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cacti mesaWith today’s off-day, we’re at the halfway-ish point in Spring Training, and it could be fun to look at some of the stats that are accumulating.

You are forewarned that these stats are meaningless. But …

  • Your OPS leader for the Spring is Jeff Samardzija (2.500), built entirely on the back of that homer he hit yesterday. Second place is Barret Loux, who is 1 for 1 with a single (believe it or not, that’s a 2.000 OPS).
  • Your OPS leader among the positional players who’ve actually played a bit is Brian Bogusevic, which shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve been paying attention. His line is .440/.500/.840 over 28 plate appearances, and he actually leads the team in each of those individual slash stats, too. He’s been killing it Scott McClain style.
  • Christian Villanueva leads the team with three homers. So what if those are his only three hits? (Gotta love that .000 BABIP, though.)
  • Matt Szczur was your OPS basement-dweller (before he was cut) at just .180 in his 16 plate appearances (one single, one walk).
  • Of the guys expected to make the team, the lowest OPS belongs to Scott Hairston – .130/.167/.261 over 23 plate appearances. For reference, if he add just one 4 for 4 game, his batting average would double. Small sample sizes!
  • Brett Jackson’s strikeout rate over 18 plate appearances: 27.8%. But he also leads the team in walks (5), despite having only a fraction of the plate appearances of many other players.
  • Javier Baez’s line: .310/.333/.552 (30 PA). Jorge Soler’s line: .304/.385/.565 (26 PA). Albert Almora’s line: .000/.000/.000 (1 PA).
  • Best pitcher this Spring? Easily Frank Batista. 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP. He just allows nothing. Er, that is to say, he allowed nothing in that 0.1 inning he pitched.
  • Shawn Camp, Hector Rondon, and Kyuji Fujikawa are your actual ERA leaders, each at 0.00 over about 4 innings. Each has a WHIP under 1.00.
  • Casey Coleman isn’t going to make the roster, but he’s also got a 0.00 ERA. Maybe he’ll figure it out as a reliever at Iowa. Most of the best relievers failed as starters when they were younger. Blake Parker is another reliever at 0.00, but, his chances of making the bullpen out of Spring are only slightly better than Coleman’s.
  • On the balance, the relievers are dominating (virtually all relievers in camp have an ERA under 3.00 and/or a WHIP under 1.00) when compared to the starters. Then again, the relievers are typically facing minor leaguers and roster filler, while the starters are facing more of the other teams’ regulars.
  • Travis Wood is killing it among the starters, leading the team in innings (12) and strikeouts (11) by a mile. His ERA is 3.00, and his WHIP is 0.92. Small sample and all that, but it’s a nice set of numbers.
  • Brooks Raley (21.21) and Alberto Cabrera (16.20) were your hilariously-high ERA guys among the legitimate roster contenders before they were cut yesterday. Now the title belongs to Barret Loux (15.19), though he’s not really a roster contender.
  • It’s not a pretty picture for the current non-Travis Wood rotation members in the ERA department: Edwin Jackson leads the pack at 4.50, and then you’ve got Jeff Samardzija (5.59), Carlos Villanueva (5.87), and Scott Feldman (9.00).
  • Chris Rusin has an outside shot at a bullpen job as a lefty/long-man, and so far so good: 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP in eight innings. He’s also got a K/BB ratio that breaks the calculator: two strikeouts, but zero walks.
  • Patrick G

    I’d like to see Wood as the 2nd lefty in the bullpen, feel he has great stuff but isn’t consistent enough over 6-7 innings a start. But he is young so maybe he can change that

    • jt

      Wood had 26 2012 starts. He was bad in 6 of them though in each of those bad he pitched at least 5 innings.
      The none of the other 20 starts did he allow more than 3 ER’s. He averaged 6.75 IP for those 20 starts.
      I’d be very happy if he could repeat those %’s over 30 starts while pitching in the 5th slot.

      • Patrick G

        Your probably right, I’m just speaking out of knowledge I recall from off the top of my head(probably not a smart idea).

        • jt

          Wood has a lot to prove; no doubt!
          I just think there is good reason for hope.
          That he is having a fine spring adds to my hope.

      • Seth

        Plus I believe the Cubs desperately need another lefty in the rotation. I hope to see him stick there the whole year as the no 5 guy.

        • EQ76

          If he can give 20+ quality starts as the #5 guy, we’ll all be pretty happy with him.

      • Edwin

        I think if you take data start by start don’t you kinda run into Simpson’s paradox? (I’m probably using it wrong, but whatevs). It makes more sense to look at what Wood did over all of the starts instead of using each individual start as a begginning and end point because any player’s performance can vary from start to start.

        • Edwin

          Fun with game logs:

          In 2 starts last season Wood had a GB% <10%.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          What you really want to do is plot the distributions of the relevant performances. The mean, mode and variance are key when looking at these things. What you will usually find is that the “great” and the “awful” are just ends of a fairly continuous distribution for any player. That is, there is no such thing as “consistency” for anybody: “inconsistent” players just have lower average performances and thus fewer great performances.

          • jt

            There are those such as Jason Marquis and Edwin Jackson who are consistently inconsistent…for whatever reason.
            And when you look at the mean and variance these guys pop out.
            These guys have value at the back of the rotation and sometimes even as the 3rd guy.

        • BluBlud

          Right, but what a player does in each individual start is important to note. For instance, and we’ll use small numbers just so not to get confused. We’ll assume all pitchers pitch 9 inning just for the sake of this comparison. Pitcher A pitches 5 games and gives up 3, 0, 2, 3 and a horrible outing with 12 runs, Pitcher B pitches 5 games and gives up 4, 4, 3, 5, and 4 runs. Both of those pitcher would have an ERA of 4.00, but the question would still remain which pitcher gave you most chances of winning over their 5 starts. When Pitcher A pitches, if you were to score 4 runs in all four fives games, you have 4 wins and 1 loss. When Pitcher B pitches, if you scored 4 runs in every game, you be 1-1 with three extra inning games and anything can happen at that point. you could come out 4-1 or you could come out 1-4. Also when pitcher A pitches, your offense can slightly worse, then you team still has a chance to win. On paper, over all their games, those 2 pitchers would look the same, but if you look at their stats from game to game, you would see that pitcher A is the better pitcher.

          • jt

            Yeah.
            Pitchers tire.
            When they tire they miss up because their body gets to the release point before their wrist.
            Some guys have enough stuff to get through an outing when they “don’t have it”. Some guys just get clocked when they miss up.
            As the Doc says, there probably are not that many than can be real good 75% of the time while being horrible 15 to 20%. But those guys are out there and they do have value.

    • Jim

      At this point, Wood is looking like a #2 in this rotation, not the 5 slot. I wouldn’t mind him being in the #3 slot to break up the Right handers. I am good with Rusin and Russell as the bullpen lefties. Rusin can also be a good candidate for the long relief guy.

      • BluBlud

        I agree. Wood has actually been pretty darn impressive. I think he earn his spot in the rotation. If he continues to pitch like he did last year, and this spring, he’ll stay in the rotation, even when Baker and Garza are ready to go.

        Shark
        Garza
        Jackson
        Wood
        Baker

        • Edwin

          He had a FIP- of 120 last year. If he pitches like last year, he’s a 5th starter/swing man. He’d still be in the Cubs rotation, but he’d be pretty replaceable. Hopefully he can pitch more like the 2010 version of himself.

        • Rcleven

          Love the line of starters. I would order them a little different.
          Shark
          Baker (when healthy)
          Garza
          Wood ( may be stretching it a little. Had so many quality starts last year).
          Jackson (not great but steady).

          As a staff should expect an ERA of .425-.465.

        • brickhouse

          Feldman may beat out Wood for the 5th spot

          • Jim

            With Garza and Baker’s health, I think both Wood and Feldman are in the rotation for awhile. Their performance will dictate what happens when the others are ready. BTW I like the name brickhouse. All time favorite was Jack Brickhouse. The Brickhouse is also one of my favorite cigars!

          • Rcleven

            Don’t know much about Feldman. From his career numbers he has not been that successful as a starter. I don’t expect that much improvement jumping leagues. A .500+ ERA just does not do it for me. He has shown nothing to me this spring to even give me hope he will get the ERA down into mid .400’s.
            The man shows flashes of brilliance and then just looses it.

  • mak

    While still acknowledging the meaninglessness of these stats, Theo/Jed put a lot resources/energy in rebuilding the bullpen and its showing this spring.

  • BluBlud

    Look at Almora’s stats. I told you guys he was overrated. How can a guy post a .000/.000/.000 and still be considered one of the teams top prospects. Pathetic. ;)

    • hansman1982

      Yes, but as Doc and I have stated, nothing gets past him. He is being crushed by a .000 BABIP. To go along with that, he has a 0% K rate and a 100% contact rate.

      Pretty soon his BABIP will normalize and he will be a prototypical .300 hitter…

  • Korean Goat

    anthony rizzo 1st ab is ball four now

  • CBP

    Rizzo just made a great play at first

  • DarthHater

    The Cardinals have failed to elect a new pope on the first ballot. Just another reason to dislike them. ;-)

    • Craig

      Lol

    • hansman1982

      Apparently some of the Cardinals are against using the triangle communion wafers and boycot anyone who doesn’t use the round ones.

      • DarthHater

        And they’ve been using the same hand signals so long that it has become rather predictable…

        • hansman1982

          The Lutherans were caught stealing signs last week. A giant brawl erupted in the streets after the Priest plunked the Pastor with an Alter Boy.

  • MightyBear

    That’s that crappy farm system they have.

  • Noah

    Not that it actually matters due to the tiny sample size, Brett Jackson actually has 21 plate appearances. He got hit by a pitch and hit 2 sac flies in addition to the 13 ABs and 5 walks. It doesn’t mean anything at this juncture, but that puts him at 23.8% on the K rate in the spring.

    Now, if he could maintain that rate after 2 months of play in Iowa? Well, that would be the cat’s pajamas.

  • MightyBear

    I think Brett Jackson has a good chance to be the cat’s pajamas this year.

  • David

    I think Jackson has actually had 21 PA and his strikeout rate is actually 23.8% FWIW.

  • David

    d’oh, missed the reply.

  • BluBlud

    I’m stuck on my Buccaneers blog. It’s slow here, so I must not be the only one paying attention to the NFL. It’s NFL signing day. Hopefully my Bucs sign someone better then the NFL equivalent of Schierholz. Contract Bears fans. You guys signed our TE target.

    • BluBlud

      That should say congrats Bears fans, not contracts.

  • Kygavin

    Sorry to Brett if this is gonna be a legit pae but KLaw watched the Cubs-Dbacks yesterday and wrote an insider piece about it. Some of the notes:
    Samardzija was good. 93-96 plus slider at 83-87 and a cutter at 90-91. Made a joke about his HR saying he could PH for Barney a few times this year (i laughed)
    Baez didnt have a great day at the plate but looked good at SS with a plus arm.
    Jackson’s new swing didnt show much except a golfed fly out
    Rondon was disappointing. 90-93 w/ no life and a sluvy slider at 77-78

    Heres the link for any insiders who want the whole thin. KLaw has been going to games writing a short piece about them daily just a heads up;
    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/law_keith/id/9043647/jeff-samardzija-trevor-cahill-look-ready-opening-day-mlb

  • Die hard

    Hairston deal still does not make sense unless he’s the bridge to adding Soler in 2 yrs

  • Die hard

    Garza should start season in bullpen…. May be effective

  • Jim

    The Tigers have released Brennan Boesch. Should the Cubs be interested?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Seems like it’s worth checking in, but I don’t know if they have an obvious spot for him (before dealing Soriano or DeJesus, anyway) – compared to other teams, I mean. I don’t think the Cubs will look all that attractive to him.

      • Jim

        At only 27 and a left handed hitter, I think you have to at least check in on this. Maybe it would bump Sappelt to AAA (if he still has options), but that would be some great depth in the OF especially if a trade is made as some point.

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