Where Did the Cubs’ Wins Come From?

Last year, the Cubs won 61 games and lost 101. That poor performance was “good” enough to grab us the 2nd pick in the draft next year; however, I’m not keen on a repeat performance next year. One way to diagnose where are problems were last year is to go by position and see where we got those 61 wins.

I’m going to use FanGraphs WAR for these calculations.

C: We had 6 different backstops this year, the most competent of which was Welington Castillo.

Castillo 1.2
Soto 0.5
Recker 0.2
Hill -0.1
Lalli -0.4
Clevenger -0.7

Total: 0.7 WAR

1B: Both Lalli and Baker got some time at 1B, but to avoid counting them twice I’m omitting them from the first base calculations.

Rizzo 1.8
LaHair 0.7

Total: 2.5 WAR

2B: Barney was the primary second basemen this year, but I’m also classifying the UTIL Cardenas here, as he spent the bulk of his little time here.

Barney 2.5
Cardenas -0.2
DeWitt -0.4

Total: 1.9 WAR

SS: This one is really easy!

Castro 3.3

Total: 3.3 WAR

3B: Valbuena takes a below-average performance from Valbuena and turns into something putrid.

Valbuena 0.9
Stewart 0.1
Vitters -1.2

Total: -0.2 WAR

That’s the infield wrapup: .7 + 2.5 + 1.9 + 3.3 – .2 = 8.2 WAR, or about one Buster Posey.

RF: The Cubs actually squeezed a lot of value from RF, considering. Again, LaHair saw time here but I counted him as a primary 1B.

DeJesus 1.7
Johnson 1.0
Sappelt 0.9
Baker 0.0

Total: 3.6 WAR

CF: This was a total disaster. “Super” Joe Mather was a sleeper agent for the Reds or something.

Campana 0.6
Jackson 0.2
Byrd -0.8
Mather -1.5

Total: -1.5 WAR

LF: This was another easy one. Soriano played 151 games this year, a really nice number.

Soriano 4.0

Total: 4.0 WAR

That’s the outfield wrapup: 3.6 – 1.5 + 4.0 = 6.1 WAR, which brings positional players to 14.3 WAR.

Pitching: There was a lot sub-replacement level performances going on in here.
Shark 3.3
Dempster 2.1
Maholm 1.4
Garza 1.2
Russell 0.7
Wood 0.7
Germano 0.6
Camp 0.6
Marmol 0.2
Volstad 0.2
Rusin 0.1
Chapman 0.1
Cabrera 0.1
Maine 0.0
Berken 0.0
Bowden 0.0
Socolovich 0.0
Lopez -0.1
Ascencio -0.1
Wells -0.1
Castillo -0.2
Parker -0.2
Wood -0.3
Coleman -0.3
Raley -0.4
Beliveau -0.4
Corpas -0.5
Hinshaw -0.6
Dolis -0.6

Total: 7.5 WAR

That brings us to 21.8 WAR total. FanGraphs replacement level is 43 wins, so the Cubs (incredibly) overperformed their expected total last year. The were expected to win 65 games, and only won 61.

There are a lot of ways to easily improve our total for next year. I’ll include them detail them in another post.

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