Chicago Cubs: Baserunning woes are slowing this team down

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Baserunning ability, for the most part, has eluded the Chicago Cubs as of late as they continue to run into easy outs on the basepaths.

One of the greatest issues the 2019 Chicago Cubs face is a lack of quality baserunning. The team, in various attempts to create more scoring opportunities, has run into more outs than expected.

At the moment, the Cubs sit with 24 stolen bases in 40 attempts: good for a 60 percent stolen base percentage which is well below the league average of 73 percent. It also places them as second-worst in all of baseball, behind only the Colorado Rockies.

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More worrying, however, is that the Cubs also sit at number one in outs on the bases with 35 (the league average is 24). Twelve of these outs came in failed attempts to reach home, indicating a problem with reading fly balls and wild pitches and gauging when to make a move for home.

Of the outs made on the basepaths, a fair amount are the result of mistakes made by some of the team’s best runners. Even Javier Baez, for as prolific a baserunner he has been in recent years, has only five stolen bases thus far and has already been caught stealing five times while also making five outs on the bases.

The one saving grace for the Cubs is their extra-base taken percentage as it sits right at the league average of 43 percent. It is here where the team’s one major baserunning strength is identified: going first to third on singles.

The Cubs as a team are tied with their crosstown rival White Sox for the fourth-best team at going first to third. They also sit slightly above average at scoring runners from first on doubles, but they’ve also had their struggles with getting runners home from second with singles.

It’s hard to blame the Cubs for trying to be more aggressive, especially with their abysmal hitting with men in scoring position. However, this brand of sloppy baserunning may be killing more quality scoring chances than it’s making at this point.

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The Chicago Cubs need to figure out a good balance between being aggressive and not making easy outs for their opponents. For a team with a wealth of solid runners, they need to step up and create prime opportunities to score for their currently struggling offense.