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Fun With Cubs Small Sample Sizes

So what can the first 12 games tell us about the rest of the season? Absolutely nothing. But that's not going to stop me.

Justin K. Aller

I've got to admit it: I love small sample sizes. While I know they're ridiculous, I can't help but enjoy the ridiculous conclusions that you get by extrapolating the results out to the whole season.

The Cubs are now 12 games into a 162-game season, or about 7.4 percent of the way through the season. At 4-8, they're on pace to win 54 games and lose 108, which is not too far off the more pessimistic of pre-season forecasts. But some other stats bring on more interesting results.

Silly? Sure. But yesterday was an off-day.

  • With 20 hits through 12 games, Emilio Bonifacio is on pace to have 270 hits, breaking Ichiro Suzuki's single-season record.
  • With seven steals, Bonifacio is on pace to steal 94 bases, smashing Frank Chance's team record of 67.
  • The Cubs have 10 home runs so far this season, putting them "on-pace" for 135, which would be the fewest for a Cubs team since the strike-shortened 1994 season. It would be the fewest in a non-strike season since 1992.
  • Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Junior Lake, Mike Olt and Welington Castillo are all on the way to 27 home run seasons. For everyone but Rizzo, we'd be really happy with those totals. Unfortunately, no other hitter on the Cubs is projected to hit a home run this season.
  • Darwin Barney is on-pace to play in 148 games and score 13 runs. That's positively Ken Reitz-ian.
  • Barney would walk 81 times, which would more than double his career high. And yet he'd still only score 13 times. Ouch.
  • Castillo is projected to strike out 189 times, which seems like an awful lot for a catcher. Lake is on pace to strike out 175 times, which seems about right for him.
  • Travis Wood is looking at striking out 229 batters in 166 innings. Are you sure your first name isn't actually Kerry?
  • Jeff Samardzija is on-pace to throw 283 innings, which would be the most since Fergie Jenkins in 1972. His strikeout totals would be 202, which would actually be down from last year, though.
  • Jason Hammel is looking at being a perfect 27-0. "Kill the win" be damned. He'd win the Cy Young Award with that record. This assumes Zack Greinke doesn't go 36-0, of course.
  • Hammel would do this despite allowing 40 home runs. That would break Warren Hacker's club record of 38 in 1955. (And just how does a guy named "Hacker" end up as a pitcher anyway?)
  • Jose Veras would have blown 27 saves without managing to collect a single save. And Ricky Renteria would be fired.
  • Carlos Villanueva is on-pace to pitch 126 innings without walking anyone. That's amazing. His ERA would still be 11.57.
  • Edwin Jackson would walk 148 batters, the most since Sam Jones walked 185 in 1955. (Seriously, what was with the Cubs pitching staff in 1955?) Jackson would join Jones as the only Cubs pitchers to walk more than 140 batters since 1900. And again, Ricky Renteria would be fired.
  • It's not all bad news. As a team, the Cubs are on-pace to commit 94 errors. That's tied for the fewest since 2004 and only the fourth time in a non-strike shortened season that the Cubs made fewer than 100 errors.

So there. Now you know how the Cubs are going to finish the season. You can bank on it.