Reyes Stepping Back, Limits of Oppo Power, Jarring Attendance, and Other Cubs Bullets

I need to find a good new podcast. Like, one of those good, weird, long stories. Not necessarily true crime, but just something that plays out over many episodes, and unspools an interesting tale.

  • I have been waiting to check back in on Franmil Reyes’ numbers with the Cubs, because I knew they were slipping and I didn’t want to overreact. But, just as we checked in on the small-sample initial results with the Cubs, it’s only fair to at least point out where things stand after the numbers have reversed course: .233/.293/.380/89 wRC+ over 140 PAs with the Cubs. With only nine games remaining on the season, it has become a lot harder to see the Cubs tendering Reyes a contract in arbitration this offseason (he’d be due a healthy raise on his $4.55M salary, and he’s DH-only). He could explode from here, of course, and the final numbers with the Cubs might look great. Don’t rule it out. I’m just saying that he has not made the tender decision as obvious as it looked like it was pointing a month ago.
  • The numbers with the Cubs are trending ever closer to his disappointing start to the year with Cleveland, and the main culprit is a near total evaporation of his power production (.147 ISO with the Cubs, .137 ISO with Cleveland – career before this year was .243). His BABIP, walk rate, and strikeout rate are all consistent with career marks. He just isn’t hitting for power. There’s also a reminder there that there WAS a warning about the de-juiced baseballs this year having a disproportionate impact on Franmil Reyes, specifically.
  • Speaking of the de-juiced baseballs, I missed this Eno Sarris piece on the opposite-field homer from mid-summer, as he wrote about the impact of the de-juiced baseball on oppo shots, specifically. I saw the article because Sarris tweeted an update recently on the data points, of which the most important thing was this: Pull-side home runs are down 15% from last year, but oppo-side homers are down 31%. In other words, thanks to the changes to the ball, it got even HARDER to for your oppo shots to go out of the park. I’m not sure I love the aesthetic implications there, making it all the more desirable for some players to sell out for pull-side power (at the expense of balls play).
  • A reminder that, for reasons we haven’t quite yet isolated in the data, balls hit at the same exit velocity and launch angle – one pulled, one oppo – will not travel the same distance, and the pulled ones will generally travel further. We *suspect* it may have to do with the way the ball spins when coming off the bat to the opposite field, and/or something about the way the point of contact on each impacts the ball’s movement. We know it’s a reality that oppo shots don’t travel as far as pulled shots, we just don’t know precisely what’s doing the heavy lifting.
  • Dreamt last night that Seiya Suzuki returned to the Cubs for this Phillies series and homered twice in the opener. I guess I’m really eager to see him back. Suzuki is currently on the Restricted List to be with his wife as they await/receive the arrival of a kiddo. Much more important than him getting back to the Cubs for the final week of games, you just hope everything is going smoothly for the Suzuki’s.
  • Monday in late September against the also-bad Reds, and all that stuff. I’m not ripping the fans at all. But it’s still REALLY JARRING to see a stadium THIS empty:
  • My first thought was that it looks like the pandemic season, and:
  • I chuckled:
  • The Chicago Blackhawks have their first preseason game tonight, so if you’re into the hockeys, make sure you follow our coverage – and give us a follow on Twitter, too:
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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