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ian stewart cubsIan Stewart is playing regularly at Iowa, and the nominal Chicago Cubs starting third baseman appears just about ready to return to the big league team after missing substantial time with a quad strain. His return has been long-awaited, as he missed the second half of 2012 with ongoing wrist problems that may have sapped his abilities for years. After offseason surgery corrected the issue, according to Stewart, many of us have been anxiously awaiting a chance to see what the new and improved Stewart looks like.

But Luis Valbuena has become the fly in the ointment.

The temporary third baseman – who would have been the hero last night but for the Cubs’ bullpen … – has been quietly killing it for the Cubs this year. Valbuena’s slash line is up to .231/.344/.442, good enough for a 116 OPS+. His BABIP is just .243, so he may have a little bit of bad luck sprinkled in there, too.

The performance has allowed the Cubs to take their time with respect to Stewart’s rehab assignment at Iowa – Stewart hasn’t exactly been killing the ball – but they’ll soon have to make a move. Rehabbing positional players can be assigned for a rehab stint for a maximum of 20 days. Stewart, assigned to Iowa on April 14, has until May 3 to come back to the Cubs. That leaves the Cubs just over a week to make a decision: does Valbuena keep starting, or does Stewart boot him back to the bench?

In a lost season, asking which of the two will perform best going forward is probably the wrong question. Or, it is at least incomplete.

The real question is tradability. Neither Valbuena nor Stewart, even if they rake for the next few months, is going to net a huge haul at the deadline, if the Cubs elect to move them. But in a very weak third base market, a successful stick could still bring back something worth considering.

So, how does trade value factor into the decision about who starts when Ian Stewart is healthy?

It seems fair to say, based on perceived talent and past history, Stewart has the higher upside if he’s reaching his ceiling of performance. The glove is slightly better, and the power potential is much higher. Thus, if you believed that Stewart was finally over his wrist issue and was primed to actually perform well again, then you’d want Stewart getting the bulk of the third base starts from here until the trade deadline. That is to say, if you knew in advance that both guys were going to rake if they were given the starts, Stewart would probably accumulate more trade value by July than would Valbuena.

On the other hand, Valbuena is relatively hot right now, and might be a safer bet to actually keep producing if he stays in the starting role. Is it worth risking that production for the slight chance of Stewart reaching his upside?

It’s a tough question, particularly when you consider Valbuena’s more attractive contract situation (he makes just $930K in his first year of arbitration this year; Stewart is making $2 million this year, with one more year of arbitration remaining). But I’ve got to believe that, in the eyes of other teams, a productive Stewart is worth more in trade than a productive Valbuena. Maybe even a great deal more.

For that reason, even as Valbuena continues to produce, it still probably makes sense to turn third base over to Stewart whenever he’s ready. Besides, given Valbuena’s versatility and low cost, the Cubs might be keen on keeping him for 2014 anyway. No sense in showcasing a guy for trade if you’re not going to move him. Stewart, on the other hand, feels far more like a short-term piece. For that reason, in a season like this one, he’s the guy you want starting at third.

Maybe Valbuena can slide over to second base.

(*Ducks.*)

  • CubFan Paul

    I’m seeing too many “luck” references when it comes to stats, babip in particular.

    Luck has nothing to do with it. Either you’re making adjustments and not hitting balls directly at defenders or you’re adjustments if any aren’t working.

    • Kyle

      Nobody is a good enough hitter at the MLB level to hit the ball intentionally between the defenders.

      • FrozenHeadOfTedWilliams

        Thpppppt!

      • MightyBear

        “Hit em where they ain’t.” – Wee Willie Keeler

      • jt

        Good hitters are good enough to spoil hard to hit pitches or pitches that they will have to hit into the defense. Good hitters are good enough to pull or hook pitches to their side of the field, inside out or gate to the opposite field or hit up the middle inappropriate pitches. Good hitters take control of the K zone. Of course, the same can be said of good pitchers.

    • David

      the goal of adjustments isn’t to steering the ball away from defenders. “Oh i always fly out to centerfield so I think i’ll just start hitting it in the gap instead.”

      • jt

        Rizzo was quoted yesterday as saying the he’d like to continue to try to hit the ball to center, left center.
        Yaz used the Monster at Fenway until ’67 when he pulled the ball to a triple crown.
        Boggs’ numbers went down when he moved the short right field porch in NY
        2003 Sosa got a lot of RBI hitting the ball up the middle under RISP in close games.
        2010 Scutaro was forced to play with a bum shoulder that wouldn’t allow him to freely swing. He’d foul off a lot of inside pitches until he got something away that he could gate to RF.
        Willy Mays would purposely look bad on a particular pitch so that he would see it again.
        *
        Good hitters have purpose and they are often able to implement that purpose.

    • Kramden

      I completely agree… Last week it was Rizzo with the bad luck, this week it’s Valbuena, in spring training it was a bunch of them.

    • Ryne Jones

      This is a terrible comment

  • David

    I have a feeling a platoon similar to Nate-Scott is coming.

    • Featherstone

      That doesn’t quite work since Valbuena has a reverse split in that he’s a lefty that hits lefties better.

      • Chad

        Well that’s perfect then because they both bat left handed. So Stewart takes the righties and Valbuena the lefties. I’m not a fan of this platoon but your argument doesn’t help that.

        • Johnathan

          Agreed with Chad here, it isn’t the most appealing thing but given your comment it makes more sense, especially given the amount of platoons we’ve seen so far.

  • Patrick

    Valbuena at second would be a decent move from an offensive standpoint but has he ever played any second base? If so, was he at least a formidable defender? If he is indeed at least league average over there than I believe this would be a decent move. Though it would plummet Barney’s trade value.

    • David

      you know you suck when you’re talking about putting valbuena in over barney because of his “bat”

      • Patrick

        He provides much more power than Barney ever will and gets on base just as much if not more. Even if you look at averages, Barney tops out at around .265 which is not a very good ceiling for a singles hitter. I’d rather have a guy who can hit for some power and hit .230 than what Darwin brings.

      • CB

        You know you suck when you’re talking about Ian Stewart. At all.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      He has played some 2nd. It’s an experiment I wouldn’t mind seeing.

      • Cedlandrum

        Valbuena mostly played SS with Iowa and up until 2008 it looks like 2nd was his primary position

  • Ryan Barnes

    “Killing it for the Cubs” and hitting .231 in the same sentence. Oof. He’s been better than I expected to date, but let’s not kid ourselves into actually believing Valbuena is anything more than a below average starting 3B.

    • TWC

      Let’s not kid ourselves into actually believing that batting average is a reasonable means for gauging offensive performance.

      • Deez

        .300 hitter is a .300 hitter even if it’s all singles. BA may not be the most effective way to gauge a hitter’s performance but it ain’t that bad.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Batting average certainly matters – a .300/.400/.500 guy is better than a .250/.400/.500 guy.

          But a .300/.330/.330 guy is much, much, much worse than a .250/.400/.500 guy. Batting average is a tool in the evaluating-player-performance tool belt, but it’s a small one.

          • http://obstructedview.net Myles

            I’d rather have the .250/.400/.500 guy, honestly. He’s moving more runners and more of his hits end up in scoring position

            • bbmoney

              I think that was brett’s comment. The .250 is far superior.

              • bbmoney

                *.250 guy

            • jt

              A small thing to consider is that BB do not contribute to SLG but singles do. The 0.250 hitter with the same OBP and SLG as the 0.300 may have a bit more power. The lack of singles has to be made up with more XBH’s.

      • David

        you’re right. lets look at his other stats. His career slugging % is 350 and OBP is under 300. Yes those numbers are higher this year, but it’s only April 21 so his current levels of 442 and .344 are bound to regress. Further, he’s a 28 year old journeyman “prospect” who hasn’t been very impressive in any of the opportunities he’s received, granted those have been few and far between (only 1000 career ABs). I agree with you the BA isn’t a good way to judge offensive production, but it doesn’t change the fact that valbuena sucks.

        • TWC

          [blah blah blah snipped] … but it doesn’t change the fact that valbuena sucks.”

          Who says it did? I said that BA wasn’t the most effective means of gauging offensive production. I was, and remain, correct. The rest of your comment is irrelevant to that argument.

          • David

            While your previous comment didn’t explicitly state that valbuena doesn’t suck, it did state that BA wasn’t a good measure of offensive performance, which led me to believe that you were implying that valbuena maybe performed better in other offensive categories. I agree that BA is an overrated and generally shitty statistic, but the point of my argument was that valbuena’s offensive performance is still shitty no matter what offensive statistic you look at.

            • TWC

              “… the point of my argument was that valbuena’s offensive performance is still shitty no matter what offensive statistic you look at.”

              Heh. Well, let’s just agree to agree with that!

        • hardtop

          the question isn’t whether or not valbuena sucks, the question is: how much more suckier is stewart than valbuena? the answer is: any bit of additional suckitude is enough suckage to play valbuena until he’s forgets how lace his cleats.

          stewart gets injured lacing his cleats ;)

          “a productive stewart” is Sasquatch; there have been sightings but it is generally believed not to exist.

      • Ryan Barnes

        Batting average definitely isn’t the be-all, end-all stat in baseball, but his career average is .224, OBP .295, and slugging .348. That’s over 1000+ career AB’s…not a huge sample size, but let’s compare to an aging veteran who most people would disregard at this stage of his career. Juan Pierre’s .296/.344/.362 numbers are bad with emphasis to SLG and it’s still better than what Valbuena’s done in his career thus far. It’s an off-subject remark to a degree because Pierre is a weak hitting, OF and never had any pop but that’s just to show that Valbuena hasn’t had a great career statistic-wise thus far. I hope he can keep hitting the ball hard and up the average a little bit from its current point, but we saw what Vitters did last year, we’ve seen Stewart briefly, I don’t think Valbuena is the Cubs worst option there by any means; I just still don’t think that Valbuena is even an average starting 3rd baseman by any means.There’s AT LEAST 20-25 other 3rd basemen better than Valbuena.

        • jt

          Valbuena has shown some power throughout his career. No one is going to regard him as a slugger but compared to that shown in the 2nd half, well, it is a huge difference. Something had to be going on there. I believe they were teaching him to control the K zone. He has always walked a lot but during that period his BB was ridiculous. If so, then expect him to be a different hitter this year. You can not make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear so I don’t expect a great hitter but I’m hopping for about a 0.725 OPS which would be an avg 2B and a huge upgrade over Barney.

    • cerambam

      .786 ops = killing it for the cubs, and kinda just in general.

    • wax_eagle

      OPS+ is the number to look at there. He’s been 16% better than the league average hitter (OPS+ of 100) this year. That’s good production.

      • terencemann

        Valbuena’s HR/FB ratio is 14.3 % right now. That’s the sort of number players with 20-25 HR put up over the course of a season. I’m guessing that won’t hold up but it would be rad as hell if it did for a little while.

      • Featherstone

        It also really means that league average at 3rd base has really fallen off in the last 10 years. Maybe we were just spoiled for so long by Aramis, but I grew up remembering a slugger at 3rd base.

        • Cubbie Blues

          You must not have grown up in the 80′s-90′s. Before Aramis, I don’t recall having much of anything at 3rd. Now, if you are talking about league-wide, I think you may be correct. But, I also have a suspicion that some of the players who mashed but busted at SS stopped automatically going to 3rd and started going to 2B as well.

          • Featherstone

            Was more a commentary on the league-wide dropoff at 3rd base. I recall the adage of having slugging at the corners and being strong defensively up the middle.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Yeah, I think that started to go out sometime around Sandberg. The FOs around the league saw what a benefit someone like that up the middle could do for a team.

  • The Dude Abides

    No way we go wrong with either of these guys no matter how you want to measure it. Sveum finally caught a break.

    • David

      valbuena or stewart…a good problem to have. Go cubs…2016 is the year

  • willis

    Until Stewart ultimately flops again this season, he’ll be the guy. The FO will never allow Valbuena to start over Stewart. Regardless of production both offensively and defensively. So, even though the stats and performance show us Valbuena should keep playing, there is 0% that happens unless Stewart gets hurt in the next week or so.

    Let’s hope he has found something and can give some production over there once up.

    • jdblades

      Yeah, the front office is the one puling the strings on who plays and who sits. Like before the season started Feldman got the 4th spot and would have bumped Villanueva even with the shit spring training results if Baker or Garza were healthy. It’s all about trade value, and one year contracts are the ones that usually get traded over say a Villanueva multi year deal. Which I don’t blame them sign a free agent to a one year deal, rent them for half a year and get prospects for free basically. Since Ricketts has cut the payroll bye 40 million or so, which I’m sure they weren’t aware of before they took over. They are having to work a whole lot harder and sacrificing a good team for years, to compete in the future. Who knows when the revenue from the renovation will come, so building a stronger farm is the only way to go right now. It is tough being a cubs fan these days but hopefully the future will make up for these God awful years of bad baseball and be all worth it. I can’t take much more of this if the payroll doesn’t go up next year or atleast see a much improved team.

  • Crockett

    Brett – did you see the Law article (insider) posted today about Rizzo?

    He says that the Cubs seemed to have altered Rizzo’s mechanics (I THOUGHT his swing looked slightly different). It’s an interesting read.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s on my reading list. Interesting premise.

      • baseballet

        Not sure how much light this sheds on Rizzo’s swing, but from ESPN Levine Chat:

        Question:

        In Keith Law’s recent article he suggested Anthony Rizzo switch back to his swing from last year which drew more contact and less power, and a possible demotion (which I know is unrealistic) to help bring back that swing. What is your opinion on that?

        Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)

        In talking to Rizzo he said the same thing. He told me he wants to continue to hit the ball to left and center field more often, especially against left-handed pitching.

  • ETS

    OPS + for 2013 cubs
    Castillo 131
    Rizzo 108
    Castro 105
    Valbuena 116
    Dejesus 162
    Schierholtz 154
    Sori 78
    Barney -6

    How have we scored so few runs?

    • ari gold

      We can’t score runs because if a guy is sitting on 2nd or 3rd, it’s close to a guarantee that they’ll remain there. We simply cannot hit with RISP.

      • terencemann

        The Cubs have the 3rd worst OBP in baseball. That’s why they’re not scoring runs.

        • DarthHater

          Yep. Cubs are 28th in OBP and 28th in runs scored. Funny how that works.

          • hansman1982

            We need more stolen bases?

            • TWC

              More bunting and “situational hitting”, you mean.

              • Cubbie Blues

                No,no,no. he means more hustle. You know, grit.

                • DarthHater

                  [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8521/8673808256_8716f287d6_m.jpg[/img]

                  • hansman1982

                    so sCRAP and BELLYf is truly what this team needs.

                    So does that mean that Sveum needs to be more or less engaged as a manager…or is it simply just more sCRAP and BELLYf

                    • DarthHater

                      You’re either born with fire in your belly, or you ain’t.

                    • hansman1982

                      I dunno, the burrito I had with my lunch is putting some fire in there.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Well, he needs to let the players work it out, but he needs to show some fire to let the players know he has their back. He can’t be stern with the players, but he needs to make sure they have their heads in the game and crack down on fundamentals. Basically, he needs to be Sandberg.

                      /S if anybody was wondering.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    larf

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    I disagree in terms of Stewart being better defensively. Valbuena has saved 14 runs over an average 3B in 242 chances according to baseball reference. Stewart has save 19 runs but in 902 chances. Their F% is negligibly in IS’s favor .958-.955, but that’s meaningless. To my eye test, Valbuena seems to have much more range. Really, I think he is an elite defender at 3B and he also a pitcher-working machine, seeing more pitches per plate appearance than any Cub. You could do a lot worse (like Stewart for example).

    As for power, LV had 73 HR in 2,480 minor league ABs. Stewart had 115 in just eight more at bats, but IS played in much friendlier hitting environments like Asheville and Colorado Springs, which lessens the advantage a bit. At the MLB level, LV has 20 taters in 1,052 at bats, definitely a lower rate than IS’s 59 in 1,421 ABs, but once again IS had the advantage of Coors.

    Moreover, IS is stinking it up big time at AAA right now and has not produced at any level in many years. If it was all the wrist, then maybe you can make a case for him, but I think he needs to prove it at AAA before he gets another shot in a lineup that already makes far too many outs. I’d rather see him released than handed a starting job he has not earned.

  • David

    we should stop arguing about whether Valbuena or Stewart is better. Stewart should play everyday regardless. At the end of the day, Stewart has had past success in the MLB and a 20 HR campaign wouldn’t be totally inconceivable. That said, i think he has a higher upside and thus the Cubs should play him everyday in hopes of flipping him for a mediocre prospect around July.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      You mean 1 20HR campaign 5 years ago.
      I am not sure about the higher upside, check his career numbers, he is the very definition of mediocre and will not play better than valbuena is right now… People need to give up the notion that his injuries held him back, he sucks…

      • David

        i agree that stewart sucks…i just have an irrational belief that for some reason stewart is more likely to have a good year. I love being a Cubs fan so that i can argue online over who is the better of two undeniably terrible 3rd basemen…remember when people though vitters would be ready in time to replace aramis? ahhahahahahah

        • TWC

          Gary Scott is the 3B of the future.

          • DarthHater

            The 1980s called. They’d like their comment back.

            • TWC

              Your memory called. It wants your memory of the 80′s back.

              Scott was the 1990/1991 “phenom”.

              • DarthHater

                Yea, so in the 80s he was in the future. :-P

    • Cedlandrum

      Stewart is awful. People are living off memories and the hope of talent with him, but even going back to his one above average year he OPS+102. His big 25 hr 75 rbi season he OPS+95. He isn’t good and it has been almost 4 years now since he was almost avg.

  • Stevie B

    Watched the game last night…

    I will be thoroughly impressed if we don’t lose 100-105 games.

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    And sorry for the typos…typing fast at work. :)

  • CB

    Why do people continue to pretend that Ian Stewart doesn’t blow? And pretty much always has. One season with an ops+ at or above 100 in his career (102).And then let’s overstate his slightly above average defense to make up an excuse to play him!

    He is currently 2 for 25 at Iowa. In the PCL. The PCL If he gets promoted, let alone handed the job, one or both of the following are treu: he heas some unsavoy picture of the Wonder twins together, or the Wonder twins aren’t even trying to hide the fact they are losing on purpose

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      I just don’t get it, people talk about him as if the cubs are missing out on something… Valbuena is one of the best cubs hitters right now and they will bench him for a guy that has absolutely sucked the last 2 years…

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    “His return has been long-awaited” by who???

    Stewart career numbers suck and has been absolutely terrible the last two years he has played, when he is not injured.

    He is struggling so far in Iowa and I doubt he will do better than he did last year, just cut him already…

  • JJ

    More likely is that “luck” has resulted in Valbuena’s current slash line being overinflated. His 116 OPS+ is driven heavily by 3 home runs in 52 at bats, a rate that would produce nearly 29 HR in 500 AB. Prior to this season, he had 1109 plate appearance and an even 1000 AB, hitting only 17 HR total (a rate of 8.5 per 500 AB). Perhaps he just happened to hit 3 of his 9 HR early in the season. Perhaps his career slash line entering this season of .224/.292/.343 with an OPS+ of 73 is about where he will end up. Stewart has had 3 seasons better than Valbuena’s best season. If Stewart is healthy and even close to his prior form, he is far far better now and has far greater value down the road.

  • Holden

    Why was Stewart assigned to Iowa? Isnt he on a minor league deal?

    • Kyle

      He’s got a major-league deal, but he’s on rehab assignment following his ST injury.

  • cubsin

    Cleverly avoiding any mention of the fact that Stewart missed most of last season and all of Spring Training. It takes a while to get rid of the rust. There’s a slim chance that Stewart might turn into a reasonable trading chip in July or an adequate third baseman for the 2014 Cubs. Valbuena is more likely to sprout wings than reach that threshold.

    • Kyle

      Ian Stewart will literally never run out of excuses for some people, I guess.

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        Yup, and even when healthy he was not very good…

        • npnovak

          a lot of people seem to think he was never really healthy last year

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    I’m still in the camp that Stewart may finally be “fixed’ and I want to see what he does with consistent playing time. If I’m the Cubs, he’s my starting third baseman. Give him and Barney an occasional day off if you want Valbueno in the lineup.

  • Edwin

    I don’t know if Valbuena is so “unlucky” with his BABIP. His career BABIP is only .268. I think BABIP is a good thing to consider when looking at why a player is or is not struggling, but a lower BABIP does not always mean unlucky.

  • Lyle Ernst

    C’mon Brett! put Valbuena at 2nd??? Are you serious??? We have a gold glove second baseman who is a much more consistent hitter than Valbuena.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That would be the duck. You have been trolled.

      • DarthHater

        [img]http://images.wikia.com/callofduty/images/0/0e/Troll_Duck.jpg[/img]

        • Troll Duck

          Hey there is no Duckin like Troll Duckin!

          • DarthHater

            I am the eggbird
            They are the eggbird
            I am the trollduck
            Quack-quack-gajack!

      • SirCub

        Brett Taylor’s Guide to Building a Succesful Web Site:

        Step 1. Troll your readers.

    • npnovak

      consistently below average

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I was completely OK with giving Stewart another chance this year, but there is no reason for the Cubs to do so given that he can’t even hit AAA yet. At this point he should either stay at Iowa until he produces there, or he should be a candidate for release.

  • Stu

    He won’t be on the Cubs when they finally are contenders. So what is the point? LOL.

    • Cubbie Blues

      The player we hopefully get back for him will be.

  • mudge

    I’d hate to tinker with the lineup, the way Valbuena is producing. You just don’t want to mess up the chemistry of a team like this.

    • TWC

      Lulz. Insert “Chemistry Cat” here.

      • Cubbie Blues

        This one has some chemistry with it.
        [img]http://www.upscale.utoronto.ca/GeneralInterest/Harrison/SchrodCat/cat.gif[/img]

        • TWC

          Let’s hope that broken vial contains hydrogen cyanide. That’s two for the price of one!

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://geeksbearinggifs.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/319832_373365782684439_367116489976035_1243005_1691607564_n.jpg[/img]

  • ruby2626

    How about Valbuena’s screwups at 3B that don’t show up in the box score. Remember in the opener how he went for the runner at home rather than the likely around the horn DP which would have gotten us out of the inning. Brewers then scored 4. How about the other day when we were up 2 to 0 on Milwaukee and the guy hits him a chopper with the bags loaded and 1 out. I froze my DVR, the guy running was barely halfway home and yet despite his momentum going toward the plate and a force there he threw to 1B. Cubs can’t afford to give runs away like that.

  • http://Isa Voice of reason

    Both are terrible! Neither belong on a major league roster! One can’t play baseball and the other cannot, ever, stay healthy.

    The answer to the question is so easy that this shouldn’t even be debated.

    Stewart will take over when he is healthy and will play for s short while before he gets injured again. Then the guy who can’t play baseball will be back in the lineup as the everyday third baseman.

    Is there any wonder why this team will lose 100 games again?

    • Cedlandrum

      Nah Valbuena isn’t terrible. He would be a very good utility player coming of the bench. Can play 3rd very well, SS fine and 2nd very well. He gives you a bit of pop and a professional AB. His only problem is that he is forced to start.

      • http://Isa Voice of reason

        I don’t care how many positions he can play. He doesn’t play any of them exceptionally and he can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. You do know that he is a lifetime .220 hitter?

        Valbuena should not be part of any major league roster, period.

        The problem with cubs fans is they have seen substandard and mediocre play for so long that they look at valbuena and accept him and think he’s decent.

        He isn’t decent. He sucks.

        • http://Isa Voice of reason

          And what in the he’ll is a professional at bat?

          I don’t think a lifetime .220 hitter does anything professionally when he is at the plate.

          • Cedlandrum

            Wow you don’t fit your name at all. Valbuena is an above average 3rd baseman right now. He also plays an adequate SS. That isn’t based on some random surmise, rather by watching him play the position at Iowa. He can play 3 positions pretty well.

            As for what is a professional AB? He isn’t overmatched up there. He will take pitches and look for one to drive. He isn’t up there just hacking because he is standing at the plate. He is someone also that at the end of the game you need a jack or a ball hit hard, he can do it.

            As for his .228 avg. I would say a couple of things. Number one you are too tied to his batting average, so you and I are going to have a hard time coming to any kind of understanding here. Number 2 Luis is coming into his prime. He came up as a very young man and struggled. I don’t think it is to unreasonable to believe that at age 27 after years of dominating AAA that he has figured it out.

            • http://Isa Voice of reason

              Facts:
              He is 27
              This is his third major leaguemorganization.
              He played for Cleveland and Seattle prior to the cubs.

              Questions:

              1. If he is an above average shortstop and third baseman right now then why are we talking about replacing him with Ian Stewart? The cubs would love to have a young talented play step forward and claim the position. You are the one, by the way, who says he is still young.

              2. If he is so good than why didn’t he get the chance to play regularly with two teams that were sub par when he was there and they would have loved to have him step forward and prove that he could be just “above average” as you say?

              3. You say that he has figured it out this year. I know it’s early, but he is hitting around his lifetime average of .231. Do you that shows he’s figured it out?

        • Cedlandrum

          I also want to say one other thing. I said he would be a good utility player. I don’t think I have substandard expectations, rather I think too many people over reach on what a good utility player is and what there numbers look like.

          A good utility player should be someone who comes in and plays good defense, can hit the occasional home run and gives you good ab’s. I think Valbuena does all of this.

    • Tommy

      Valbuena among 3rd basemen in the NL:

      2nd in HR’s
      5th in RBI’s
      3rd in SB’s
      2nd in BB’s
      6th in OBP
      5th in SLG
      6th in OPS
      7th in WAR

      Great numbers? No. Not worthy of being on a major league roster? You don’t know what you’re talking about – clearly. Do you even watch the games or just blather in hyperbole? Voice of Reason must be some type of ironic moniker, right?

      • http://Isa Voice of reason

        So, Tommy, why is there a debate to replace him with Stewart?

        After all, according to your stats after x number of games he is one of the better third basemen in the league

        • Tommy

          I was merely countering your point that he doesn’t belong on a MLB roster. I never said he was one of the best 3rd basemen in the league, but he certainly deserves to be playing in the bigs.

  • Spriggs

    Well, we’re going to be looking at the Great Lefty Masher Cody Ransom at 3rd tonight, so this discussion may be moot.

  • FarmerTanColin

    Wow this is far too negative. According to fangraphs last year Valbuena saved one less run at third than Barney did at second. He also only played 90 games. I know its difficult to get past the bias and the low batting average but he is playing well right now.

    If you want to talk potential look at Valbuena’s minor league numbers and they’re very good. Maybe it just took him this long to figure it out like a few other players. (Torres, McGehee, Morse all had good seasons after stays in the minors.)

    A player with elite defense, double digit walk numbers and can flirt with a .500 slg duh if anything platoon him with Barney at second and use Barney as the backup with Stewart at 3rd or just leave LV at third until he drops off a cliff.

    • http://Isa Voice of reason

      So, farmertancolin, you are saying that valbuena plays elite defense?

      Don’t you think that’s going overboard?

      • FarmerTanColin

        In the MLB last season he was 3rd in UZR behind Moustakas and Wright for 3B. That’s pretty elite. He was also only behind only them in runs saved.

        So yes he’s very good there.

        • Timothy Scarbrough

          There is no reason why you would really trust UZR after 90 games. In general you need 3 seasons worth of opportunities to feel like you have a good baseline in UZR.

  • Jp3

    You know that this season is shit when this is a major delima going forward on 2 historically crappy players😞. Brett I can’t wait til we’re any good and we’re talking about who we need to pick up at the trade deadline to make a run at the central.

  • mudge

    A question on platoons: Let’s say player A hits .275 against lefties and .210 against righties, when he plays every day. If he doesn’t play every day, will he still hit as well against leftties, or will he hit, for example, .198 playing twice a week? Are there stats on this?

    • Cyranojoe

      THIS. Want to know. Surely there’s a big impact on getting to play every day v. erratically. We’re seeing that anecdotally in Schierholtz. Has anybody got stats?

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      It depends on a lot of factors. I did a little bit of looking into this, and it seems like there isn’t enough data to draw statistical conclusions. It depends on the individual hitters a lot in that regard.

  • Randy

    Lets see the Cubs are going nowhere and let see we are talking about Valbuena. He wouldnt be a bench palyer for a good team. Who gives a crap. Stewart will play for the simple reason that Jed and Theo traded for him. They are going to have to see if he can get his offense together or not.

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