Cubs Pitching Suddenly Good? Let's Play a Numbers Game

Cubs Pitching Suddenly Good? Let's Play a Numbers Game

Okay here's how you play the game.

Go to Fangraphs. Hover over "Teams" in the menu bar. Click "Cubs." Switch to pitchers. Click the "Pitch F/X" option in the sub-menu. Then click "Velocity," and sort by vFA.

Here's the top 12 that you get:

  1. Neil Ramirez
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Justin Grimm
  4. Hector Rondon
  5. Jake Arrieta
  6. Pedro Strop
  7. Edwin Jackson
  8. Jason Hammel
  9. Brian Schlitter
  10. Zac Rosscup
  11. Blake Parker
  12. Travis Wood

Interesting, right? Of the 17 guys who have thrown a pitch for the Cubs this year, there's your top 12. Sorting this way bumps four current Cubs and one minor leaguer off the "list," whatever this list is supposed to represent: Carlos Villanueva, Jose Veras, Chris Rusin, James Russell, and Wesley Wright.

So yeah, what is this list supposed to represent? I guess I think it's interesting that Ramirez, Arrieta, Schlitter, Rosscup, and Parker are all young guys with few major league innings to each of their names to date, and yet they're all positioned nicely on this list. And then there are Grimm, Rondon, Strop, and Hammel -- recent acquisitions that are quickly having a positive impact on the team thus far.

In order to take a losing franchise and make it a winner, you have to be at least a little bit clever (see: grabbing Rondon in the Rule 5 draft, nabbing Ramirez as a PTBNL for Garza). But there are also a few simple rules in baseball that even a lifelong fan who loathes sabermetrics could tell you -- e.g., give me 12 guys that can throw a good fastball and I'll win you some games.


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