Cubs' bad running is nothing new

The Cubs have won 115 more games than they have lost since the start of 2015, going 728-613, for a winning percentage of .542

In all the seasons from 1901-2014, they won only 60 more, with a percentage of .502.

During the past 9 years, the Cubs have excelled at many aspects of baseball.

But they have been consistently awful at one: running the bases.



Between last Friday and Tuesday, 2 Cubs were out trying to turn singles into doubles, 1 was out trying to turn an inning-opening double into a triple, 1 was out at home trying to score from second on a hit and 1 was out trying to retreat to third on a ground ball to the pitcher, moments after leading off the game with a triple.

That's 5 outs on the bases in a span of just 4 games.



Through Wednesday's games, the Cubs have made 54 outs on bases. That number does not include steals or pickoffs.

It is the fourth highest among all teams and second in the National League.

The Reds have made 64; the Guardians and Rays, 56.

The Blue Jays and Rockies, both with 51, are the only other teams with at least 50.

The average of all 29 other teams is 41.6. So, the Cubs' 54 is a whopping 29.8 percent higher than the average.


It is even worse in just outs at home: 36.0 percent higher.

17 of the Cubs' outs on base have been at home, tying them for the most with the Athletics, Reds and Rays.

The average of the 29 other teams is 12.5.



The Cubs' baserunning woes this year are far from an aberration.

In 2014, they made 20.1 percent fewer outs on bases and 30.2 percent fewer outs at home than the average of the 29 other teams.

In every season since 2015, they have had a higher percentage that the average in both categories, often by large amounts.



Here are the percentages by which the Cubs have exceeded the average of the 29 other teams:

2015: 17.5

2016: 22.0

2017: 13.9

2018: 33.8

2019: 31.4

2020: 33.7

2021: 7.2

2022: 48.5 (68 to 22.2)

2023: 29.8

Over all 9 seasons, the difference is 25.5 percent -- one quarter more outs on bases than the average!



Here are the corresponding percentages just for outs at home:

2015: 29.2

2016: 41.1

2017: 9.8

2018: 22.1

2019: 32.5

2020: 69.8 (9 to 3.7)

2021: 32.9

2022: 65.5 (24 to 9.5)

2023: 36.0

The difference for all 9 seasons is a staggering 34.2 percent -- one third more outs at home than the average.



From Opening Day of 2015 through Wednesday, the Cubs have had 520 runners out on the bases.

That's 520 more runs they might have scored, about 58 per season.

They have averaged 695 runs, so 58 would be 9.2 percent more.

They certainly would have scored 175 more, as that is how many runners were out at home.

84 were out at first, including those doubled off on line drives or out trying to advance on a wild pitch or passed ball.

150 were out at second.

111 were out at third.


Here are the Cubs' total outs on bases in each season:

2015: 65

2016: 67

2017: 60

2018: 70

2019: 64

2020: 23

2021: 49

2022: 68

2023: 54

Average: 58

Average in full seasons: 62

Average per game: 0.38, or 1 every 2.6 games



The Cubs' 520 outs on all bases are 32 more than by the team with the next most: the Rays, with 488.

The Cubs also have the most outs at first base, by 7 over the Rays.

They are tied with the Rays for the third most outs at second base, 15 behind the leader

They are third alone in outs at third base, but just 2 from the top.

They have the most outs at home, 175, to 162 for the runnerup Pirates.

Here are the top 10 for most outs at each base, then for all bases combined:


84: Cubs

77: Rays

72: Phillies

70: Angels, Cardinals, Tigers

68: Giants, Mariners, Nationals, Rockies


165: Red Sox

156: Blue Jays

150: Cubs, Rays

149: Guardians

146: Astros

135: Rangers

132: Dodgers

131: Angels

130: Twins


113: Tigers

112: Rays

111: Cubs

109: Yankees

107: Blue Jays, Rockies

104: Cardinals, Nationals

103: Padres

102: Pirates, Twins


175: Cubs

162: Pirates

158: Reds

150: Brewers

149: Rays

147: White Sox

142: Red Sox

141: Cardinals, Rangers, Tigers

Note that the top 4 are in the National League Central Division and all 5 are in the top 10!


520: Cubs

488: Rays

449: Red Sox

442: Pirates

439: Tigers

438: Reds

437: Cardinals

434: White Sox

431: Blue Jays, Rangers



I assigned point values for every team in the top 10 in each of the 5 categories above, from outs at first through all outs.

The team with the most outs in each category received 10 points, the team with the second most received 9, and so on, down to 1 for the team that ranked 10th.

If 2 or more teams tied for a position, the points were divided among them, such as 6.5 apiece for teams that tied for fifth (7 points) and sixth (6).

The more total points a team had, the worse the team has been at baserunning since 2015.

The Cubs have been the worst, with a total of 45.5 out of a possible 50.

The Rays, at 40.5, are the only team remotely close to the Cubs. The Tigers are a distant third, at 24.0.

Indeed, the Cubs' 45.0 is barely less than the combined total of the No. 3 Tigers (24.0) and fourth-ranked Red Sox (22.0).

It is nearly 3 times the total of the next-highest National League team, the fifth-ranked Pirates (16.5).



Here are the totals of the 8 teams that had double-digit points:

45.5: Cubs

40.5: Rays

24.0: Tigers

22.0: Red Sox

16.5: Pirates

16.0: Blue Jays

15.5: Cardinals

13.0: Reds


Note that the only 4 NL teams are in the Central Division. The division's fifth team, the Brewers, are tied with the Yankees for 14th, with just 7 points.

The next-highest total after the Reds is just 8.0, by the Angels, Phillies, Rockies and White Sox.

They are among 15 teams that had been 1.5 and 8.0.

7 teams had 0, meaning they were not in the top 10 in any category: the Athletics, Braves, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Mets, Orioles and Royals.



The Cubs and Rays are the only teams that are in the top 10 in all 5 categories.

The Cardinals and Tigers are in 4; the Blue Jays, Pirates, Rangers and Red Sox, 3.

6 teams are in 2: the Angels, Nationals, Reds, Rockies, Twins and White Sox.

And 9 teams appear only once in any category: the Astros, Brewers, Dodgers, Giants, Guardians, Mariners, Padres, Phillies and Yankees.



Here is where the Cubs have ranked among all 30 teams in each category for each season, 2015-23. "T" after a number indicates tied with 1 or more teams for that ranking.

Outs at first: 12th-T, 2nd-T, 1st-T, 1st-T, 3rd-T, 10th-T, 3rd, 19th-T, 19th-T

Outs at second: 4th 6th, 20th-T, 9th, 9th-T, 3rd-T, 18th-T, 1st, 13th-T

Outs at third: 18th-T, 2nd-T, 6th-T, 3rd-T, 3rd-T, 18th-T, 26th-T, 5th, 2nd-T

Outs at home: 4th-T, 2nd-T, 10th-T, 6th-T, 6th-T, 4th-T, 3rd-T, 1st, 1st-T

All outs on base: 4th, 3rd, 7th, 1st, 1st, 4th, 9th, 2nd, 4th -- every season!

The Cubs have been in the top 10 in outs at first base 5 times; in outs at second, 1 time; in outs at third, 6 times; and in outs at home, 9 times -- every season!

They were first or tied for first 7 times: at first base, in 2018 and 2019; at second, in 2022; at home, in 2022 and 2023; and at all bases, in 2018 and 2019.

They were second or tied for second 4 times: at first base, in 2016; at third, in 2016; at home, in 2016; and at all bases, in 2022.

They were third or tied for third 7 times: at first base, in 2019 and 2021; at second, in 2020; at third, in 2018 and 2019; at home, in 2021; and at all bases, in 2016.

That is a total of 18 times in the top 3, out of 45 possible times -- 40 percent!

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