I don’t want to say too much since Ivy’s going to do a round-up at some point before tomorrow’s Home Run Derby. However, there are some compiled numbers that we can get through after today’s triumph over the New York Mets. Cubs end the first half with a record of 33-52 and thanks to the Houston Astros sucking more, are actually not in last place.
Including today, 32 players (including pitchers) have had at least one plate appearance. The most hits have been compiled by Starlin Castro (he got his 100th today on that mammoth home run), who also has the most plate appearances having played in every game so far this season. The best batting average of guys who weren’t just called up (and have more than 100 plate appearances) is by Reed Johnson, who ended today with a .302 average. Among those with more than 100 plate appearances, Bryan LaHair, cold as he’s gotten, leads the team in on-base percentage and slugging, with a line of .286/.364/.519 after today’s strikeout (he leads the team with 85 now). Alfonso Soriano leads the team in home runs though with 15, and also in RBI with 48 including today’s run-scoring single. Overall the Cubs aren’t exactly good at getting on base, don’t have all that much power, and for whatever reason can’t string together enough hits to score more than a couple runs at a time (today being a pleasant exception).
After yesterday’s quality start, Jeff Samardzija leads the team in innings pitched with 101.1, which is about 40 off his career high as a professional, so they’re probably going to watch his innings soon.
If you care about that sort of thing, Samardzija and Paul Maholm are tied for the lead in pitcher wins with six apiece. The best ERA of all the guys who have pitched more than 20 innings is Ryan Dempster, who today saw his already sterling ERA dip below 2 to settle at 1.99 before the All-Star Break. Incidentally, Dempster has the best fielding independent pitching metric (FIP) on the staff among the starters, while Shawn Camp has the best FIP among the relievers. James Russell happens to have the best relief ERA using the 20+ innings pitched cutoff.
The best walk rate is by reliever Shawn Camp with an even 2.0 BB/9, but that was before today; it probably dipped a bit. Best strikeout rate belongs to Carlos Marmol (11.6 K/9, minimum 20 IP), who leads the team with 8 saves as well. Matt Garza‘s been a bit unlucky, giving up 15 homers to lead the team in that dubious category.
Aggressive baserunning being the emphasis this year, part-time speedster Tony Campana leads the team with 25 stolen bases. Castro is second with 16 steals but leads the team with 10 caught stealing. Gotta pick your battles, young man. Most of baserunning is more first-to-third or first-to-home and not so much stolen bases, but obviously something to work on as the team reconstructs…like y’know, not making dumb outs.
Defense is actually one of the areas that seem to have improved as long as the pitchers keep the ball on the ground and Matt Garza isn’t allowed to field the ball. I don’t trust defensive metrics any farther than I can throw a baseball. The only thing I have to say is that my lying eyes tell me that despite Castro leading the team with 13 errors at shortstop, he’s looked a lot more confident, mechanically sound and accurate with his fielding. Outfield defense naturally got worse when David DeJesus had to shift to CF and LaHair playing statue in RF (though he hasn’t been atrocious) but the infield with Castro and Darwin Barney up the middle has looked superb. We’ll have a better idea of this at the end of the season. Despite not being able to hit his way out of a paper bag, Geovany Soto has played a solid catcher and Steve Clevenger isn’t too shabby either. Soriano looks like he actually knows what he’s doing most of the time. All things considered, if one aspect of this shitty team actually improved, you gotta take it.
Obviously getting rid of Cubs legend Koyie Hill again was a terrible thing to do so the Cubs are doomed to lose 100 games. Oh wait…