Chicago Cubs 2020 Season

Hitting lefties is still a major issue with this team, but always encouraging to win games against lesser opponents.
 
Hitting lefties is still a major issue with this team, but always encouraging to win games against lesser opponents.
The big issue re: lefties is power. And that's simply a sign of Contreras and Baez slumping and Bryant being hurt. That should self-correct assuming Baez and Contreras find their normal selves and Bryant eventually comes back healthy (which might not be until the playoffs, unfortunately).
 
The big issue re: lefties is power. And that's simply a sign of Contreras and Baez slumping and Bryant being hurt. That should self-correct assuming Baez and Contreras find their normal selves and Bryant eventually comes back healthy (which might not be until the playoffs, unfortunately).
The Cubs have been much worse against lefties since 2016. How much it really matters is debatable, but it was a major problem for them last year and it hasn't gotten better.

Contreras, Baez, and Bryant--aka 3 of our top 5 players slumping/under performing/injured is a bad place for any team to be in. But you're right, they are all capable of hitting lefties consistently and them being down is hurting an already weak aspect of the Cubs.
 
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Cubs trade deadline shopping list:

1. Tony Watson - a high leverage lefty. Exactly what the bullpen needs.

2. Kevin Pillar - still an above average defender at all three OF positions. OK bat that can hit left handers. Basically an Almora replacement.

3. Mike Clevinger - yeah he showed extremely poor judgment. But if the Indians are really shipping him, the Cubs must kick the tires on this one considering the state of the rotation post-2020. I don’t know what it would take in prospects, but anything given up would be balanced out to some degree by the fact that the Cubs would be saved from making a high-priced free agent signing with likely draft pick penalties this off-season.
 
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Houston, Texas
I don’t care about the runs given up. Mainly scored off of two rusty guys coming off the IL.

But 4 hit by the worst - bar none - pitching staff in baseball? Yeee-uck!
I care about the runs given up.
 
Houston, Texas
When do they pull the plug in Kimbrel? Or is he relegated to 7th inning with Jeffress and Wick sharing the 9th?
 
Houston, Texas
Cubs add Cameron Maybin and two lefty relievers. Almora down and two others DFA.
 
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Q looking good to start off his season. We'll need him as our 4th as I dont see Mills cutting it in the playoffs as a starter.
 
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Ian Happ just looks like he owns the batters box this year. That kid is oozing confidence at the moment. He and *gulp* Jason Heyward have been the best players on the team. (Excluding the magnificent Yu) If the "stars" of the team start playing anything like we expect, should be a fun month. Nice to see KB come out and get a couple knocks.
 
Ian Happ just looks like he owns the batters box this year. That kid is oozing confidence at the moment.
It would be awesome if Happ could solve the Cubs’ perpetual CF/lead off hitter problem. At least for the next three or four years.

Even taking into account the Cubs’ undistinguished history in this regard, it’s pretty crazy that he’s now the franchise all-time leader in home runs for a switch hitter at age 25.

I was pretty critical of how the team handled Happ last season, especially in relation to the kid gloves they used with Almora. I’m wondering now if they knew what they were doing. Or maybe this was a bone of contention between Maddon and the front office.

Either way, since being called back up... 93 games .282/.374/.600, 21 HR, 52 RBI, 152 OPS+. All Star verging on MVP level performance. If I had any criticism, it’d be that I’d like to see a guy with his speed steal more.
 
Houston, Texas
Either way, since being called back up... 93 games .282/.374/.600, 21 HR, 52 RBI, 152 OPS+. All Star verging on MVP level performance. If I had any criticism, it’d be that I’d like to see a guy with his speed steal more.
Walks and strikeouts during this time?

EDIT: And aren't steals a losing proposition based on advanced stats?
 
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Walks and strikeouts during this time?

EDIT: And aren't steals a losing proposition based on advanced stats?
2017-18 K%: 33.8
2019-20 K%: 24.4
MLB avg.: 22.4

2017-18 BB%: 12.5
2019-20 BB%: 12.5
MLB avg.: 8.6

So he dropped his K% by 10 points while maintaining his BB%. He now strikes out just a little bit above MLB average while continuing to walk at a higher rate than MLB average.

As for steals, there’s a stolen base percentage that makes it worthwhile, and what that percentage is depends on how much you value OBP compared to SLG. Figure every stolen base turns a single into a double on your SLG and every caught stealing turns a single into an out when it comes to your OBP and your SLG. So in 100 ABs every a stolen base adds .001 to your SLG, while every CS subtracts .001 from your SLG. For every 100 PAs a caught stealing subtracts .001 from your OBP, while successful steals don’t help your OBP.

Everyone agrees that OBP is more important than SLG, but there’s disagreement on exactly what the proportion is. I think the consensus is that a .600 OBP is about as good as a 1.000 SLG. So if you take that ratio into account and basically assume that in 100 ABs a stolen base adds .001 to your OPS while a caught stealing subtracts more than .002 (depending on how much you walk), that comes out to basically needing a 3 to 1 (75%) stolen base rate to be effective.

MLB’s overall stolen base rate this year: 74.5%. It’s as if these guys might know what they’re doing!

Anyway, I think Happ is fast enough that he should be able to steal 20-ish bases a year in the right situations.
 
Houston, Texas
2017-18 K%: 33.8
2019-20 K%: 24.4
MLB avg.: 22.4

2017-18 BB%: 12.5
2019-20 BB%: 12.5
MLB avg.: 8.6

So he dropped his K% by 10 points while maintaining his BB%. He now strikes out just a little bit above MLB average while continuing to walk at a higher rate than MLB average.

As for steals, there’s a stolen base percentage that makes it worthwhile, and what that percentage is depends on how much you value OBP compared to SLG. Figure every stolen base turns a single into a double on your SLG and every caught stealing turns a single into an out when it comes to your OBP and your SLG. So in 100 ABs every a stolen base adds .001 to your SLG, while every CS subtracts .001 from your SLG. For every 100 PAs a caught stealing subtracts .001 from your OBP, while successful steals don’t help your OBP.

Everyone agrees that OBP is more important than SLG, but there’s disagreement on exactly what the proportion is. I think the consensus is that a .600 OBP is about as good as a 1.000 SLG. So if you take that ratio into account and basically assume that in 100 ABs a stolen base adds .001 to your OPS while a caught stealing subtracts more than .002 (depending on how much you walk), that comes out to basically needing a 3 to 1 (75%) stolen base rate to be effective.

MLB’s overall stolen base rate this year: 74.5%. It’s as if these guys might know what they’re doing!

Anyway, I think Happ is fast enough that he should be able to steal 20-ish bases a year in the right situations.
Nice analysis, thanks! I'd like to see Happ closer to 20% (not sure if he's trending that direction) but I like the fact he's lopped off 10% from his K rate.

Cubs don't have much speed other than Happ and Hoerner. They have guys who are good baserunners but I don't think they are necessarily base stealing threats outside of those two. I think maybe both could be in the 15-20 steals range over the course of a year.