Chicago Cubs 2019 Season

Few teams are good (better than .500) on the road, but this team needs to improve otherwise I feel like we will be watching another wild card game this year.
For real. We’ve been REALLY good at home this year, but just brutal on the road. Though to be fair, most of our road games have been against good teams. A 7 game stretch at Colorado and LA would be rough for almost any team. We really need to take advantage as our schedule eases up.
 
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Glad to hear the schedule lets up over the next month or so. Crosstown should be fun with the Sox resurging. I honestly didn't feel like the Dodgers were untouchable, but Bellinger is ridiculous. Hoping he cools some, but at this point, I expect him to keep this up.

Relief pitching is still the Cubs bugaboo, Kimbrel will help, but another lefty would really elevate this pen. Or maybe I'm getting greedy.
 
Likes: IanKEvans2
Geneseo, IL
And now we're back to the "we can't score unless we hit a home run" stuff again. I don't know if this team is underachieving or if they are just an ok club.
 
Is Cole Hamels a Hall of Famer?

He's #69 all-time in bWAR. #37 all-time in Ks.

In bWAR, he's already ahead of Three-Finger Brown, Red Ruffing, Whitey Ford and Early Wynn, among other Hall of Famers. If he were to play three more seasons beyond this year to age 38 and earn 10 more bWAR in those 3 and a half season, he'd move into the top 30 in bWAR, passing such players as Hal Newhauser, Jim Bunning, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Dazzy Vance, Bob Feller, Roy Halladay, John Smoltz, Jim Palmer and Don Sutton. More importantly, every single player ahead of him in bWAR would be in the Hall except for Roger Clemons (steroid-using jerk), Curt Schilling (sketchy jerk), and Jim McCormick (dead ball era player nobody remembers).

If he were able to pitch relatively effectively through 2022, he'd also be right at or very near 3k strike outs, probably in the top 20-25 all-time. Add to that, that he's a NLCS and WS MVP with a 3.41 ERA in over 100 post-season innings and has generally been considered a "good guy" with absolutely no off-field funny business and that's a pretty compelling HoF candidacy.

On the negatives, the voters had been extremely hard on starting pitchers recently, not letting guys with similar resumes in. Maybe with the recent selections of Mussina and Halladay, we've turned the corner on that, Schilling and Kevin Brown not making it in due to off-field stuff more than on-field stuff. Still, Hamels will likely be on the ballot with a bunch of guys with similar or even better resumes when he starts to be considered, namely Verlander, Sabathia, Greinke, Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, maybe Jon Lester and a few years later Kershaw, Sale and Bumgarner. Starting about 2029-30, those are going to be some ballots loaded with starting pitchers. And Hamels is distinctly lacking in superlatives outside of his 2008 playoff performance - only 4 all-stars (but probably a 5th on the way this year), never better than 5th in the Cy Young voting. He's also going to struggle to get to 200 wins for those voters who still look at that.

I don't know what it was about those Philly teams Hamels was on, but he has some amazing years where they didn't get him many Ws... '08 - 3.09 ERA in 227 IP, only 14 wins; '10 - 3.06 ERA in 208 IP, only 12 wins; '11 - 2.79 ERA over 216 IP, only 14 wins; '13 - 3.60 ERA over 220 IP, only 8 (!?!?) wins; '14 - 2.46 ERA over 204 IP - only 9 (!?!?) wins. Heck, last year between Texas and the Cubs, he had a 3.78 ERA over 190 innings pitched and only got 9 wins. That's just bizarre. He could have had 16-18 wins in any single one of those seasons and could very easily be sitting at 200 career wins right now.

Although Hamels wasn't the only Phillies pitcher from that era that got seemingly cheated out of wins... Cliff Lee had a 3.11 ERA over 211 innings pitched in 2012 and somehow only got 6 wins.
 
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Is Cole Hamels a Hall of Famer?

He's #69 all-time in bWAR. #37 all-time in Ks.

In bWAR, he's already ahead of Three-Finger Brown, Red Ruffing, Whitey Ford and Early Wynn, among other Hall of Famers. If he were to play three more seasons beyond this year to age 38 and earn 10 more bWAR in those 3 and a half season, he'd move into the top 30 in bWAR, passing such players as Hal Newhauser, Jim Bunning, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Dazzy Vance, Bob Feller, Roy Halladay, John Smoltz, Jim Palmer and Don Sutton. More importantly, every single player ahead of him in bWAR would be in the Hall except for Roger Clemons (steroid-using jerk), Curt Schilling (sketchy jerk), and Jim McCormick (dead ball era player nobody remembers).

If he were able to pitch relatively effectively through 2022, he'd also be right at or very near 3k strike outs, probably in the top 20-25 all-time. Add to that, that he's a NLCS and WS MVP with a 3.41 ERA in over 100 post-season innings and has generally been considered a "good guy" with absolutely no off-field funny business and that's a pretty compelling HoF candidacy.

On the negatives, the voters had been extremely hard on starting pitchers recently, not letting guys with similar resumes in. Maybe with the recent selections of Mussina and Halladay, we've turned the corner on that, Schilling and Kevin Brown not making it in due to off-field stuff more than on-field stuff. Still, Hamels will likely be on the ballot with a bunch of guys with similar or even better resumes when he starts to be considered, namely Verlander, Sabathia, Greinke, Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, maybe Jon Lester and a few years later Kershaw, Sale and Bumgarner. Starting about 2029-30, those are going to be some ballots loaded with starting pitchers. And Hamels is distinctly lacking in superlatives outside of his 2008 playoff performance - only 4 all-stars (but probably a 5th on the way this year), never better than 5th in the Cy Young voting. He's also going to struggle to get to 200 wins for those voters who still look at that.

I don't know what it was about those Philly teams Hamels was on, but he has some amazing years where they didn't get him many Ws... '08 - 3.09 ERA in 227 IP, only 14 wins; '10 - 3.06 ERA in 208 IP, only 12 wins; '11 - 2.79 ERA over 216 IP, only 14 wins; '13 - 3.60 ERA over 220 IP, only 8 (!?!?) wins; '14 - 2.46 ERA over 204 IP - only 9 (!?!?) wins. Heck, last year between Texas and the Cubs, he had a 3.78 ERA over 190 innings pitched and only got 9 wins. That's just bizarre. He could have had 16-18 wins in any single one of those seasons and could very easily be sitting at 200 career wins right now.

Although Hamels wasn't the only Phillies pitcher from that era that got seemingly cheated out of wins... Cliff Lee had a 3.11 ERA over 211 innings pitched in 2012 and somehow only got 6 wins.

Look at Roy Oswalt's vote totals his 1st (and only) year on the ballot, not good. Oswalt had a better peak and a slightly better overall fWAR total (as of now), Hamels has him on longevity and that's basically it (they'll have comparable "wins" totals, but I think votes are past that). Hamels probably has a couple 1-2 win seasons left in him, so that will put him around 55-57 career fWAR, which will ultimately best Oswalts 53 fWAR.

Another 1st timer on the ballot last year was Andy Pettitte. He has that Yankees shine, which helps. He and Hamels had similar peaks, but Pettitte was at the top of his game for longer and ends up well above Hamels in career fWAR (68 for Pettitte). Pettitte only got 9.9% of the vote and will probably stay on the ballot for awhile, but he will likely never break the 75% barrier for election.

Most likely scenario is Hamels gets a few votes on the 1st ballot, ends up under 5% of the total vote, and falls off after 1 year. Best case scenario is they clear out some of the glut on the ballot (all the guys who should just clearly be in already; Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, etc.) and he gets enough votes to stay on the ballot for a few years.

Hall of Very Good pitcher for sure.
 
It’s tough to tell what voters actually think of Petitte. He’s a borderline HoFer already and got caught in the steroid scandal. He doesn’t have near the resume of Schilling, Mussina, Brown, or obviously Clemons, despite playing his entire career for very, very good teams.

His candidacy is very similar to Jack Morris if you replace being a raging jackass with being caught doing steroids.
 
And the Oswalt-Hamels comparison is a good one. Through age 35, they put up almost identical rate stats. Hamels did it in 400 more innings, though.

The difference will be that Oswalt was done pitching at age 35. Hamels is obviously having a very good season and certainly looks like he'll be pitching somewhere next year. Being a serious Hall candidate will require him to continue to be good for at least another three years. He looks like the kind of guy who can do that and certainly has the health track record.

It's strange that it works like this, but the difference between a Hall of Fame pitcher and not a Hall of Fame pitcher tends to be what they do after the age of 35. That's the main thing that separates, say Phil Niekro from Orel Hershiser or Justin Verlander from Dwight Gooden or Randy Johnson from David Cone.

Another good bunch of comparisons is Zack Greinke to Hamels to Jon Lester. They're all 35. They've all pitched near the same number of innings and have put up very similar numbers. Greinke has been best in the regular season, Lester has been amazing in the post-season, and Hamels has split the difference between the two in both cases.
 
And the Oswalt-Hamels comparison is a good one. Through age 35, they put up almost identical rate stats. Hamels did it in 400 more innings, though.

The difference will be that Oswalt was done pitching at age 35. Hamels is obviously having a very good season and certainly looks like he'll be pitching somewhere next year. Being a serious Hall candidate will require him to continue to be good for at least another three years. He looks like the kind of guy who can do that and certainly has the health track record.

It's strange that it works like this, but the difference between a Hall of Fame pitcher and not a Hall of Fame pitcher tends to be what they do after the age of 35. That's the main thing that separates, say Phil Niekro from Orel Hershiser or Justin Verlander from Dwight Gooden or Randy Johnson from David Cone.

Another good bunch of comparisons is Zack Greinke to Hamels to Jon Lester. They're all 35. They've all pitched near the same number of innings and have put up very similar numbers. Greinke has been best in the regular season, Lester has been amazing in the post-season, and Hamels has split the difference between the two in both cases.
Greinke is actually a good delineation line. Greinke is signed through 2021 on his current deal, Hamels will have to get by on a series of 1 year deals after this year, most likely, but lets just assume both pitch through their age 37 season (2021). Greinke probably ends up with a career fWAR in the mid 60s, Hamels mid to high 50s. Greinke had the higher 8 year peak with 39 fWAR from 2008 through 2015 (compared to 35 fWAR from Hamels over that same 8 year peak) and has the best "elite" year (2009, in which he probably should have been MVP alongside CY). He has 67 post season innings with a 3.83 FIP compared to Hamels 100 postseason innings with a 3.69 FIP and WS MVP (not sure how much that matters to voters). And this leaves out his hitting, which probably doesn't matter, but he's put up 5 fWAR as a hitter over his career.

I have a feeling Greinke is going to be one of the guys who holds on the ballot for awhile, maybe eclipses 75% in his later 10th+ year on the ballot, or if a weak year comes along.

Lester is a pretty big step behind those guys, value wise.
 
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
ICYMI - Alzolay has been called up and will be available to relieve Chatwood tonight at some point.
 
ICYMI - Alzolay has been called up and will be available to relieve Chatwood tonight at some point.
Nice!

I'm submitting "Adbert" as the coolest first name on the Cubs roster. He definitely is in the competition for coolest last name, but it's much less clear cut.
 
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A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
Nice!

I'm submitting "Adbert" as the coolest first name on the Cubs roster. He definitely is in the competition for coolest last name, but it's much less clear cut.
I didn't realize until last night that it is pronounced Ad-Behr. No matter how you pronounce it, he struckout 5 in 4 innings and got the win. That's a quality debut in my opinion.
 
I didn't realize until last night that it is pronounced Ad-Behr. No matter how you pronounce it, he struckout 5 in 4 innings and got the win. That's a quality debut in my opinion.
After walking the first batter he faced, he sat down something like 11/12 afterwards. Really need him to eventually be a big league starter. He showed he's more than capable last night.
 
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
After walking the first batter he faced, he sat down something like 11/12 afterwards. Really need him to eventually be a big league starter. He showed he's more than capable last night.
Yeah - he actually walked 2 last night, but I'm gonna chalk that up to first game nerves. He had a 46-6 K-BB rate this year in the minors.
 
Geneseo, IL
If the Cubs keep stumbling around like this, I wonder if Maddon is safe. Heard a few snippets from Epstein on the SCORE the other day and he doesn't seem to enjoy the way this is going.
 
If the Cubs keep stumbling around like this, I wonder if Maddon is safe. Heard a few snippets from Epstein on the SCORE the other day and he doesn't seem to enjoy the way this is going.
He’s in the last year of his contract. I can’t believe they’d fire him mid-season as long as they’re in the hunt, but the way things are going, I don’t see him coming back next year.
 
This team has long been worse than the sum of it's parts. I don't think Maddon is a bad manager, I'd even say he's probably top half of the league. But it's really hard to not criticize some of the moves he makes.

That being said, they wont fire him, and barring another WS, I think he's departing after the season.
 
Geneseo, IL
This team has long been worse than the sum of it's parts. I don't think Maddon is a bad manager, I'd even say he's probably top half of the league. But it's really hard to not criticize some of the moves he makes.

That being said, they wont fire him, and barring another WS, I think he's departing after the season.
I pretty much agree with you, especially about the total being less than the sum of its parts. But isn't that a reflection of the manager? I don't think Theo deserves a pass either. I give him an "A" for his time with the Cubs up until 2016. Since then he gets about a "D."
 
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
I pretty much agree with you, especially about the total being less than the sum of its parts. But isn't that a reflection of the manager? I don't think Theo deserves a pass either. I give him an "A" for his time with the Cubs up until 2016. Since then he gets about a "D."
Yeah - the Quintana trade continues to look worse by the start.