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Cubs Stock Market Report: The one-quarter mark

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Who’s hot? Who’s not? Here are the answers.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Must-Buy Stocks:

Ian Happ: Ian Happ has quickly become one of the most productive members on this Cubs team in the month of May. Over the past week at the plate, Happ went 6-for-15 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and three runs batted in. What’s more impressive, however, is that fact that he walked nine times (!!). This culminated in a .400/.640/1.067 line on the week, good for 308 wRC+. In the month of May, Happ is batting .267/.441/.667 and has been worth 180 wRC+, and has now surpassed Javier Baez in fWAR. His strikeout rate continues to drop, as it’s now just at a 40.6 percent clip. A great week for Ian.

Kris Bryant: Bryant has easily been the Cubs’ most productive player at the plate this season, and nothing changed this past week, after recording four multi-hit games in his six starts. Bryant went 11-for-28, including three doubles, a home run, and five runs batted in, giving him a weekly line of .393/.452/.607 worth 190 wRC+. Bryant ranks ninth in all of baseball in terms of fWAR, and is leading the N.L. Central.

Albert Almora Jr.: Almora had a productive week with the bat and the glove, going 10-for-22 at the plate, and robbing Tyler Flowers of a home run. Almora earned a slash line of .455/.500/.682 at the plate this week, good for 217 wRC+. Almora leads the Cubs in batting average this season with a .311 average, and is undoubtedly the front runner for the Gold Glove in center field this year in the National League. It’s still early, but he’s been the most impressive player on the team this year, in my opinion.

Solid Investments:

Yu Darvish: If not for a leg cramp that took him out of the game early against the Braves, Yu may have found himself in the section above. He had two starts on the week, pitching 10 innings total, striking out 12, and only giving up two runs. He still needs to harness his command (he walked five in those two starts), but he got his season ERA under five, and is starting to trend in the right direction on the mound. Baby steps.

Tommy La Stella: Tommy La Stella might be one of the best pinch hitters in baseball. He might not always get a hit off the bench, but he will always give you a solid at bat. After getting a pinch hit off of Raisel Iglesias, on of the best relievers in baseball, La Stella came around to score off of an Anthony Rizzo double to tie up the game in the eighth inning. La Stella was 5-for-12 on the week, scoring three runs and drawing two walks. It’s his first appearance on the Stock Market Report.

Ben Zobrist: Ben turns 37 on Saturday, but you’d never know it, as he is having a resurgent season after an injury-riddled 2017. He had another solid showing at the plate this past week. Zobrist went 6-for-22, including a homer, six runs, and six walks, all good for a .273/.429/.409 line at the plate, worth 140 wRC+. Zobrist owns a season line of .290/.382/.402, and has quietly been one of the more productive Cubs hitters at the plate this season.

Penny Stocks:

Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo continues to struggle at the plate, going just 5-for-29 at the plate this past week. He did drive in seven runs, but his line of .172/.265/.241 worth 31 wRC+ is tough to stomach. He’s going to turn it around at some point, but this week was not it.

Javier Baez: Javy is beginning to come back down to earth after a torrid month and a half at the plate. Over the week, he only went 5-for-26 at the plate, and struck out ten times. This amounted to a .192/.192/.308 line at the plate, good for 28 wRC+. He’s still a wizard in the field, and his three hit game yesterday against the Reds is a sign that he might be turning it around. El Mago will be alright, but it was a rough week at the plate for Javy Beisbol.

Buy/Sell:

Buy: Javier Baez still hasn’t changed his approach at the plate. Baez has always been, and seemingly always will be, an all-or-nothing hitter at the plate. He is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at a 46.5% clip, the highest of his career, and he is also swinging at the most pitches of his career, swinging at just of 60% of the pitches he sees.

Sell: Javier Baez needs to change his approach at the plate. While watching some most of his at bats this week was frustrating, this is the player that Javier Baez has grown to be. He’s swinging at a lot of pitches, but he’s also making hard contact at a 38 percent clip, easily the highest rate of his career. He still owns a 124 wRC+ on the season, way above his career average of 93 wRC+. He’s going to have frustrating weeks like this past one, but make no mistake, Javier Baez is a much improved hitter at the plate this season.

Buy: Anthony Rizzo is struggling. It’s no secret that Rizzo is having a tough time at the plate, his season line sits at just .203/.297/.357, 79 wRC+. Everything across the board is down, his ISO, his BABIP, and his BB%. There’s no other way to put it, the anchor of this Cubs lineup has been absent for the first two months of the season.

Sell: Anthony Rizzo is a lost cause this season. Rizzo is making hard contact 36.9 percent of the time, a career high for him. Furthermore, he’s making soft contact just 13.1 percent of the time, a career low for him. His BABIP this season sits at a paltry .198, and has no where to go but up. Over the past two season from June through August, Rizzo has batted at a .320 clip with 34 home runs and 123 runs batted in. He’s a great hitter in the summer, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. It will happen.

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Week?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Ian Happ
    (165 votes)
  • 23%
    Kris Bryant
    (76 votes)
  • 26%
    Albert Almora
    (87 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else (leave reply in comments)
    (2 votes)
330 votes total Vote Now