Is Bad, James Russell Is Bad, Kris Bryant Is Good

Cubs Notes: This Offense Is Bad, James Russell Is Bad, Kris Bryant Is Good

- Here are the batting averages of Chicago's starting nine from yesterday's game, plus the three players used as pinch hitters:

.273 / .264 / .264 / .272 / .206 / .168 / .138 / .143 / .091 / .225 / .184 / .256

Y'all, this team can't hit.

- James Russell has failed to get an out in five of his 20 appearances so far this season, including yesterday's game and his most recent appearance prior to that. One out of every four times he's called upon, he makes things worse, and then leaves. He has more blown saves (2) than he has earned holds (1). He has a WHIP of 1.58 (12 H, 7 BB in 12 IP). He's in the bottom 30 among pitchers when it comes to getting hitters to swing at pitches thrown outside the zone. Jose Veras is 2nd on that list, Grant Balfour is first (5.49 ERA, 8.24 BB/9). Fangraphs' two statistical projection systems currently estimate Russell to be worth about -0.5 wins above replacement by year's end. He's been worth -0.3 so far.

- But hey, those MINOR LEAGUERS!

Javier Baez is now hitting .229/.289/.433 for the season. Since May 17, when Baez homered and walked in the same game, Ednel is hitting .426/.431/.851, with eight doubles and four home runs in 12 games.

In that same span, Arismendy Alcantara has gone 12-for-37, good for a .324/.405/.730, with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs. He also has just 9 K, and 5 BB.

And then there's Kris Bryant. In his last 31 plate appearances (7 games), Kris Bryant has 12 hits -- including 3 doubles and 3 homers -- 9 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Yes, that's just 3 ball-in-play outs in 31 tries. That's a .545/.677/1.091 slash line, a 1.768 OPS, and a .750 BABIP.

- One more thing, from the minors again: as bad as Tennessee's pitching has been, Iowa's rotation has been that good and then some. It's silly to combine the stats of Eric Jokisch, Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, and Tsuyoshi Wada, but screw it, let's just look: those four have a combined K/9 of 8, a BB/9 below 2, and a WHIP of 1.14. And, new addition Dallas Beeler (born in 1989) has looked very sharp, outside of one shellacking against the Nashville Sounds.


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  • Do minor league stats mean anything compared to major league stats? Sure someone can hit the ball if the pitchers in the minors aren't fit to be even Cubs relievers.

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    In reply to jack:

    If that was the case, wouldn't every good hitter be putting up those kinds of numbers?

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Somewhat similar ones, or else the player deserves to be mired somewhere in the minors. There is, for instance, talk that one doesn't see the variety of pitches until at least reaching AAA.

    Maybe there would be context if one had a comparison of the WHIP or some other metric the pitchers facing Baez have.

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    In reply to jack:

    AA pitchers are, by and large, better than AAA pitchers, which sounds counter-intuitive. But many of the guys at AAA are in sort of a limbo and are there to hone control or to bide their time between call-ups. So you have more junk being thrown but typically it's less electric in nature, if that makes sense.

    Either way, it's pretty much all relative. When you lead the league in nearly all the major offensive categories, it's not necessarily some sort of aberration, particularly when you've done the same thing at every other stop of your baseball career.

  • In reply to jack:

    I would say, video game-like minor league numbers do not guarantee major league success, but it's a sign you sure love seeing in your own prospects.

  • AJ great article

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