It’s been a while (about two weeks) since I’ve done one of these, so let’s see how popular former Cubs Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have done since then, and over the full season to date.
Since the last former Cub update, Báez is hitting .167/.216/.271 (8-for-48) with one walk and 15 strikeouts.
For the season, Javy is batting .204/.248/.321 (28-for-137) with three home runs, six walks and 38 strikeouts. The .569 OPS ranks 159th of 172 qualified MLB hitters thus far in 2022.
Yikes. The Tigers can’t be too happy with that. Tigers fans sure aren’t:
I could make a list of players having a better season than Javier Baez while making $100 million less dollars but it would break Twitter’s character limit 10 times over— gianni (@Clapped_Dre) May 25, 2022
How many times did we see this when Javy was a Cub?
With the bases loaded and 1 out in a tie game, Javier Baez just had to put the ball in play. He swung at both a pitch 2 feet above the zone (No. 3 below) and a pitch that bounced in front of the plate (No. 5 -- you can't even see it). pic.twitter.com/mszSj30M20— Derick Hutchinson (@Derick_Hutch) May 27, 2022
We all love Javy and what he did in Chicago but this... man, this isn’t good.
It’s one thing to say it... another thing to do it. I wish Javy well.
KB missed 21 games on the injured list with back trouble. He was activated by the Rockies last Saturday and played in two games, going 1-for-6 with a pair of walks and three strikeouts, then went back on the IL Wednesday (retroactive to Monday) with, yep, you guessed it, a back strain.
Bryant has played in 17 games this year and batted .270/.342/.333 (17-for-63) with four extra-base hits, all doubles.
Here’s the latest on KB’s back problems:
Back on the injured list with, well, back issues, Kris Bryant's timeline for return to the #Rockies is still murky. But he played light catch this afternoon at Nationals Park, his first baseball activity since being sidelined again earlier this week.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) May 26, 2022
That... doesn’t sound promising.
Rizzo hit .273/.391/.675 (21-for-77) with nine home runs in 21 games in April.
May has not been as kind: .183/.299/.342 (15-for-82) with two home runs in 23 games.
A lot of that has to be attributable to the Yankees’ schedule. Of their 21 April games, 13 were at Yankee Stadium. In May, 13 of their 23 games have been on the road. And Rizzo’s home/road splits are pretty extreme:
Home, 24 games: .262/.388/.607 (22-for-84), eight home runs
Road, 20 games: .187/.291/.387 (14-for-75), three home runs
In the end he’ll likely play about the same number of home and road games, and his uppercut swing seems well-tailored for the short RF porch at Yankee Stadium. Overall this year Rizzo is hitting .226/.344/.503. The .847 OPS is just about right on his career number of .850. Would he be better for the Cubs at first base than the Frank Schwindel/Alfonso Rivas combination they’ve used most of this year? Probably. Cubs first basemen this year have hit .224/.285/.364 (37-for-165) with five home runs.
The numbers say Rizzo has become a poor first baseman (-0.8 defensive bWAR, -5 DRS, -4 OAA), but I think I’d still rather have him there defensively, too, especially over Schwindel.
He got himself ejected last week arguing ball and strike calls... and they were bad ball and strike calls:
"I'm better than that! You know I'm better than that."— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 19, 2022
Anthony Rizzo gets ejected for the third time in his career. He watched two bad strike calls go by then argued when the same pitch was called a ball to the next batter pic.twitter.com/quddnrKvmK
Since the last update on these four players, Schwarber is batting .213/.356/.447 (10-for-47) with 10 runs scored and three home runs. But overall on the season, Schwarber is hitting .194/.308/.426 (30-for-155) with 10 home runs and 58 strikeouts. That’s good for 0.1 bWAR and he’s become a defensive liability who has to play the outfield because the Phillies have essentially three designated hitters in their lineup every day (Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Bryce Harper). A Twitter anecdote about that:
I just cannot reiterate enough how much of a joy it has been to watch the Padres face Kyle Schwarber and Darin Ruf in left field defensively for the past week. What a treat.— rich (@rich_roberts) May 22, 2022
The .734 OPS is well below his career OPS of .829.
Here’s Kyle’s most recent homer, a 415-foot Schwarbomb off David Price last Saturday [VIDEO].
That ball went a long way:
If the Cubs were paying the salaries of these four players in 2022, it would cost a combined $74 million ($20 million for Báez, $18 million for Bryant, $16 million for Rizzo and $20 million for Schwarber).
I don’t think those four players are giving their teams $74 million worth of production. It’s unlikely the Cubs would have a record significantly better than they do now with those four players in the lineup.
They’ll always be Cubs World Series heroes, but the team did the right thing by moving on; as I noted above, the only one who might really be helpful here right now is Rizzo.