Heyward's Absurd Double Play Rate, Cubs Hard Contact, Brewers Skill and Luck, and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

Heyward’s Absurd Double Play Rate, Cubs Hard Contact, Brewers Skill and Luck, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Last call: today is the deadline to apply for our full-time Bulls writer position. Details here. Yes, that means eventually we will be covering the Bulls (in addition to the Bears) here at Bleacher Nation. I just think there are folks out there looking for BN-style coverage of other Chicago sports, and I’m excited to help develop that. My personal focus will always remain the Cubs, and for those of you who are EXCLUSIVELY Cubs fans, no worries: whatever happens with our coverage of other sports, you will always be able to come straight to the Cubs coverage if you want, just like it’s been for 10 years.

And how could you NOT want to focus on Cubs coverage when there’s so much joyful stuff to get into …

  • On the whole, I remain very positive about, and encouraged by, the offense. If they can avoid trying to do too much to overcome any perception they may have about the bullpen’s weaknesses, they look like they’re really on the right track so far.
  • Well, with at least one obvious exception – though it’s been the story for a few years now, so it’s not an unexpected one. Jason Heyward continues to struggle with the ability to hit the ball hard in the air. He’s actually hitting the ball reasonably hard overall … but it’s just all on the ground, which actually makes him even more susceptible to double plays.
  • Speaking of which, Jason Heyward leads baseball with five grounded into double plays already in five games, which is truly remarkable. It’s kind of funny when you remember that this is not at all sustainable (right?):

  • One more, from me: there were 19 players with at least 500 plate appearances last year who did not ground into more than five double plays. Heyward has done it in five games.
  • The reality right now that Heyward is facing: until he does some damage, the scouting report is literally going to be to just throw fastballs of any velocity at any location in the strike zone. Until he punishes pitchers for that, why would they do anything else? I don’t *think* it was intentional, but man, Jon Lester walked TWICE in front of Heyward last night. That’s insane.
  • Note, though, that Jason Heyward’s 50% overall groundball rate is not worst on the team, as Albert Almora and Kris Bryant are currently near 60%. Small samples abound. As a team, the Cubs’ 46.9% groundball rate is 5th highest in baseball.
  • One positive: the Cubs’ 44.8% hard contact rate is tops in baseball.
  • That 8th inning last night was so bad that even the national MLB stats guys were taking notice:

  • This is indeed a little darkly funny:

  • I’m going to get crapped on for saying this, but that doesn’t make me wrong … although this is at least partly a reflection of some killer arms in the bullpen, we know enough about baseball to know that this is also a healthy dose of good luck:

  • That said, it sorta doesn’t matter whether those one-run wins have been 70% skill and 30% luck (or whatever), because they are wins in the book now, and they are wins the Cubs don’t have yet.
  • (Now, could I say the reverse is also true about the Cubs? That the sucky results thus far are at least partly a reflection of some deep problems in the bullpen, but we know it is also at least partly some small sample bad luck? I could say that. I’d be afraid to. But I could …. )
  • Never pitch to Ozzie Albies again. I don’t care if that makes me a meatball idiot. The guy has 57 plate appearances against the Cubs the last two years, and he’s hitting .500/.571/.875.
  • Very good Deals of the Day at Amazon today, with Easter basket stuff, basketball stuff, cheap magazines, and more.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.