Cubs: David Ross is the last person you should blame right now
By Erik Mauro
The Chicago Cubs offense is once again mired in struggles. Whenever a baseball team is going through an inevitable low point, the first finger pointed is at the manager. None of this is David Ross’ fault.
The team wRC+ from 2015-present, according to Fangraphs:
- 2015: 96
- 2016: 106
- 2017: 101
- 2018: 100
- 2019: 102
- 2020: 92
- 2021: 63 (entering play Wednesday)
Much of this lineup has been the same over this period. Even at its peak, the Cubs’ offense has never exactly been great. It was predicated on taking pitches, drawing walks and mashing home runs. Over the years, the contact percentage has taken a dip, going from 74.7 percent in 2015 to 70.7 this year. On zone contact – which is contact made on pitches inside of the zone – the team has gone from 83.7 back in 2015 to 80.2 percent this year – the third-lowest mark in all of baseball.
These guys are just not making enough contact, and the power has taken a dip. The swing percentage in 2015 was 47 percent compared to 44 percent in 2021. In the shortened 2020 season the Cubs’ swung at 43.7 percent of pitches, near the bottom of the league. They’re almost being too patient for their own good. They also hit under .100 against fastballs 95+ MPH, and it could be argued that’s an organizational philosophy problem rather than a player problem.
David Ross is being given this roster to work with and there is only so much he can do. If every player is going to hit under .200 his hands are tied. It doesn’t matter where he puts them in the lineup. Ross has the makeup of a great manager, and it was a miracle he was able to lead this team to a division title last season, but it’s a shame that he has been given a cupboard of old, expired flavors.
Cubs: No hard feelings towards this group
Granted, all these current Cub players should ever receive from fans in the future is praise. A majority of them did the unthinkable and bought a World Series championship to Chicago, and will be remembered for that forever, but it’s time to let these guys go. Of course Ross isn’t *completely* exempt from blame, as he keeps making the same excuses about “it’s early.”
It’s not early, this group has been struggling together for the better part of four years now. This is what they are. Sure, they won’t hit .167 all season, but there is no reason to believe they will magically transform into a good offense again after all these years, it’s just not going to happen.
Ross hopefully will be the manager of the Cubs for many years, but he needs a better roster, and right now the roster seems to just be going backwards. There is only one place to pin the blame, and that is on Jed Hoyer and the Ricketts’ family.