Chicago Cubs: Let the bats do the talking
One of my old coaches used to say, “If they don’t believe you can do it, show them the stats.” In the case of the reported “declining Cubs” a simple look at team statistics should tell us how close to the truth these reports really are.
Let’s take batting statistics to start off the rebuttal. In order to prove a decline scenario, I would say you need a good three years of stats to justify your claim. The Cubs numbers just do not support the claim of a decline. In 2017, the Cubs team recorded 1,402 hits. In 2018, the Cubs hits went up to 1,453. So there was an increase in hits. In 2019, the team’s hit total dropped to 1,378 – marking the first major downturn in production.
However, if you are only looking at hits, you’ll miss the rest of the picture. For instance, home runs went from 167 in 2018 to 256 this past season. Those 256 dingers an all-time franchise record. In fact, only five other times since 1867 have the Cubs even reached the 200-mark in home runs.
Of course that many dingers also produced an increase in runs scored for the team from 2018 to 2019 as the Cubs went from 761 runs in 2018 to 814 this past season.
Chicago has not had a problem putting wood on the ball as much as situational hitting where they are trying to score players already on base. This stat is represented in the on-base percentage for the Cubs the past three years, which shows a steady decline since 2017.
The offense is certainly one sign that the Cubs are not in a decline. That being said, the team needs to increase positive momentum with better situational hitting in 2020 and get more players on base to make another run for the postseason. But there are more signs on this team that it is on an upswing as opposed to a decline.