I was curious which players had the best games in 2012 for this shitty team we follow. I used Win Probability Added (WPA) from Baseball Reference to compile the list. There's no reason to write more of an introduction than that so here they are.
20. Travis Wood, .395 WPA
Despite Wood's up and down season, he ended up having an OK year and this is only the first of three times he'll appear on this list. In this game Wood threw 7 innings and didn't allow a run in a 6-1 Cubs victory over the Mets on June 25.
19. David DeJesus, .396 WPA
On September 8th the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-3 and DeJesus drove in the tying run in the 8th. He went 2-4 with a walk overall.
18. Travis Wood, .411 WPA
On July 1st the Cubs blanked the mighty Astros behind 7 scoreless innings from Wood. He walked noboby and struckout 4.
17. Anthony Rizzo, .413 WPA
The Pirates return to mediocrity or worse had already hit by the time September 16th rolled around, but hte Cubs came back from a 6-1 score to beat them 13-9. Rizzo was 3-5 with 6 RBI. He hit 2 home runs and a double. Surprisingly, this is the only appearance for him on this list.
16. Travis Wood, .425 WPA
Travis Wood's 2 best games cames agains the Astros. This one was on September 12th. He threw 7.2 innings, allowed 4 hits and a run as the Cubs won 5-1. Wood had the 5th, 6th and 7th highest single game WPA for a Cubs pitcher this past season.
15. Paul Maholm, .430 WPA
14. Alfonso Soriano, .432 WPA
Soriano hit a 2-run home run in the 6th inning to give the Cubs an 8-7 lead on May 28th. They'd win 11-7 and Soriano went 3-4.
13. Darwin Barney, .434 WPA
In one of the very few Cubs games that actually made me excited enough to care about Cubs baseball, Barney hit a game-tying 2-runhome run in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs against the Cardinals on September 21st. It had 2 of the better performances by a Cub this year. We'll get to the other one later.
12. Ryan Dempster, .445 WPA
I guess I haven't been keeping track because this seems like the first game on the list in which the Cubs lost. On May 3rd the Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the 9th inning behind Dempster's great start. Carlos Marmol didn't record an out before the score was tied and Rafael Dolis lost it in the 10th.
11. Alfonso Soriano, .448 WPA
Although Soriano was homerless in April, he did go 3-5 on April 24th. The final of those hits was a walk-off single in the 10th inning against the Cardinals.
10. Bryan LaHair, .449 WPA
Soriano's walk-off hit was made possible by LaHair's game-tying home run in the 9th inning. LaHair was 2-4 with a walk and a home run on the day.
9. Alfonso Soriano. .464 WPA
On June 8th against the Twins, Soriano hit a game-tying home run in the 8th inning. He went 3-5 on the day, but the Cubs lost in the 10th.
8. Ryan Dempster, .506 WPA
On Opening Day the Cubs hosted the Nationals and Dempster threw 7.2 innings, allowed only 2 hits, a run, walked 3 and struckout 10. The Cubs lost 2-1 and Stephen Strasburg who would later be shut down for good because the Nationals were liking their 2012 season too much.
7. Alfonso Soriano, .512 WPA
The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 8-1 on July 13th thanks to Soriano's 4-4 day with 2 home runs. Not too surprisingly, Soriano appeared on this list more times than any other player though 7th was the highest.
6. Bryan LaHair, .522 WPA
In a June 7th loss in Milwaukee, LaHair hit a game-tying pinch hit home run in the 8th inning. The Cubs would lose 4-3 in the 10th.
5. David DeJesus, .532 WPA
In the game that Barney hit the game-tying home run in the 9th, DeJesus had the walk-off single scoring Brett Jackson in the 10th. DeJesus was 4-6 and had 1 RBI.
4. Darwin Barney, .545 WPA
3. Jeff Samardzija, .600 WPA
Samardzija's 8 inning, 1 hit, 0 run, 1 BB and 5 K performance on July 23 in Pittsburgh was the single best performance by a Cubs pitcher all season. The teams combined for 6 hits and 2 runs, but the Cubs squeaked away with a win by having only 4 hits. One of the most boring games of the year had one of the best starts of the season. Funny how that works out.
2. David DeJesus, .627 WPA
The Cubs lost 8-7 in 13 innings to the Brewers, but DeJesus was 2-4 with 5 RBI. DeJesus didn't even start the game either. The Cubs trailed 1-0 in the 7th when DeJesus came to bat with the bases loaded. His grand slam gave the Cubs a big lead late in Milwaukee, but Cubs bullpen. Down 1 in the 9th, DeJesus tripled home Ian Stewart.1. Joe Mather, .755 WPA
If you can't laugh that Joe fucking Mather had the best game of any Cubs player all season, you have no sense of humor. One of the worst players in all of baseball in 2012 actually managed to have the best game of any Cub in their entire shitty season. I don't know about the rest of you, but that makes me laugh. I've been laughing about it since I decided to write this article. If yiou're wondering why he's here, he had a 2-run single in the bottom of the 9th against the Cardinals driving in the tying and winning runs with 2 outs in the game. Mather was 2-3 with a walk.