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Cubs Stock Market Report: Week 4

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As you might imagine, Javy Baez is up. Way up.

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Must-Buy Stocks:

Jon Lester: Lester had a superb outing against the Cardinals, pitching six innings, giving up one unearned run, and striking out seven. Lester also had a solid day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt to boot. Lester leads the rotation with a 3.10 ERA.

Javier Baez: Two weeks, two appearances as a must-buy stock for Javy. Baez had an incredible week at the plate, going 12-for-25, with three doubles, three home runs, and nine runs batted in. El Mago leads the Senior Circuit in runs batted in, and his line for the season sits at .292/.363/.736, good for 186 wRC+, and a .444 ISO (!!). He has to slow down at some point... right?

Albert Almora Jr.: I have a good feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Almora in center field for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s making Willie Mays-esque catches, crashing into the wall to make a grab, or leaping like superman to steal a hit, Almora is far and away the best defensive center fielder on this team. It looks like his bat is beginning to prove just as valuable, too. Almora went 8-for-19 from the leadoff spot, providing a valuable spark that this offense has been desperately needing at the top of the order. The Almora/Baez one-two punch is proving to be a potent combination. We might never see Ian Happ in center field again.

Kyle Schwarber: Schwarber had another great week at the plate, going 7-for-16 with a home run, seven runs batted in, and five walks. His approach at the plate looks more refined this season, showing the willingness to drive the ball to the opposite side of the field. His season line sits at a cool .293/.414/.522, worth 165 wRC+.

Solid Investments:

Kyle Hendricks: After giving up three runs in the first inning in the series opener against the Rockies, it looked like Hendricks was in line for a short night on the mound. He rebounded, however, pitching four shutout innings after the first, going five innings and striking out six without allowing a walk. He also earned his first win of the year in the process.

David Bote: Making his Major League debut against the team he grew up rooting for as a kid, Bote doubled in his first at-bat in front of over 30 family members and friends that were in attendance. After Bote considered quitting baseball in 2016, it’s safe to say he made the right decision to keep grinding it out in the minors. Bote could eventually be the guy that takes over Ben Zobrist’s role of super utility player.

Jason Heyward: Heyward quietly had a very solid week at the plate, going 7-for-16 with a triple, a homer, and seven runs batted in. After the series in Colorado, Heyward brought his season line up to .262/.352/.410, worth 114 wRC+. If he can stay at that level of production for the rest of the season, he’ll be worth every cent of the $21.5 million the Cubs are paying him this year. Oh, and he’s also on pace for over 119 runs batted in this year. Where are the Jason Heyward h8ers at? I can’t hear you.

Penny Stocks:

Walking the pitcher with two outs: This is ultimately what led to Yu Darvish’s demise on Saturday. Up until that point, Darvish was very, very good. Walks are never a good thing, but when you walk the opposing pitcher to turn the lineup over, especially against one as potent as Colorado’s, there’s a good chance it’ll come back to bite you.

Getting hit by a pitch: The Cubs lead all of baseball with 21 hit-by-pitches this year, far and away more than any other team, and three out of the top five players that have been hit by pitches are Cubs. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that my heart dropped when KB was hit in the head yesterday. While getting hit by a pitch helps the on-base percentage, the risk of a player missing an extended period of time far outweighs the reward of a free base. Let’s hope these early season bruises are just an anomaly,

Buy/Sell:

Buy: Yu Darvish needs to work on his fifth inning woes. It’s no secret Darvish has seemingly hit a wall in the fifth inning this year. Last week it was a balk, this week, it was a two out walk to the opposing pitcher that led to his demise. Maybe it’s just the third time through the order, or maybe it’s something having to do with his mentality when adversity hits. Whatever it is, Darvish needs to figure it out.

Sell: The Cubs should have signed Jake Arrieta instead of Darvish. We’re four starts into Darvish’s tenure as a Cub. Four. Starts. It is wayyyyyy too early to say the Cubs should have signed Arrieta instead of Darvish, or to say that the signing was a colossal mistake. So stop overreacting. Jon Lester also got off to a rough start in his first month as a Cub in 2015, sporting a 6.23 ERA at the end of April. Things turned out pretty well for him. Arrieta has been very good thus far for the Phillies, but I’m still a firm believer that when we look back at Darvish’s career as a Cub six years from now, we’ll be glad that they signed Darvish instead of Arrieta.

Buy: Now may be the time to send Happ to the minors. With Almora virtually locking down the center field position for the foreseeable future after this past week, I think now is the ideal time to send Happ to Iowa to work on his swing, and possibly, his infield skillz.

Sell: Ian Happ is now expendable. Ian Happ is a very good player. We saw the same struggles with Kyle Schwarber last year, and look where he’s at now. Switch hitters with power from both sides of the plate don’t grow on trees, and Happ’s positional versatility only adds to his value. Make no mistake, Happ is still a valuable member of this organization.

Poll

Who was the Cubs’ player of the week?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Javier Baez
    (626 votes)
  • 9%
    Albert Almora Jr.
    (67 votes)
  • 0%
    Jon Lester
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Kyle Schwarber
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Jason Heyward
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (1 vote)
706 votes total Vote Now