It was a bad week for the Kyles. A lack of offense didn’t help the Stock Market Report, either.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Jason Heyward: J-Hey’s turn around showed no signs of slowing down this week, as he went 7-for-19 with three doubles and a grand slam. Heyward’s walk-off grand slam sent chills down my spine when I saw it. The first thing that ran through my head was this moment from one of my favorite movies. Someone who has seemingly been one of the main scapegoats for this team’s offensive struggles over the past two seasons is finally getting the monkey off his back. Heyward has seen his wRC+ creep up to 102 on the season, and has raised his batting average from .227 to .273 since returning from the disabled list.
Justin Wilson: Wilson continues to impress this season, pitching three innings and striking out six without allowing a run on the week. Wilson brought his ERA down to 2.36, and is beginning to look like the player the Cubs thought they were getting last July.
Willson Contreras: Willy went 6-for-14 at the plate over the week with five singles and a double. It’s only a matter of time before he begins to hit for power.
Jon Lester: Lester continued his run as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, pitching seven pristine innings against the Pirates on Sunday, only giving up one hit and two walks in the process. Lester’s 2.22 ERA ranks third in the National League and 7th in all of baseball.
Kyle Schwarber: Schwarber had a rough week at the plate, going 1-for-13 with six strikeouts. Schwarber did walk three times, but outside of the free passes, it was a forgettable week for Kyle.
Javier Baez: It was a horrendous week for Javy at the plate, going 0-for-17 with seven strikeouts. Incredibly, Baez still only has one walk since April 12th. He still has a slugging percentage of .522, but his wRC+ has slipped to 106, and there isn’t an end in sight.
Kyle Hendricks: This is a bit of tough love for Hendricks, as he only allowed one earned run against the Pirates on Sunday. However, his outing against the Phillies on Tuesday was easily his worst of the season. Hendricks allowed five runs against the Phillies, including walking in a run, something I’ve never seen Kyle do. Hendricks continues to be snakebitten by the long ball - he’s giving up 1.51 HR/9 this season, almost half a home run higher than any of his previous seasons.
Buy: This Jason Heyward might be here to stay. I’m probably jinxing him, so blame me in two weeks
when if Heyward hits a rut. But since coming back from the disabled list, Heyward is hitting .338/.361/.515, 134 wRC+. It’s 19 games, but we’re creeping closer and closer to a big enough sample size to finally accept this version of Jason Heyward.
Sell: Jason Heyward needs to continue to improve with the bat. If Jason Heyward continues to stay around 120 wRC+ as a hitter, he’ll not only be one of the most valuable players on this Cubs team, he’ll be one of the more valuable players in all of baseball. Heyward was worth 5.6 fWAR with the Cardinals in 2015, despite only posting a wRC+ of 121. That’s a great number, but it isn’t elite. And it doesn’t have to be with Heyward’s defensive prowess.
Buy: This Cubs team has that 2016 feeling. Jason Heyward is having a resurgent season. Albert Almora is breaking out. Jon Lester looks like an ace. Kris Bryant is posting MVP caliber numbers. The bullpen is a lockdown unit. This team feels eerily similar to the one that won it all in 2016.
Sell: The Cubs are firing on all cylinders. Yu Darvish still isn’t healthy or performing to the level he’s capable of. Kyle Hendricks is giving up too many home runs. Javier Baez isn’t still isn’t walking. Tyler Chatwood is walking enough batters for the entire rotation. Make no mistake, this Cubs team still has its flaws.