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June 2013

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COMMENTS

Northside Archives: No Batter, No Batter

Written by , Posted in General

The Cubs lineup, as currently constructed, has evidenced an obvious problem early this season. It has not one bona fide hitter. This fact holds back the Cubs in almost every series. A couple of guys get on base, and you start looking down the lineup for someone who you could count on to get a big base hit. And you keep looking…and looking…Rizzo hasn’t earned a reputation for that yet, Castro’s prolonged slump sees his average in the .250s – sometimes I think we’re more likely to walk in a run than hit it in with the bases loaded.

And this team is loaded with bad hitters. Guys who are poor to awful at getting hits. It might even be a record setting group before the year ends.

Above .280
Right now, Nate Schierholtz is the only qualifier who is hitting above .280 – you have to go back to 2002 for a Cubs team that had only one player finish the year above that mark. In fact, from 2003-2010 at least 3 qualifiers finished above that mark (with 7 players accomplishing the feat in 2008). It was Sammy Sosa, who at .288 paced the 2002 squad. Most seasons (in large part thanks to Cub greats like Grace, Madlock, Santo, Banks, Sandberg, Williams, etc.) the Cubs had at least one player finish above .300 – so to not have a player crest .280 would be significant. Right now the only non-qualifiers above the mark are Ryan Sweeney and Travis Wood.

All Below .280
But what if Schierholtz drops below .280 and no one moves above that mark? That would be nearly unprecedented in Cub history. You have to go all the way back to 1917 for the last time that the franchise didn’t have a single qualifier finish with a batting average above .280 – 95 years! And it’s possible that we’re headed that way this year. Rizzo, Soriano, Castillo, DeJesus, and Castro could all finish above the mark and I wouldn’t be surprised. But none of them is a guarantee to get there at this point. Schierholtz’s career numbers have it possible that he’ll stay north of .280 – but not a certainty by any means.

Does It Matter?
For one year…no. It’ll be more of a novelty (in 2011 the Cubs had two hitters finish over .300 and it didn’t do them a lot of good). But to validate this rebuilding process, the Cubs need hitters – badly. So it does matter that the Cubs obtain and groom hitters. With Rizzo at the plate and the bases loaded in the 10th inning on Wednesday night, I couldn’t help but think that one run probably wasn’t going to do it. And with two outs, it seemed to be asking a lot for both Rizzo and Soriano to reach base. The Cubs needed a hit. From Rizzo. And thankfully he delivered a bases clearing double. When Kevin Gregg fell victim to Mark Trumbo in the following inning, the point was accentuated. They’re called hitters for a reason – not ‘base-reachers’ – and right now, the Cubs don’t have a single reliable ‘hitter.’

  • BLPCB

    Don’t you think that we should be concerned with both batting average and on-base percentage?

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Nobody sprints past the point like you, CAPS.

    • Jedi

      I think you’re playing the fool to incite an argument. One you won’t get from me. I’ve said nothing to the contrary and you know it.

      It’s real simple CAPS – this team doesn’t have a hitter. Nearly every team, good/bad/horriawful has at least one hitter. The 2013 Cubs just don’t. It’s unusual. Are you really that obtuse?

      • BLPCB

        Sorry. I couldn’t help it. It just makes me mad when people only talk about batting average and nothing about OBP. I agree that we need guys that can hit better, which includes OBP.

  • AC0000000

    Don’t you think that we should be concerned with both batting average and on-base percentage?

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Nobody sprints past the point like you, CAPS.

    • Jedi

      I think you’re playing the fool to incite an argument. One you won’t get from me. I’ve said nothing to the contrary and you know it.

      It’s real simple CAPS – this team doesn’t have a hitter. Nearly every team, good/bad/horriawful has at least one hitter. The 2013 Cubs just don’t. It’s unusual. Are you really that obtuse?

      • AC0000000

        Sorry. I couldn’t help it. It just makes me mad when people only talk about batting average and nothing about OBP. I agree that we need guys that can hit better, which includes OBP.

  • LVCubFan

    This kid Puig for LA was signed last year and he’s already turning heads in the MLB. Is the front office seriously telling me we have to wait 2 more years for Soler?

    • I’m with LV. Soler should be the first guy to come up this year.

    • Chuck

      Mainly because Soler did not play organized baseball for almost 2 years due to defection issues. Rushing prospects is, usually, a bad thing.

      • BLPCB

        This. Look at Vicyiedo, another Cuban defector. And Puig has a very small sample size. For all we know, he could go forever cold and stop hitting.

  • LVCubFan

    This kid Puig for LA was signed last year and he’s already turning heads in the MLB. Is the front office seriously telling me we have to wait 2 more years for Soler?

    • I’m with LV. Soler should be the first guy to come up this year.

    • Chuck

      Mainly because Soler did not play organized baseball for almost 2 years due to defection issues. Rushing prospects is, usually, a bad thing.

      • AC0000000

        This. Look at Vicyiedo, another Cuban defector. And Puig has a very small sample size. For all we know, he could go forever cold and stop hitting.

  • Chuck

    The good news is that there is more than one way to score runs. As of today, the Cubs are 7th in the NL in runs scored. That is not too bad. It is not good, but it is not horrible either. How are the y doing it? Let’s look at more stats.

    Team BA: 0.248, 8th in NL
    Team OBP: 0.303, 11th in NL
    Team SLG: 0.417, 3rd in NL

    Based on these numbers the Cubs are not real good at getting on base but they sure do hit the crap out of the ball when they connect. That is also reflected in the fact they are 3rd in the NL with 63 HR. They score runs by jacking solo taters.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Imagine how good they could be if they learned to recognize a bad pitch and then learned to lay off of it.

  • Chuck

    The good news is that there is more than one way to score runs. As of today, the Cubs are 7th in the NL in runs scored. That is not too bad. It is not good, but it is not horrible either. How are the y doing it? Let’s look at more stats.

    Team BA: 0.248, 8th in NL
    Team OBP: 0.303, 11th in NL
    Team SLG: 0.417, 3rd in NL

    Based on these numbers the Cubs are not real good at getting on base but they sure do hit the crap out of the ball when they connect. That is also reflected in the fact they are 3rd in the NL with 63 HR. They score runs by jacking solo taters.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Imagine how good they could be if they learned to recognize a bad pitch and then learned to lay off of it.

  • Shit yeah…we got the 3B who can mash!

    • BLPCB

      If only Bryant had come to Chicago a few years ago.

    • Jedi

      Someone who pretends to know needs to tell me where he rates among our prospects. Or do we have to wait for Klaw to tell those who claim to be in the know first? I’m unclear on the protocol.

  • Shit yeah…we got the 3B who can mash!

    • AC0000000

      If only Bryant had come to Chicago a few years ago.

    • Jedi

      Someone who pretends to know needs to tell me where he rates among our prospects. Or do we have to wait for Klaw to tell those who claim to be in the know first? I’m unclear on the protocol.