The Chicago Cubs’ David Ross? An excellent manager or a farce? A little bit of the former–not much of the latter.
The Chicago Cubs David Ross was an outstanding manager in his first season. Granted, he had a rough stretch towards the end of the season. But it was 60 games, and the entire division? Spotty at best. The Cubs finished three better than the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Reds and the Brewers still got in, as well. So let’s look at the numbers.
With the offense, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward were the keys. Aside from that? Nada. Willson Contreras had a good season. Jason Kipnis had an exceptional campaign, as well. But outside of that, there was nothing. The Cubs finished in the bottom three, with a .220 average. The team did tie for 8th in the NL with 229 walks–but they were in the bottom half of the league in on-base and slugging.
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Let’s face it. The bullpen was awful in the ‘first-half’ of the season. But Ross made some moves, and he settled in on four or five guys in the second half. One of those players was Craig Kimbrel. I have to be honest; he was horrible. He lost the closer role, and he didn’t pitch for several days. But Kimbrel straightened it out, and he’s getting save chances again.
The bright spot in the bullpen was Jeremy Jeffress. He posted a 1.54 ERA and eight saves in 23 1/3 innings of work. He’s been exquisite for the Cubs and has been a good card at the end of the bullpen.
The pen has been excellent throughout the second half. Ryan Tepera and Dan Winkler are a few of the guys that were good for Ross. Rowan Wick for the first half, but then he got injured. Still, an excellent season in the second half.
Overall, Ross was savvy with his moves. He mixed it up at the end, ala Joe Maddon. But let’s face it–it was time. Kris Bryant wasn’t working at the two spot. So he moved him, and then he got hot during the White Sox series. I wonder if it will work in October?
In the end, I don’t give a ‘grade’ to Ross. At least not in the first year as manager. Plus a 60 game season with expanded playoffs? There’s really no way to grade it.
That’s all I can stand, and I can’t stand no more.