Eleven games into the season one thing is clear: the Cubs are great. The Cubs have won nine games and lost only two on the young season. What's more impressive though is how they've won their games. The Cubs aren't simply winning; they're dominating. Their current average runs scored per game is sitting at 6.50, second in all of baseball (the Cardinals lead the league with 7.30, the Twins are last at 1.90). They're currently only allowing an average of 2.70 runs a game, which is tied with the Royals for third best in baseball. This team is performing at an elite level in every facet of the game.
The word everyone is using to descridbe this offense is "relentless." They never give up at bats and are always ready to strike. I get the feeling that they are never out of a game with the way the offense can pile up a lot of runs in a hurry. The lineup is currently walking in around 14% of their plate appearance. The high walk rate pushes the team OBP up to .371, which is tops in the league.
On an individual performances front, the Cubs are being led by the strong performance of leadoff man Dexter Fowler. Fowler is currently slashing a robust .424/.558/.667 (AVG/OBP/SLG). These numbers won't hold up over the full 162-game schedule but they're fun to look at. Outside of Fowler's performance the numbers are pretty pedestrian. Lots of great OBPs but everyone else is hitting under .300. Timely hitting and on base skills are leading this team to offensive success. It's scary to think about how good this team could be if the regulars start to hit like they can.
As impressing as the offense has been, I've been even more impressed by the pitching. Each member of the starting rotation has been solid to great. Off the top of my head I can only recall one bad pitching performance, John Lackey (6IN 6 ER) in a 14-6 victory against the Diamondbacks. The starting rotation has pitched well enough to keep the team in every game so far. The bullpen has been dominant too allowing a total of 7 runs across 26.2 innings. It's been fun to watch these guys pitch. Lots of strikeouts with very few walks.
Addison Russell and Jason Heyward have played some amazing defense so far. The rest of the team has passed the eye test so far on defense too. With the exception of the four error game in the April 14 loss to the Rockies, the defense has only made two errors.
So far the Cubs have controlled the strike zone both at the plate and on the mound. One of the major goals of the Epstein-regime has been to acquire players that control the strike zone. This goal has finally come to its full realization here in 2016. The Cubs will continue to take walks on offense and prevent walks on defense. This will lead to more wins. The Cubs likely won't be able to sustain their .818 win percentage, but will likely stay over .600 for the rest of the season. The rest of April is fairly soft and the Cubs will start hitting more and continue to win lots of games this month. It's plausible that they get out of April with 20 wins. Estimated Record: 18-6.
Enjoy the best moment of the 2016 season so far below.
Published on 4/16/2016 10:00:50 PM