Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indeed!
This is how the Cubs’ starting eight (nine if you count the two-headed monster at second base as individual entities) now looks with Nomar there (update–I’ve been having trouble with the geocities site this chart is posted to, so it might be gone when you look at it. If it’s not there and you’re still interested, click here to go to the chart):
VORP (Value over Replacement Player) and EqA (Equalized Average) are from http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ (link to stat glossary).
Win Shares is the Bill James brainchild; it can be found numerous places including here.
P/PA: Pitches/plate appearance…from http://www.espn.go.com/
K/AB: Strikeouts/at-bat. Each field from http://www.espn.go.com/
GIDP: Ground into double play. From http://www.espn.go.com/
What’s that chart tell me?
1) Sosa’s having a pretty good year.
2) The Cubs have several old players, but not as many as I thought.
3) No reasonable case can be made for starting Grudz over Walker.
4) The Cubs only have three guys with good plate discipline. One of them is now a bench player.
5) The new shortstop averages less than 3 pitches per plate appearance!!!! Unlike the other free swingers on the team, however, he puts the ball in play and hits ’em where they ain’t.
6) Looks like the Cubs starters ground into more than their fair share of double plays.
7) Nomar in the 2 hole makes good sense. Walker leading off would make even more sense now, since Nomar doesn’t take a lot of pitches and Walker’s not going to steal. Maybe Dusty has tricked himself into making the right decision for the wrong reason; he thinks Corey will hit well with Nomar behind him and thinks Nomar will be forced into a little patience every now and then so Corey can steal.
Looking at the lineup the rest of the year, I think we’ll see a definite improvement in consistency and regularity of runs scored with Nomar in the lineup. Though I think we can expect Ramirez and Barrett to play worse down the stretch than they have (simply because their numbers are so very far above their career numbers) and Grudz to drag the offense down a bit, Garciaparra’s presence alone will offset that. We have the pieces in place to win the wild card. I think the Cubs can survive losing one impact hitter or pitcher, but not two. As usual, it all boils down to people staying healthy.
And now, at least, the REAL reason for the start of the NLCS unraveling has taken his bad mojo elsewhere.
P.S. I just ran a spellchecker through this post and it suggested that I replace “Nomar” with “mammary.”
P.P.S. Ivy Chat noticed this before I did. So I win the silver medal.