Matt Szczur leads the Cubs in batting average.
Anthony Rizzo is currently under .200 pic.twitter.com/QW0b7Tn6ZU
— Cubs Breakdown (@CubsBreakdown) April 18, 2016
You’d think the Cubs were 3-9 instead of 9-3 based on the social rumbling about players’ batting averages.
No doubt, Anthony Rizzo (.186), Ben Zobrist (.214), Addison Russell (.237), Kris Bryant (.229), Jorge Soler (.235) and Jason Heyward (.205) aren’t exactly scaring the ghost of Ted Williams. Yet, the Cubs are still winning. How are they doing it? A very shallow dive into the numbers offers some answers.
First and foremost, the Cubs are first in the league in taking walks and first in the league in fewest walks allowed. That works on so many levels. Cubs pitchers aren’t digging their own holes, and Cubs batters are pushing starters and getting into bullpens.
The pitching has been outstanding in general. The staff is first in batting average against and second in ERA. The Cubs are 13th in strikeouts to go along with the lack of walks. Those numbers will keep you in some games.
But you still have to score, and the Cubs are second in the league in runs scored, despite the low batting average. The walks have the team third in on-base percentage, however. The ducks are on the pond. How are they coming home?
Here’s the stunner … the Cubs are actually not sucking with runners in scoring position. After ranking a dreadful 28th in the league in that stat last year, they are up to 15th so far this season.
And they’re getting some clutch hits too. The Cubs are sixth in batting average in the seventh inning and later.
We can, therefore, chill out on the batting averages. The Cubs’ pitching has been dominant, but the hitters are pulling their weight in ways that might at first be hidden to the casual fan but that make the manager smile.
You can reach me at Patrick@CubsFanTherapy.com.