Chicago Cubs: Ben Zobrist is really going to be missed
Chicago Cubs: Zobrist was an essential cog in the Cubs offensive machine.
The term “Professional Hitter” described Ben Zobrist so well. As a Cub, he slashed .269/.362/.411 in 461 games, which only tells part of the story of the switch hitter.
His ability to make contact and walk made him such a well-balanced hitter. His K% of 13% and BB% of 12% are both right around the FanGraphs “great” percentile in both categories (12.5%). His season-average as a Cub in z-contact (contact with pitches in the strike zone) was 92.43% with the league average at 87%, SwStr% (swings and misses) was 5.0 with the league average at 9.5% and o-swing (swinging pitches out of the zone) was 23% with the league average at 30%.
His approach itself was superb. In his 1,823 plate appearances as a Cub, he went to a full count 265 times (roughly 15% of them) and on those full counts, he totaled 39 hits and 85 walks (32% BB rate). In 2016 alone, he had a .474 OBP after getting to a full count.
No, Zobrist did not have much pop, but he could slug the ball from time to time. The main part of his game was solid contact and walks. The Cubs have been mostly an “all or nothing” offense that can slug and draw walks…but miss the ball a lot as well.
Zobrist was good to have if you needed to start a rally by getting on base or driving in a run if solid (keyword: SOLID) contact was required to either drive in a runner or advance one. This is something that is going to be missed considering the lineup that has been top-15 in highest K% two of the last three seasons.