Since I’m a scientist and a baseball fan, let’s have a look at some stats. First, I’ve detailed the Cubs win percentage by month that can be seen in the graph below.
Tyoshi Wada, P: July 8
Arismendy Alcantara, IF/OF: July 9
Kyle Hendricks, P: July 10
Javier Baez, IF: August 5
Matt Szczur, OF: August 17
Jorge Soler, OF: August 27
Rafael Lopez, C: September 2
Eric Jokisch, P: September 7
I’m going to focus on the guys called up in July and August (quick note first though, with the exception of late, Ramirez has been a stud in the bullpen). Jokisch and Lopez appeared late in the season but looked pretty good but I didn’t see enough of them to include in this post. OK, Wada and Hendricks have been fantastic on the mound posting records of 4-4 and 7-2 respectively. Hendricks has been especially fantastic with a 2.46 ERA. Also, in Hendricks defense, one of those losses was a 1-0 defeat to the Cards off a Matt Holiday solo shot in the top of the first in what became a duel between Hendricks and Wainwright. I had the chance to watch Hendricks pitch here in Colorado when the Cubs were in town and he just seemed so cool on the mound. I think this kid has a real bright future especially if he keeps hitting the corners like he did all season. Wada finished with a 3.25 ERA and wasn’t as sharp as Hendricks but he too had some close losses as a result of no offense (the last being a 2-1 loss), all in all, not bad for a 33 year old. Rumors are that we might not see Wada next year but barring some moves in the offseason I think he’s still a big asset for the rotation. Alright, time to move on to the position players.
I’ll start at the beginning of the list and work my way down. Before I begin though I would like to point out that, despite late season injuries, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo led the team in at bats and batting average (0.292 and 0.286 respectively). Rizzo also hit 30 HRs this season placing him second behind slugger Giancarlo Stanton by 5 HRs, a nice highlight to a mostly lackluster season. OK, first up, Arismendy Alcantara (say that three times fast). For people who are curious it’s pronounced Aris-mendy Al-cant-ara (or at least that’s what the announcers said. Anybody want to take a stab at what Harry Caray might have called him? Anyways, Alcantara came up swinging and jumped out to a pretty hot streak. He would struggle later in the season though and finish just north of the Mendoza line at 0.205 in 278 AB. He has some surprising pop for a small guy and definitely has wheels on the bases. His speed is also a bonus out in the outfield.
Alright, next up: Javier Baez. The long awaited arrival of the power hitting middle infielder. I should point out that by power hitting I mean his home run balls come down damaged. This kid can hit the leather off the ball. The unfortunate side affect to swinging for power and the fences is that he struck out a lot…seriously, a lot. Baez, although starting pretty hot in Colorado (1-6 with a game winning HR in his debut) finished the season well south of the Mendoza line at 0.169 in 225 AB. He hit 9 HR and drove in 20 but he also finished the season with 95 SO. I can’t say that I’m too surprised. He’s young, and the reports on him were pretty accurate: he swings big and is going to probably miss more often than not. It was funny, the day Baez was set to make his debut, a Cubs blogger I read said that he wouldn’t be surprised if he went 3-4 with 3 bombs or 0-4 with 4Ks, he was pretty close. He went 1-6 with 1 HR and 3Ks. Hopefully this is a problem that can be remedied in the future because he is extremely talented both at the plate and in the field. He played second base after Darwin Barney was traded to the Dodgers and then moved to short after Castro got hurt late in the season. All in all, I think he’s a smart baseball player who will get the SO thing figured out as he sees more playing time in the big league. Check out the videos below for some of his highlights. One thing I couldn’t find a video of was how quickly he can apply a tag on a runner attempting to steal second, but suffice to say he helped the catchers get a couple “caught stealing” by how fast he was able to apply the tag.
Thanks for hanging with us readers as we adjust to new and busier schedules. I know we all have been more or less on hiatus for a while but new jobs/schedules will do that. As for me, double digit hour workdays and 8:30 am group meetings on Friday mornings have really put a damper on my ability to write posts Thursday after work. Regardless, thank you all so much for reading!