FanPost

Will the 2009 Cubs hit right-handed pitching better than the 2008 Cubs?

In 2008, the Chicago Cubs outscored every team in baseball besides the Texas Rangers.  However, the offense was blamed for a post-season collapse.  The stated problem?  The Cubs were unbalanced with too many right-handed hitters.  The off-season clearly attempted to change the look of the lineup, adding two switch-hitters Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles, as well as rumors of a left-handed hitting backup catcher.  What is odd, though, about the Cubs' new additions is that every one of them hits left-handed pitchers better than right-handed pitchers.

Here are some interesting 2008 splits:

Chicago Cubs as a team
v. RHP .274/.350/.443
v. LHP .288/.366/.442 

Gathright
v. RHP .256/.304/.275  
v. LHP .250/.333/.264  
On his career, Gathright has .020 pts of OBP better v. LHP

Miles
v. RHP .317/.345/.407  
v. LHP .315/.377/.378  
On his career, Miles has .030 pts of OBP better v. LHP

 

Bradley

v. RHP .309/.415/.514  

v. LHP .341/.476/.651 

On his career Bradley has .025 pts of OBP and .070 pts of SLG better v. LHP

 

Bako

v. RHP .224/.315/.303  

v. LHP .197/.240/.408  

On his career, Bako hits RHP .090 pts of OBP better

 

 

What's worse?  With the exception of Milton Bradley, everyone of these new players hit RHP worse in 2008 than the player they are replacing:

Bako v. RHP .224/.315/.303
Blanco v. RHP .270/.303/.365

Gathright v. RHP .256/.304/.275
Pie v. RHP .264/.316/.361  

Bradley v. RHP .309/.415/.514
Edmonds v. RHP .250/.362/.521

Miles v. RHP .317/.345/.407
DeRosa v. RHP .275/.367/.475  

What if you see Miles as a replacement for Cedeno with Fontenot as the replacement for DeRosa?

Miles v. RHP .317/.345/.407
Cedeno v. RHP .282/.351/.379  


A couple of things stand out as significant here.  One, some people believed the lack of left-handed hitting kept Joe Torre from using a left-handed reliever in the series.  The problem is that if you replay those games with this lineup, Torre will be even less likely to bring in a lefty.  There's no way you give Bradley .100 pts of OPS just to "turn him around;" bringing one in against Fontenot will just bring Miles on to pinch-hit; and finally, there's no high-pressure circumstance in which Bako will be hitting.

Two, what seems to be more important to the Cubs is not becoming a better hitting team against RHP, but simply having more guys digging in on the left-side.  Will that "fix" the offense?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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