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2018 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 1-5

Our first look at the cumulative standings for this year.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have had two days off in a row due to Tuesday’s rainout, and don’t play again until tonight. This year, I’ll be using the off days to provide a full listing of the standings to date for Heroes and Goats. It’s still extremely early in the year with only around three percent of the season’s games played, but we’ll take a look at how things are shaping up.

As a reminder, Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA. The highest WPA will be the Superhero. A superhero is worth +3 points in the cumulative standings. Second place is the Hero and that is worth +2 points and third place is the Sidekick and that is worth +1 points. On the other side of the ledger, last place is the Billy Goat and that’s worth -3 points. Second and third to last are the Goat and the Kid which are worth -2 and -1 points respectively.

Now that you know how we determine the points, we look at the standings.

Cumulative Standings:

  • Kris Bryant 4
  • Steve Cishek 3
  • Eddie Butler 3
  • Ben Zobrist 3
  • Tyler Chatwood 3
  • Kyle Hendricks 2
  • Kyle Schwarber 2
  • Justin Wilson 2
  • Jason Heyward 1
  • Tommy La Stella 1
  • Pedro Strop 1
  • Brandon Morrow -1
  • Anthony Rizzo -1
  • Victor Caratini -1
  • Addison Russell -1
  • Albert Almora Jr. -2
  • Ian Happ -2
  • Jon Lester -3
  • Yu Darvish -3
  • Jose Quintana -3
  • Willson Contreras -3
  • Javier Baez -5

Starting next week, I’ll also include a number in parenthesis that represents the amount of change since the last cumulative standings update.

In Friday’s marathon game, Eddie Butler posted a WPA of .898. To put that number in perspective, I thought I’d post the season long highest WPAs last year.

Ten Highest WPA of the 2017 Cubs season:

  1. Ian Happ .626 (9/29)
  2. Anthony Rizzo .584 (5/7)
  3. Kyle Schwarber .570 (6/3)
  4. Jon Jay .558 (6/29)
  5. Willson Contreras .527 (8/3)
  6. Javier Baez .511 (8/16)
  7. Willson Contreras .500 (6/16)
  8. Addison Russell .480 (4/19)
  9. Jose Quintana .474 (9/24)
  10. Alex Avila .469 (8/20)

Ten Lowest WPA of the 2017 Cubs season:

  1. Wade Davis -1.079 (9/23)
  2. Hector Rondon -.728 (5/5)
  3. Carl Edwards Jr. -710 (8/6)
  4. Pedro Strop -.615 (8/24)
  5. Koji Uehara -.527 (4/16)
  6. Pedro Strop -.517 (4/15)
  7. Carl Edwards Jr. -.482 (9/5)
  8. Jon Lester -.480 (7/9)
  9. Jon Lester -.434 (5/28)
  10. Carl Edwards Jr. -.429 (6/29

As you can see, in the modern environment it is unusual to see a pitcher of any variety at the top of the WPA charts. The highest WPA values come towards the end of the game and starting pitchers are generally not in the game that long. Yet at the same time, a pitcher has to throw several innings to build up a high WPA score. So Eddie Butler (and Jarlin Garcia who posted an .810 for the Marlins) did exactly what it takes for a pitcher to approach the high ends of the theoretical WPA limits.

Additionally, the Cubs had only one score in either direction that exceeded the Eddie Butler WPA. That was Wade Davis’ September 23 game which I wrote up here. That was a crazy game. The highest positive number I’ve written about came from my series on the 1984 Cubs when we covered “The Sandberg Game,” one of the most beloved games in Cubs history.

Check back next week to see up-to-date standings through the next five scheduled games including four with the Brewers and the home opener Monday against the Pirates. Of course, you can always follow along yourself by checking back here every morning as I bring you the Heroes and Goats from the previous day.