anthony rizzo happy celebrationLast night, Anthony Rizzo went 1-1 with four(!) walks. That “1” was a homer.

Starlin Castro went 3-4 with two doubles and a walk.

Welington Castillo went 3-4 with a double and a walk.

These are all fantastic nights, and they are of the character that we can have a little statistical fun. So, let’s …

  • Coming into the game, Rizzo had gone into something of a mini-slump, seeing his OPS fall from .948 on April 20, down to .797. With his one big night, that OPS rocketed back up to .864.
  • The four walks brought Rizzo’s walk rate up to an incredible 15.9%, matching his 15.9% strikeout rate. That walk rate, and his .407 OBP, are good for 16th best in all of baseball.
  • The one home run in one at bat raised Rizzo’s ISO 31(!) points.
  • Rizzo’s BABIP – .310 – didn’t change last night over his five plate appearances. He never put a ball in play. That’s usually not a compliment, but, when it’s walks and homers? It’s fantastic.
  • Castro’s overall line got a healthy bump last night, from a very-good-for-a-shortstop .290/.317/.440 to a very-good-for-a-baseball-player .308/.339/.471. That line would mark Castro’s best career season by far.
  • That also marks an OPS climb of 54 points.
  • Castro isn’t a “strikeout” guy, but it became a slight problem for him last year. This year? His K rate has dropped to 11.9%, the lowest of his career, and the 10th lowest in the National League.
  • Castillo saw his OBP climb 30 points from scary territory (.299) to well above average (.329). He added 26 points in BA, too.
  • Castillo’s wOBA was pretty nice for a catcher coming into the game, .329. But after the game? At .355, he’s looking like an All-Star. (Well, he would be if there weren’t so damn many fantastic offensive catchers in the NL this year so far.)
  • Rizzo’s team-leading wOBA is now .359, which is actually just four points higher than Castillo, and just five points higher than Castro. How about that?
  • SamuraiJock

    Any idea when was the last time a Cubs hitter took 4 walks in a single game? Feels like most of them struggle to take 4 in a week, so it might have been a while…

  • JCubs79

    Is it too much to ask those three to have those stat lines every day?

  • Unlucky 13

    It feels good to have the guys who are important to the present and future performing at the ML level. A relief, really. It would be great if we could count on Castillo to be our 7 or 8 hitter in a few years once more of the prospects get to the ML team. A guy at the bottom of the order with 25+ HR power would be quite the welcome change, even if he hits about .240.

    • Soda Popinski

      Relief is right, pal. I’m not sure what I would have done if Castro and Rizzo were really struggling again this year. Probably bitch… and then not watch baseball for a while. I think Castillo hits better than .240 every year, but doesn’t make it to 20+ HR power.

  • COWA

    I believe Sharma was extremely high on Ramirez in a podcast last year (before the “Olt” trade).

  • Jon

    Here’s another angle regarding the Rizzo/Cashner trade. Ever think for a second the Padres want to redo that? I’m Looking at statistics for 1st baseman, and planted at the bottom is Alonso..again! Now I understand he plays in Petco, but his splits away are not pretty either.

    I would have to assume, that with another shot, Rizzo could have rebounded even in Petco. Plus he would have been a better defensive player for them no matter what.

    Just food for thought….

    (The above assumes the Padres kept Rizzo, and traded Alonso for pitching, or never did the Latos-Alonso trade to begin with)

  • ThatCubsFan21

    Another interesting note. Castro is 3rd among all shortstops in BA and 5th in SLG and OPS. And what about just the NL (for the sake of All-Star evaluation)? 2nd for BA and 4th for SLG and 3rd for OPS. Only 11th for fielding %, though *sigh*. But it’s not like anyone expected him to be a Gold Glove SS.

    I know it’s only a month in, but it really looks like he’s back to true form. Assuming he keeps up this current performance, I think he has another All-Star appearance ahead of him.

    And looking at performances thus far, the Cubs actually have a healthy number of candidates for All-Star voting (Shark, Hammel, Wood, Rizzo, Castro, Bonafacio?, Castillo if he can build on this hot streak). So I mean, our W-L may not be anything pretty to look at, there’s been some great individual performers to watch, so there’s that for a positive take away from the season thus far!!

    • ssckelley

      The only time I get nervous when Castro fields a ball is when it is a routine play, if he made those consistently then he could be a gold glove caliber shortstop. Some of the tough plays he has made are jaw dropping and he has good range.

      But yeah, if Castro keeps hitting at this rate you would have to consider him for the All Star game.

      On that all star note, the way to early considerations are obviously Samardzija and Hammel but could Rondon be considered and how about Castillo for backup catcher?

      • TheDondino

        On the All-Star note, those guys may be worthy, but unless we get the record turned around in a hurry, I don’t see a team with our record getting more than a couple players on the AS team. Fair or not, the team record will have some impact on the number of players chosen for the team.

        • ssckelley

          I do not disagree with you there.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Given that most plays are routine, most errors come on routine plays. It’s the same thing as “most car accidents are within X miles of home”: true, but, then, that’s where most driving takes place.

        • ssckelley

          But in Castro’s situation he is damn near perfect when he has no time to think. We seen a couple of plays made last night that were tough plays but counted as errors, Castro was not involved.

          I get what you mean, common sense tells you most errors happen on routine plays based purely on the numbers.

        • Ian Afterbirth

          I get what you mean, too, but this is different. I, too, only get antsy on his routine plays.

  • Jon

    And good grief Fielder is having a terrible year so far. With that big checkbook, shouldn’t have the Rangers signed Jose Abrue and kept Kinsler?

    I’m upset the Cubs didn’t get Abrue but to be fair, there are ALOT of teams in that line, that should have made a bigger play(in hindsight of course :) )

    • Featherstone

      It was no coincidence that only AL teams were in on Abreu. The DH rule is a significant advantage for AL teams when looking to sign a player with his defensive abilities.

    • tymx9

      Looking at it now, yeah they should’ve kept Kinsler but at the time Profar was healthy and they had a hole to fill at firstbase. Cuban players are a mystery and I’m willing to bet, like many other teams, they didnt want to roll the dice with that kind of money on him. Fielder for the most part, has produced every year and with a park thats known to be hitter friendly, the trade makes sense. That and Kinsler wasnt happy. They dicked him around like they did Michael Young and he wanted out. It’s only the second month of the season. He’s going to figure it out. Its amazing they had all their success without him doing anything.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Being 2 games over 0.500 with a -21 RD is what is amazing: and something that isn’t apt to be sustained.

        • Ian Afterbirth

          Anything’s possible if you believe in magic.

        • Brocktoon

          That only matters if you think the -21 RD is indicative of what they’ll do the rest of the season. I do not.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Well, Run Differential is a much better predictor of future success than is W-L record. Moreover, although one month is a small sample size for a player, it is a decent one for a team. When we see big changes because of guys returning from injuries or guys being lost to injuries.

            • Brocktoon

              I feel pretty confident that the Rangers are not a true talent 69 win team. Do you disagree?

  • ChrisFChi

    Love seeing Castro’s slash right now. Still early, but I hope that he continues staying solid.

    • tymx9

      Both him and Rizzo. It’s nice to actually have someone to watch at the big league level.

  • OCCubFan

    Real Fun with a Big Game.
    Their BA/OBP/SLG/OPS lines are:

    Rizzo: 1.000/1.000/4.000/5.000
    Castro: .750/.800/1.250/2.050
    Castillo: .750/.800/1.000/2.000

    Now if only we could get that every game…

    • OCCubFan

      *for the one game

  • Featherstone

    I think the fun stat I like the most so far about Rizzo is his slash line against lefties this year. In 38 PAs he has a .387/.474/.613 with a .467 wOBA and 200 WRC+

    Granted that a very small sample sized being fueled by a .455 BABIP, but good gracious is it nice to see him make strides in fixing what many considered his biggest weakness last year.

  • roz

    For anyone that’s active on Twitter, I think someone pissed in Loxas’s coffee this morning or something. He’s started a good conversation and I don’t think he’s entirely wrong, but holy shit is he ranting about Mooney’s article and the rebuild.

    • Jon

      He’s pretty much spot on.

    • Jon

      Monney’s quote./tweet is the best

      Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 1h

      @RealFansProgram @TomLoxas It’s not “should’ve signed this guy” or one player would make difference. It’s pattern of missed opportunities.

      • CubFan Paul

        Mooney always puts (team sourced) nuggets in his pieces:

        “the Cubs… internal projections had the payroll pushing to $160 million and beyond by 2010”

        New ownership and debt squashed those winning plans.

        • FullCountTommy

          So if you have complaints, direct them toward Sam Zell

          • CubFan Paul

            Or the Ricketts, who feel that they have to pay for their debts out of team revenue

            • hansman

              Or MLB who requires them to set aside X% for debt payments.

              • FullCountTommy


              • CubFan Paul

                Spin it how you want

                • Jason P

                  It’s not spin, it’s facts.

                  • Billy

                    How someone can dispute this as fact is baffling

                    • hansman

                      The only real argument is that the Ricketts, possibly, could pay off the debt and free up $30M a year.

                      Provided the purcha…er, partnership agreement allows it.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      @Hansman So, if they wanted Choo, they could have had him. Possibly, of course.

            • FullCountTommy

              Ya you’re right, I guess they could just go out back and pick it off the money tree they have growing…O wait

              • YourResidentJag

                It’s not necessarily about just FAs. It’s also about strategic trades. So, the $$ argument = THIN.

        • Jon

          Payroll could be at 111 million this year, and maybe even more the team wasn’t so bad(attendance, revenues,etc.)

  • Jon

    Wada continues to put up video game numbers in Iowa so far today 5IP 8Ks 1BB ERA down to 0.57


    Castro also was inches way from hitting a HR yesterday. His double in the 9th hit the top of the outfield wall.

    He has had a quite a few balls go to the warning track this year I think he has a really good shot at 20+ HR this year, which would be fantastic!

    • JWestfall

      His first double was off the wall as well.

  • VittersStartingLF

    How many shutouts does Wada have to throw at Iowa to get a chance? Five more shut out innings so far today with 8 Ks and 2 hits.

  • VittersStartingLF

    His ERA is 0.57

  • Darth Ivy

    Just read in the tribune that Rizzo is batting .387 vs LHP. Nicccccce

  • Spoda17

    I read the Mooney article. One thing people seem to forget… is that if we sign Cespedes, Puig, Ryu, or the like… we don’t have Bryant or Almora, and we still would not have a playoff team. No one want to admit it, but ii they don’t lose, we don’t have the studs (other than Baez) in the system, and we would be on the back end of some of those contracts.

    • Jon

      This is incredibly inaccurate. None of those players would have impacted drafting Almora and only Cespedes would have impacted drafting Bryant.

    • ssckelley

      I doubt they would have called Puig up last season. In all likely hood the Cubs still are in position to draft Almora and if they had signed just Puig they would probably have Bryant as well.

      This might not be a popular opinion but I am not so sure I would not trade Bryant and Almora for the rights to either Cespedes, Ryu, plus whatever prospects they did manage to sign in their place (from drafting lower).

      • Karl Groucho

        It’s hard to take all the noise out of this, as well as ex post bias, but I (at the time, and with hindsight) would have liked to see us commit more to posted and non-posted int’l players.

        Knowing what we know about finances I’m not surprised we didn’t bid harder, but it would be an interesting “Plan” to blow the budget on these types — win bidding/negotiating at all costs for a large number of these players — and hope to get good $/WAR in total. When you’re competing against an entire league for these players that’s more easily said than done, but would be an interesting plan for a team both in bad ML shape and in a large market.

        • Karl Groucho

          This is entirely an intellectual exercise at this point, but say a team with a 70M budget says “we will win int’l posted and non-posted player negotiations at all costs,” and they get an absurdly high number of them: Cespedes, Puig, Abreu, Ryu, Darvish, Tanaka. That’s 79M per year at their current contracts (factoring in posting fees, with Tanaka’s distributed over just four years due to opt-out), but let’s up that by another 12M/year (roughly 10M more per player contract total) because their approach was win-at-all-costs. So 91M. That team payroll is 161M/year, good for 6th in MLB.

          Between the 2011 season and now they have added 6 top-flight players while only hurting the growth of their farm system because they’ve fielded a higher quality MLB team (which is fine when the players you’re paying to get are in approx. their mid-20s). Even if we imagine one or two of these players flops (I’ve conveniently selected the 6 who have performed well), 91M is ~14WAR, using a 6.5M/WAR price. The four who played last year were worth 14.1WAR in total for the 2013 season — so two of these could be worth 0WAR and you’re still paying market rate for young FAs (and “market rate” is usually that paid for post-prime players!).

          Of course the logistics of this are near impossible as applied, both on the negotiating an scouting end. But it’s a crazy plan to imagine.

      • Jon

        I’m glad we sucked in 2012, because getting Bryant was huge.

        That said, I would easily trade off getting one of those players(meaning we were a better team last year) and picking 7th, 8th or 9th in this draft.

        There are a lot of things that kind of suck at the top of this draft, they are all pitchers, 1-4 it’s still a coin flip, etc.

        • ssckelley

          I am happy they got Bryant as well but the Cubs would look a heck of a lot better right now with a guy like Cespedes in the middle of the lineup. But I doubt they would have won any more games last season with him, comparing his numbers to Schierholtz they are about the same. I doubt the Cubs sign Schienholtz if they had Cespedes. But they might have won 2 or 3 more games in 2012 with him replacing DeJesus. I think they would have had to win 4 more games in order to draft below the Rockies.

      • Brocktoon

        Almora was picked based on the 2011 record before the FO was even here.

    • Head and Heart

      A couple things here though. Teams who rarely have a top 10 pick still seems to have really good and deep systems. A team doesn’t have to suck to attain “stud” prospects. Xander Bogaerts for example. Mike Trout wasn’t a top 20 pick. So there is a chance the Cubs would be more competitive, closer to a playoff spot, and still developing a strong system. They got Olt, Edwards, Grimm and Ramirez for Garza. So if they had more good players they’d have even more opportunity to make smart trades to help stock the system as well.

      • hansman

        A few examples of something doesn’t make it true.

        Over the life of baseball, teams consistently get higher career WAR the further up the draft you go. While it is possible (and this FO should be able to do it) to get quality talent later in the 1st round, the expectation should be that you are more likely to find quality at the top of the draft.

  • Dustin S

    Not the ideal thread but had to pick one, so just a couple random blips on todays twitter storm. One on E Jackson, it seems like most view his signing as a miss/bad contract, and i think everyone including him would like to see him do better. But his numbers with the Cubs are within 10% or so of his career numbers. Not exactly Mike Hampton territory.

    The second thought on the Cubs not landing more FA/IFAs. It’s tough to complain in a blind bidding process. If the Cubs outbid the next closest team by $30m the same folks would be griping at the wasted $. And regular FAs aren’t going to come to a .300-.400 eam over a contender for a couple extra million. Have to start showing some signs of being on the upswing first.

  • Ivy Walls

    Cubs need more big sticks, a LHP +OPS of 875 in in the OF and another +OPS .850 on the infield and all would be better.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo should stay on safari at least til All Star game as Mgr Rick Castro to cleanup is MOY material

  • Medicos

    DOC; I agree that Run Differential is a decent predictor of future pitched success. . I also like to check out if the pitcher hcan double his strikeout rate over walks given up and pitching more innings than hits allowed.

  • Pingback: Series Preview: Cardinals v. Cubs, May 2 – May 4, 2014 | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()