Cubs By The Numbers
Let’s talk numbers. A snapshot using OPS (on base % + slugging %) to see where the Cubs rank position by position in the NL. League average for all non-pitchers is .720. OPS isn’t the end all, but it’s a quick and easy way to get a sense of how guys are stacking up with the rest of the league.
Catcher: Castillo and Baker have combined for an OPS of .660 good for 11th in the league. League average for the position is .747.
First Base: Anthony Rizzo is off to a good start and his .877 is good for 6th best in the NL. League average is .806. He trails Goldschmidt, Laroche, Morneau, Gonzalez and Freeman.
Second Base: Despite the hot start by Emilio Bonifacio (who has also spent a lot of time in CF) the Cubs rank 11th at this position as well. Bonifacio, Barney and Valbuena have posted a .601 OPS, while the norm for second sackers is .675.
Third Base: Again, 11th best in the 15 team league from the hot corner. Mike Olt and Luis Valbuena have split the playing time right down the middle and have combined to register a .659 compared to the league average of .675. Valbuena, with an on base percentage of .356 and a OPS of .721 has actually been better than the league’s .693 for third basemen. Olt has flashed some power but carries just a .238 on base %.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro has the 6th best mark in the NL and makes the Shortstop position one of two spots on the field (Rizzo) where the Cubs can claim above average status in terms of OPS. Castro has a .746 and SS league ave. is .682.
Outfield: This is where the Northsiders are really scuffling, As in dead last and well below league average. Cub outfielders have hit just 4 HRs (3 by Junior Lake) and their .610 OPS is over 100 points below the league standard of .713.
Individually, Rizzo (.877) Castro (.746) Castillo (.746) and Bonifacio(.729) are better than average and Valbuena is right on the mark at .721. Everyone else is below league average and in some cases, WAY below. Significant improvement from the outfielders is sorely needed.