Cubs News: Why they should value intangibles over analytics this offseason

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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The 2020 World Series shows teams like the Cubs why analytics should not be the deciding factor to make big decisions in games.

Today’s baseball era calls for some teams to value analytics rather than a traditional approach of playing with instinctive strategies to win games. In my opinion, this is a flawed concept which the Chicago Cubs should stay away from.

There’s no re-inventing this sport–it’s won on the field with fundamental play, plain and simple. The most recent victims of the sabermetrics mentality are manager Kevin Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays.

In Game 6 of the World Series, Cash pulled starter Blake Snell after he gave up his second hit while striking out nine batters in 5 1/3 shutout innings. Even though Snell held the first three Dodgers’ hitters to a combined 0-for-6 with six strikeouts on the night, Cash chose to go to his bullpen because that’s what his analytical approach told him to do.

As you probably know, that move didn’t work out well, and the Dodgers raised the commissioner’s trophy at the end of the night. It seemed like just about everyone wondered why Cash would pull his ace at that moment, including Mookie Betts, who ripped a double down the line on the third pitch from Rays’ reliever Nick Anderson.

"“I’m not sure why, I’m not going to ask any questions.” Mookie Betts said after the game. “He was pitching a great game…It seems like that’s all we needed.” h/t Dan Shaugnessy, Globe Columnist"

This is the type of approach I hope the Cubs organization does not fall in love with. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some benefits to analytics, but as we have seen this past week, it only gets teams so far. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be used as the deciding factor in games.

I think it’s ridiculous to see things like pitchers looking into their hats to decide what pitch they should throw, based on what John Doe says because he’s studied five years’ worth of sabermetrics. It’s probably no coincidence Kenley Jansen, who was on the mound studying his flashcards, gave up the game-winning hit to career .202 hitter Brett Phillips in Game 4.

We haven’t seen too many exaggerated forms of analytical play from the Cubs, but there are a few traditional approaches I would like to see the team take in 2021.