The Cubs are 9-3 since I last checked in on the cumulative standings and the basket of offensive, pitching, relief and defensive numbers. I suspect in the statistical areas that we’ll see a lot of positive development. Certainly, the morning after a tough loss, this feels a little less exciting than it did 24 hours ago during a long winning streak. But the bottom line is this, the Cubs have been playing very good baseball for a very long time. They still haven’t lost a series since the series in Milwaukee back in early April, ending on April 7. Barring disaster in this Marlins series going on, the Cubs will have not only an opportunity to keep that going, but avenge the last loss at the end of this homestand.
First things first, we’ll take a look at the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats. 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.
Year to Date Total (change since last full standings)
(# = returned to minors, * = injured list)
- Willson Contreras 9 (+4)
- Jon Lester 7 (+5)
- Jose Quintana 7 (+4)
- Javier Baez 5.5 (-.5)
- Brad Brach 5 (+4)
- *Victor Caratini 4 (0)
- Daniel Descalso 4 (-2)
- Jason Heyward 4 (-2)
- Ben Zobrist 2.5 (-3)
- Tyler Chatwood 2 (+2)
- Anthony Rizzo 1.5 (+2)
- David Bote 1 (-1)
- Kyle Ryan 1 (+1)
- Brandon Kintzler .5 (-.5)
- Cole Hamels 0 (-5)
- #Dillon Maples -.5 (-.5)
- Taylor Davis -.5 (-.5)
- Mark Zagunis -1 (0)
- Kris Bryant -1 (+3)
- Allen Webster -2 (0)
- *Mike Montgomery -2 (0)
- #Randy Rosario -2 (0)
- Steve Cishek -3 (-3)
- Kyle Hendricks -3 (0)
- Kyle Schwarber -5 (-1)
- Pedro Strop -6.5 (-.1.5)
- Carl Edwards Jr. -8 (0)
- Yu Darvish -9 (-1)
- Albert Almora Jr. -10.5 (-3.5)
Willson Contreras moves into the top spot with a +4 over the last 12 games. Jon Lester made the biggest positive move (+5) and that moves him into a tie with Jose Quintana (+4). It’s early and the standings remain very fluid, so it isn’t terribly surprising that three guys who had a strong 12 game stretch from a H&G perspective have moved into the top three spots.
On the down side, Albert Almora has a -3.5 stretch to drop to -10.5 and land in the cellar. Steve Cishek and Ben Zobrist both had a -3 stretch. For Ben, it dropped him out of the top five. For Cishek, it dropped him into negative territory for the season.
29 different players have appeared in Heroes and Goats so far in 2019. By my count, Tim Collins is the only player who has played for the Cubs but hasn’t appeared in H&G. Alec Mills has also been with the big club, but didn’t make any game appearances.
- Average: .275 (was .260) [5th MLB, 4th NL]
- On Base: .354 (was .354) [1st MLB, 1st NL]
- Slugging: .465 (was .433) [5th MLB, 3rd NL]
- OPS: .818 (was .787) [2nd MLB, 1st NL]
- Runs/Game: 5.88 (was 5.5) [2nd MLB, 1st NL]
The numbers improved over what were actually some very good numbers through 20 games. The Cubs were second only to the Rangers in runs scored. Certainly one of those things that explains what we saw during the opening weekend of the season.
- Hits/9: 7.9 (was 8.8) [10th MLB, 5th NL]
- Walks/9: 4.1 (was 4.2) [27th MLB, 14th NL]
- HR/9: 1.2 (was 1.5) [T8th MLB, T4th NL]
- K/9: 9.1 (was 9.4) [11th MLB, 6th NL]
- Runs allowed/game: 4.31 (was 4.65) [10th MLB, 4th NL]
Progress was made in all of the categories except strikeouts per nine. It’s interesting that the strikeouts went down while the overall numbers improved. Probably doesn’t mean much of anything.
Cubs starters are up to 47% quality starts (from 45%) and that remains 8th best in MLB (3rd NL). Their average game score improved to 54 (from 53). That is up to 10th MLB (5th NL). The relievers have converted just 6 of 11 saves (55% - league average 69%). They reduced their inherited runners scored percentage from 43 to 32% (league average 31%). That is good for 17th MLB, 10th NL.
- Errors: 29 (was 19) [27th MLB, 14th NL]
- Defensive Efficiency [percentage of balls in play turned into outs]: .693 (was .678) [T11th MLB, T5th NL]
So we have a mixed bag to look at here. The Cubs continue to be near the top of most errors. But, they are creeping up the leaderboard in Defensive Efficiency. The Cubs are actually in a three way tie (11-13th MLB and 5-7th NL) in this metric. Unsurprisingly, the defense is showing improvement over time.
Who is the Cubs Year to Date MVP?
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Someone else (leave in comments)