Chicago Cubs: Returning to defensive form is essential in 2020

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs /

Chicago Cubs: One of the many downfalls of the 2019 season was the poor fundamentals with the gloves. That has to change in 2020 if they want to have a chance.

If last season for the Chicago Cubs could be summed up in one word, that word would be “frustrating.” Late leads blown by the bullpen and/or lack of clutch hitting was just part of the equation. Some of the most genuinely shocking stats from 2019 lie in the defensive category.

Most fans who watched the team daily last year probably do not need to be reminded or told about the defensive struggles; the eye test was enough to know it was a problem. However, looking at some of the numbers themselves can reveal just how poor it was. Not only compared to the rest of the league, but to recent Cubs teams with mostly all the same guys.

Before going into the more advanced metrics from FanGraphs, some of the old fashion stats will begin to tell the tale. For example, the Cubs were tied with their brothers on the South Side of Chicago for third in all of baseball in errors committed (117).

Only the Pirates and Mariners had more. The Cardinals had the fewest with 66, that’s 51 less than the Cubs. Among the top-five teams in errors committed (Mariners, White Sox, Padres, Cubs, Pirates), the Cubs were the only team above .500.

Errors might not always tell the story. What errors tell you is that balls hit to the defenders are not being turned into outs as they should. This does not account for how far a player’s range in which they can turn batted balls into outs compared to others. Errors can help measure fundamentals but are still the tip of the iceberg.