Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cubs Failure, Episode XCVIII: Dusty Strikes Again

In a rather routine article on Cubs.com, I cam across this nugget:

Next year: Do the Cubs need to improve their on-base percentage next year? They currently rank last in the National League with a .318 OBP.

"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."

The Cubs have been outslugged at home, 101-58.



It's well known that Dusty doesn't like players that walk. His comment in '04(which I cannot find a link to) about not wanting slow guys that walk because they clog up the bases has been quoted into the ground since then. He's stated on numerous other times that he doesn't value walks at all and that you "hit your way on base". While thats incredibly idiotic and at times makes me wake up in the middle of the night in pure rage, lets try to ignore that for a second and look at the entire quote. He's essentially saying that the Cubs offensive problems aren't because we don't get guys on-base, its that we don't have guys to hit homeruns when those guys don't get on-base. So lets take a look at that.

2005 Cubs
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703 Runs (9th in NL)
194 HR (2nd in NL)
.440 SLG% (2nd in NL)
.324 OBP% (11th in NL)
Record 79-83

2004 Cubs
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789 Runs (7th in NL)
235 HR (1st in NL)
.458 SLG% ( 2nd in NL)
.328 OBP% ( 11th in NL)
Record: 89-73

2003 Cubs
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724 Runs (9th in NL)
172 HR (8th in NL)
.416 SLG% (11th in NL)
.323 OBP%(13th in NL)
Record: 88-74 (Made Playoffs)


So the two years before THIS one, the Cubs hit tons of homers. They slugged the ball like crazy. They were still average or below average offenses. Why? Because there was no one on-base for those guys to drive in with their extra base hits. Yes, the power was nice and helped the offenses not suck in epic proportions(see the 2006 Cubs), but even with all that power, they were still average at best.

Back to his whole comment, his logic has a giant freakin' hole in it. He keeps saying that he doesn't like slow guys that walk because they clog up the bases for the fast guys. He then says the biggest problem is that we need more guys to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Last I checked, you didn't have to be fast or slow to circle the bases on a homerun. Having 3 slow guys on base for a homerun is just the same as having 3 Olympic sprinters.

It is just mind boggling to me that Dusty, and Hendry, can be so blind when the answer is obvious. You don't need to be a stat-geek to see it. You don't need complicated metrics to see it. You just need one very simple and easy to find metric(On-base percentage) and a little bit of common sense. Baserunners, no matter how fast or slow, are a good thing! Not making outs, also a good thing. Working the count to tire opposing pitchers, also a positive. I could go on, but I won't.

I just can't figure out why they can't see this. "Clogging up bases" is a GOOD thing. You want people on-base so when there ARE hits, people can score. If they're that worried that some slow guy that walks a lot gets on-base in the late innings and costs the team a win because of his slowness, keep a couple of the very medicore but very fast players(Pierre, Izturis, Cedeno, Pagan, Bynum. Take your pick) on the bench to pinch run. That'd actually make too much sense. It'd minimize those guys' weakness. The fast guys we have now can't hit, and the hypothetical guy who walks a lot, is slow.

It's just so aggrivating being a fan of this team. SERENITY NOW.

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