Not So Fortuitous Contact, Assad and Imanaga with the Best Pitches, Alonso Offer, and Other Cubs Bullets

The kids are in their final week of school, which is always chaos. But then they are home for the summer, which is also chaos. So I guess it’s chaos.

  • I knew Christopher Morel had been hitting the ball much better than his results were showing (and the results lately are still really good anyway), but yeesh. I didn’t realize he had the 7th largest spread in baseball between his wOBA (.314) and xwOBA (.384). That’s the 23rd highest xwOBA in baseball (recall, that’s a measure of what a player’s productivity SHOULD be, based on walks, strikeouts, and contact quality). Dude is due for some serious good luck regression. He has been performing like a star and not getting anything close to the results to match.
  • Now that I look at the list at Statcast, the Cubs have two guys in the top 13 of “unluckiest” hitters by this measure (Dansby Swanson), and three in the top 53 (Miguel Amaya). I was a little surprised to see that Seiya Suzuki was only slightly unlucky, because he’s been WRECKING the ball the last two weeks and has hit into so many outs.
  • As a team, the Cubs’ wOBA is 13 points lower than their xwOBA, making them the 9th unluckiest offense, at least by this measure. It will absolutely, positively not shock you to learn that the Brewers sit at the top of the luckiest list (albeit by only 9 points).
  • This list is incredible for two obvious reasons:
  • Most obviously, Shota Imanaga’s four-seam fastball has started to lap the field in total value. It’s the most valuable pitch in baseball by A LOT. But then also, notice Javier Assad there – his sinker is the most valuable on a per-pitch basis! In a way, the Cubs have the two most valuable pitches in baseball, depending on how you measure it!
  • Julian Merryweather (rib fracture) has been cleared to begin his throwing program in Arizona (The Athletic), so, if he’s basically doing Spring Training all over again, you’d be looking at late-June as the best case scenario for his return.
  • Brennen Davis gets some love for his absurd week, as does his teammate B.J. Murray Jr.:
  • The Mets reportedly offered Pete Alonso seven years and $158 million last year on an extension, but it was considered “not close.” Betting on himself, the 29-year-old first baseman is hitting .235/.309/.454/119 wRC+ with 10 homers and a .339 xwOBA, all of which are fine numbers, though a bat-only first baseman heading into his 30s in free agency probably needs a much better platform year if he’s going to come close to the $200 million he and Scott Boras might be envisioning. As far as the Cubs go, I’m sure they continue to hope that Michael Busch really breaks out, and the Cubs don’t have to consider the Alonso market too seriously unless a real value play emerges.
  • The Brewers lost last night after being up 2-0 in the 9th with one out. The tying run scored on a blooper with two outs, and then the Marlins walked it off the next inning:
  • So, the Cubs sat out the day, and nevertheless pulled to within 1.5 games of first place.
  • Hmm. Wonder what’s up with Ronald Acuña Jr., and can he please and thanks keep doing it this week against the Cubs:
  • Can he please also do this:
  • Not sure what everyone is complaining about. The new Cardinals City Connects are perfect:
  • How John Mallee came back to the Cubs’ organization, and the value he provides:
  • 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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