Homers in the Gloaming

Baseball, statistics, and the Chicago Cubs

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Random stats: those were the runs

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For fun, here are the fifteen best historical offensive seasons by Cubs players, as measured by a very simple version of Pete Palmer’s linear weights method.  The numbers are “batting runs,” measured in runs above average.  Ten runs above average corresponds to roughly one win above average added in a season.

For comparison, Geovany Soto is on pace for something like 14 runs above average this year, Derrek Lee for 16 or so, and Aramis Ramirez for something like 17.5.

By this metric, the best three seasons by any player were 136.5 for Bonds in ’04, 135.9 for Bonds in ’01, and 135.7 by Ruth in ’21.  Sosa’s great ’01 season is 22nd all-time.  It’s amazing that three of the top 15 seasons came in 1930.  That year’s Cubs averaged 6.5 runs per game.

One can also calculate runs above average for pitching and fielding, and I will post these soon.  Let’s get a whole bunch of runs above average tomorrow!

(As an aside, the figures for Hack Wilson, Hornsby, Cuyler, and English may deserve an asterisk, as caught stealing data is not available for their seasons.  Instead, steals are removed from their calculations.  Notably, Kiki Cuyler did have 37 successful steals in ’30, so his figure is likely even higher.  Gabby Hartnett of homer in the gloamin’ fame was also on those ’30 Cubs.)


Written by ollie

28 July 2008 at 12:58 am

It’s the return

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All reports indicate that Mr. Soriano will be playing baseball for the Cubs this evening.  And thank God for that.  His last game was June 11th, when he broke his hand getting hit with a pitch.  Soriano is .283/.332/.547, with 15 HR and 6 net steals on the year.  DeRosa has been getting most of the starts in left during Soriano’s convalescence.  It seems likely that DeRosa, who has been playing well, will move to second, and Fontenot and Cedeno may be getting bumped out of some playing time.

The Soriano-infused Cubs try to avoid the sweep in Phoenix tonight, 8:40pm CT.

Written by ollie

23 July 2008 at 1:34 pm

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One toke over the line-up

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Chicago Tribune

I’ve always wondered about the Cubs’ line-up.  We have a few “lead off” hitters: Soriano supposedly, Fukudome, Theriot.  A few “clean up” guys: Ramirez, Lee, Soto, Edmonds (God forbid?).  And a bunch of other good hitters to put somewhere.  Just for fun, I ran some stats through the tool over at Baseball Musings (based on the work of Cyril Morong, Ken Arneson, and Ryan Armbrust).

The Cubs’ most used batting order this year: Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soto, DeRosa, Johnson, and then the pitcher, yields about 5.295 runs/game (assuming the pitcher’s spot gets .222 OBP and SLG).  The best order, using this year’s stats: Fukudome, Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, DeRosa, Soriano, Lee, pitcher, Theriot, yielding about 5.626 runs/game.  Interestingly, all of the “best” line-ups put the pitcher in the 8 spot.  One has to think that those .331 runs/game might’ve gotten an extra win in the first half.

What about until Soriano comes off the DL?  Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, Edmonds, DeRosa, Fontenot, pitcher is the most common, and yields 5.575 runs/game.  The best line-up: Fukudome, Ramirez, DeRosa, Edmonds, Lee, Soto, Fontenot, pitcher, Theriot, giving 5.816 runs/game.  Again, these are based on this year’s stats, but hey, we all know how much Sweet Lou loves to play the hot hand.  Have fun coming up with your own line-ups.

Written by ollie

17 July 2008 at 6:24 am

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Do the (first half) splits

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No one would argue that Kosuke Fukudome has been solid thus far this season, and certainly a fan-favorite after his first-pitch-of-the-season double and first-game ninth inning three-run homer (I know I bought his T-shirt).  His stats (.279/.383/.408) are respectable, and his VORP is fifth-best among rookie position players.

However, dude has a problem on the road.  In fact, his splits are almost unbelievable:

   Split   G  PA  R  H  2B HR RBI  BB  SO  BA   OBP  SLG  OPS  BAbip
   Home    46 192 39 56 11  5  23  29  36 .348 .450 .522 .972  .425
   Away    44 194 20 35  6  2  13  26  34 .212 .316 .297 .613  .252

Yikes.  Oddly, the difference seems to come almost completely down to Kosuke’s difference in home and road BAbip.  I would be tempted to chalk this up to luck, but we’re dealing with quite a few PAs here.  At first, I thought maybe it had something to do with his performance during day games at Wrigley, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Kosuke OPS’s .799 under the sun and .783 under the lights.  A difference, for sure, but not the whole story.

Any thoughts as to the discrepancy?  If Kosuke starts to get comfy in those hotels, and a few hits drop our way, we may begin to improve on that less-than-stellar 20-26 road record.

Written by ollie

17 July 2008 at 5:06 am

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