There’s a brief point I’d been wanting to make, and, with today’s release of a new comprehensive offensive statistic at Baseball Prospectus (Deserved Runs Created Plus (DRC+)), it seemed like a fine time to make it. The short version? For as rough as things were for the Cubs’ offense in the second half last year, and how down we feel about the offense, you could argue that they were nevertheless very statistically lucky last year.
Looking at the Statcast data for 2018, you can see that – based on the actual quality of their contact – many Cubs hitters were very lucky last year to get the results they got. Indeed, by expected results, this was not even a remotely imposing offensive crew:
You can see it in the final two columns there: a whole lot of luck and a whole lot of performances that “should” have been a lot worse.
That is more or less confirmed in the DRC+ calculations, too, as summarized on Twitter by @FullCountTommy:
BP's new hitting stat is out. Of note for 2018 related to Cubs:
Rizzo (133 vs 125 wRC+)
DRC+ doesn't like:
Javy (115 vs 131)
Willy (91 vs 100)
Almora (82 vs 89)
Bryant (109 vs 125)
Happ (94 vs 106)
Zo (118 vs 123)
Schwarbs (118 vs 115)
J-Hey (97 vs 99) https://t.co/iymnW4rpgJ
— SignBryceHarperCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) December 3, 2018
The results are the results, and as even BP recognizes, no statistic is going to be perfectly evaluative or predictive. But, given that the Statcast data and the DRC+ calculations are approaching things in very different ways, where you see this much overlap, it should catch your eye.
And what it should say to you is two things:
(1) Without fundamental changes in the offensive approach for several of these guys, you would expect things to get worse, not better, next year; and
(2) GO. GET. A. BAT.