All’s well that ends well, right? That probably doesn’t work here. But, I’m certainly glad this season ended with a win, and an emphatic one at that. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean anything. Not losing 90, winning more than last year, none of it actually means anything. Nothing you can hang your hat on anyway.
But it’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t meaningful player development. That this organization didn’t take steps forward. Could you take those steps while getting your brains beat in? Maybe, but also maybe not. Player development is hard enough in any circumstance, but without any success to lock it in? So much harder.
Surely, one win here or there doesn’t matter. But it feels good that they ended on a high note. Does it matter that it was 15-2 rather than 3-2? Surely not. But all the more fun. It was nice to see a bunch of people getting in on the production. That’s been one of the fun parts of the end of this season for me. When I started looking for three positives each game when things were still rough, it felt like some games I was picking a guy who had a good at bat or a guy who not all of the innings were bad for. But by the end of the year, it seemed like there were four or five or more guys who I could pick from.
This game is certainly no exception. I like that I can pick my three and you might have two or three totally different choices. My answer is never meant to be a definitive one. But an answer as to who I thought made the biggest contributions.
In this one, I feel pretty confident in my number one choice. David Bote drove in five runs. A double, a homer, a walk and a couple of runs scored. That’s a monster game. I’ll restate my opinion. I believe David was good enough down the stretch that he deserves to be in spring training next year with the Cubs. He should not be guaranteed a roster spot and should have to earn it to break camp. I also have no issue with him making the team if it is close. I somewhat suspect it will not be close and that he’ll ultimately be gone. But I’d rather be too late letting him go than too early.
In the second spot, I’m going with Franmil Reyes. Franmil tailed off badly in September, but this game was a last glimpse into what he can be. He had three hits in this one, including a homer. He drove in three and scored two. WPA is going to see this differently. But I’m never going to pass on a game just because of bad sequencing. I’ve seen Al talk about moving on from Reyes for the offseason and I certainly agree you have to let him walk. That doesn’t preclude a minor deal later if he has trouble finding a home, but there is no reason for the Cubs to keep him through the offseason.
In the third and final spot, I’m going with Zach McKinstry. Zach had two hits, one of them a homer. He drove in three and scored the one run. I suspect Zach will stay on the roster through the offseason. I’m certainly not sold on him. Certainly, my brain has trouble imagining a scenario where both of the Cubs being good and Zach being on the team. It feels like it will be one or the other. But I do expect that he’ll be here next year.
Let’s take our final 2022 stroll through WPA and look at the Heroes and Goats from the finale.
Game 162, October 5: Cubs 15 at Reds 2 (74-88)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: David Bote (.325). 2-4, HR, 2B, 5RBI, 2R, BB, K
- Hero: Adbert Alzolay (.174). 2⅓ IP (10 batters), 2H, BB, 3K (W 2-1)
- Sidekick: P.J. Higgins (.089). 1-3, 2B, 3RBI, 3R, 2BB, K
- Billy Goat: Adrian Sampson (-.054). 2⅔ IP (15 batters), 4H, BB, 2R (1ER), 3K, HBP
- Goat: Christopher Morel (-.052). 1-5, RBI, 2K
- Kid: Franmil Reyes (-.051). 3-5, HR, 3RBI, 2R, CS
WPA Play of the Game: There were two outs and the game was scoreless when David Bote came to the plate in the second inning. His three-run homer ended up being all of the offense the Cubs would need. (.250)
*Reds Play of the Game: The Cubs were leading 3-2 in the fifth inning with one out and a runner at first when Donovan Solano doubled. (.123)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Somebody else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.
- David Robertson +22.5
- Christopher Morel +18
- Scott Effross +17
- Rafael Ortega -11.5
- Yan Gomes -14.5
- Jason Heyward -15.5
David Robertson wins the Rizzo Award. The Rizzo is in its ninth season. This is the second time the award has been won by a relief pitcher (Pedro Strop ‘18) and the fourth time by a pitcher overall. The five seasons not won by Rizzo have been won by five different players.
Up Next: The season is over. I have two concepts that need to be written before I can enter hibernation. They might be one longer piece or two shorter pieces. We shall see. One is a full rundown of the Heroes and Goats standings. I’ve never given the full standings at any point, but I imagine there is some passing curiosity about where people finished relatively. The other is going to look at how the voting for Player of the Game looked in comparison. Is there any agreement between our collective opinions and what WPA found?