One of the coolest things to do in the off-season, especially now that the winter meetings are done and baseball heads into a bit of a lull is to look back at the season that was and see what we can mine from it. I did that a few days ago with the cost of production from the 2007 Cubs as well as the look at how well our pitching staff performed. It’s that time again, with a look at how the Cubs lineup stacked up by position against the rest of baseball.
For this study, I used the stat OPS+, which is an adjusted look at On Base % + Slugging. What this does is take the park a player plays in out of the equation. It attempts to balance the playing field a little. An OPS+ of 150 or more is excellent, while an OPS+ of 50 or less is poor. I broke down the main contributor by position for each team in baseball last year below. Leaders by position are highlighted in yellow.
After looking at the data, I notice a few things that can either encourage us or worry us.
We were below average at the catcher position, though we already probably knew that. What was surprising, at least to some, was that we were also below average at the SS, CF & RF position. RF figures to improve significantly with the Fukudome signing, but as of right now, I see a regression even further at CF with Pie in that spot and hole at shortstop with Theriot in that spot. I know people like to think Theriot is a great player, but look at the numbers. He had an On Base % of just .326. Very few teams had a SS with less production last year than the Cubs with Theriot.
Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Minnesota & Oakland all had DH’s with OPS+ below 100. All the guy has to do is hit. Can’t they find someone a little better?
The New York Yankees had a beast of a lineup, but we already knew that.
Where did Carlos Pena come from for Tampa Bay? This was a guy that the Rays practically pulled off the scrap heap. He comes in and posts the highest production in all of baseball for first base.
The C, SS & CF position appear to be the lowest offensive positions in baseball. That being said, it makes me feel a little better to know that those are our weak spots in the lineup.
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