So the Cubs beat the Rangers today in pretty convincing fashion. How much did we actually learn, though? It’s not even three weeks into the season, and the Cubs have only played 14 games so far (would’ve been more, but you know…rain). Roobs posted some stuff about sample size earlier today. As you may surmise, it is very difficult to project player production in baseball, and you can never get enough data. However, we all pretty much know that what a player does in one start may not always carry over to their next start. “Hot” and “cold” streaks tend to be the crux of most sports narratives, so let’s have some fun with it anyway.
I like using ESPN’s box scores because they update the players’ slash lines real time. Today’s win is no exception, and we can see some fun early season stats already. For example, at this time, Starlin Castro is batting .311/.333/.508, finally getting some separation between his batting average and on-base percentage on the strength of his first two walks of the season. It was only a matter of time before he walked (or got hit by a pitch) but that’s always nice to see.
The slumping Anthony Rizzo also has an interesting slash line, at .180/.305/.460, buoyed by walks and homers. Rizzo will eventually come around, and that average should creep up as well. The power, as you may have noticed, is still there, so that’s not a problem.
Then you have some goofy lines with David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo. I doubt Nate will OPS over 1.000 forever, nor will Beef Castle end the season as the first player to hit over .400 since Ted Williams, but that’s still fun to think about. DeJesus has a good OBP as we expect of him (he’s the leadoff guy, after all) but that SLG is way up there.
We can also look at the victor in today’s contest, Carlos Villanueva, and realize that he most likely will not end his season with a 1.29 ERA. If you pay attention at all, he’s just not as good as his ERA or early season numbers say.
However, if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can spin these numbers into prospect magic at the trade deadline, let’s hope that it keeps up.