Cubs Weekly Recap: May 13 Through May 19

David Banks

The Cubs split the six games that they played last week at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs went 3-3 for the week that ended Sunday. The team won two of three against the Rockies, but lost two of three against the Mets. However, the Cubs are no longer in last place -- the team is 9½ games behind the Cardinals and one game in front of the Brewers.

Runs Scored: 32 | Runs Scored per Game: 5.33 | Runs Allowed: 22 | Runs Allowed per Game: 3.67

Competition Adjusted Runs Scored: 1.18 | Competition Adjusted Runs Allowed: 0.80

The Cubs were 18% better than the average offense and 20% better than the average pitching staff. The offense played well, but continued to strand runners at 3rd with less than two outs. The bullpen blew another game this week, but, aside from Carlos Villanueva, the starters pitched wonderfully.

Cubs starters pitched 40⅓ of the 54 innings played this week, or 75% of the innings pitched, which is up from last week's 69%, and higher than the major league average of approximately 69%.

The Three Most Important Plays
5/19 Top 7, man at 1st with two outs, 3-1 Cubs: Juan Lagares hits a home run off Travis Wood to tie the game, resulting in a -.294 WPA. The Cubs had an 86.0% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and a 56.6% chance of winning the game after his at bat.

5/19 Top 8, bases empty with no outs, 3-3 Tie: Daniel Murphy hits a home run off Kyuji Fujikawa, resulting in a -.253 WPA. The Cubs had a 50% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and a 24.7% chance of winning the game after his at bat.

5/19 Bot 5, man at 2nd base with one out, 0-0 Tie: Travis Wood hits a home run off Dillon Gee, resulting in a .213 WPA. The Cubs had a 59.2% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and an 80.5% chance of winning the game after his at bat.

Most Valuable Cub Hitter

David DeJesus: While it has only been 41 games, DeJesus is having a career year at the plate. In his first season as a Cub, DeJesus put up a .263/.350/.403 line, which corresponds to a .332 wOBA and 104 wRC+. Thus, he created 4% more runs than the league average offensive player in 2012. Thus far, in 2013, DeJesus has hit to the tune of a .294/.364/.507 line, which corresponds to a .377 wOBA and a 139 wRC+ -- he has created 39% more runs than the league average offensive player in 2013.

DeJesus is slugging over 100 points higher than last year, and over 80 points above his career average. Naturally, ZiPS expects his slugging percentage to regress over the course of the rest of the season. Despite this, it expects DeJesus to finish with a 113 wRC+ and a 3.0 WAR, which would be a great season for the 33-year old outfielder.

Most Valuable Cub Pitchers

Scott Feldman, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood: These three guys all pitched incredibly well this past week. Among the three of them, they pitched 28 innings, while surrendering only 27 base runners and five earned runs. However, these three pitchers have had varying amounts of luck affect them throughout the season. We can see this if we look at their season stats below.

Both Feldman and Wood are benefitting greatly from depressed BABIPs, elevated LOB%s, and in Wood's case, a depressed HR/FB rate. On the other hand, Samardzija has been slightly unlucky, as he's sporting a somewhat elevated HR/FB rate. As we can see, luck has led to both Feldman and Wood significantly outperforming -- and Samardzija underperforming -- their luck-neutral stats: FIP and xFIP. Furthermore, Samardzija has pitched much better than the other two given his strikeout rate.

While Feldman and Wood's luck-dependent numbers will begin to regress at some point, they'll still both be good back-of-the-rotation starters.

And lastly, look below to see how the three of them fared at the plate this week.

Least Valuable Cub Hitters

Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom: The third-base platoon had a tough time at the plate this week. The two combined to put up two singles over the course of 20 at-bats. That said, the two are actually great complements to each other given their splits from the last two years.

While neither of these two are great third base options, Sveum can get the most out of his roster if he continues to play the platoon advantage at third.

Least Valuable Cub Pitcher

Carlos Villanueva: Villanueva pitcher his worst game of the season, surrendering seven earned runs in five innings. In the process, he pitched his way out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen. While it was surely a disappointment for Villanueva, he should pitch better as a reliever. According to his career splits, (shown below), Villanueva has a higher strikeout rate, a lower WHIP, and a higher LOB% as a reliever than as a starter.

Up Next
The Cubs are in Pittsburgh to play three against the Pirates beginning Tuesday night, and then head to Cincinnati for a three-game set with the Reds.

Notes
Thanks to Craig in South Bend, Madison Cub Fan, and wisconsinwillie for their input in the comments section last week. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm thinking through how I can implement some of your suggestions and will do so within the next few weeks.

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