On Wednesday, Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer wrote about the Cubs’ uncanny ability to limit hits on balls in play in 2016. From the article:
Last year’s Cubs allowed a .255 batting average on balls in play, in a season when the league as a whole (Cubs included) averaged .298. The gap between the Cubs and the team with the second-best BABIP (the Blue Jays, at .282) was greater than the gap between Toronto and the 27th-place team. As FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan wrote last September, the Cubs’ BABIP allowed was last season’s “most extraordinary team statistic.”
Lindbergh went on to note that had Cubs pitchers had a league average BABIP, they may have won around 13 less games. That’s incredible. We all know that when a team is an outlier to such an absurd degree, they will naturally be pulled back to the middle the following year. The question for the Cubs is how much will they regress and will it even matter? Their rotation should still be one of the best in baseball, and they’re going to again field one of the best defenses behind it. The young core from last season is relatively intact, and, if lucky, they’re looking at a full season from Kyle Schwarber. Still, if the NL Central is still a race come September, the Cubs’ pitcher’s BABIP crashing somewhere at least close to Earth (with things simultaneously breaking right for the Cardinals) will probably be the reason why.
Here’s what you may have missed yesterday at VEB:
- Ben Markham joined John and Heather on Episode 73 of the VEB podcast. They discussed movie/World Series trivia and answered a few listener questions. (Also, it’s fair to say that Heather has never seen the movie Gandhi.)
- Joe Schwarz wrote about Carlos Martinez’s deep and evolving repertoire.
- I wrote about the sights and sounds from the 2006 World Series celebration.
- We all need this bobblehead.
- Here’s Ben Markham and part 2 on the price of a win.
That should do it. It’s Friday - enjoy the day and your weekend.