Early key to the Chicago Cubs offense, walking the walk

Getting on base is the name of the game for the Chicago Cubs.
Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers
Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Cubs enter Friday's action against the vaunted Dodgers sporting a .380 team on-base percentage, with a nearly even BB/K ratio of 0.50. To sum it up, the Cubs' offense in their first six games has drawn a ton of walks and struck out little. This includes a team walk rate of 13.6% and a strikeout rate of 16.1%. The 33 walks they've drawn cumulatively average to 5.5 walks a game.

If there is someone who would love this in particular, it's former Oakland A's executive Billy Beane. To state the obvious, the Cubs' ability to get on base has not only resulted in plenty of run-scoring but the quality of plate appearances has helped wear opposing pitchers down. In terms of slugging the ball, the Cubs have been around the middle of the road, but the traffic on the bases and execution of putting the ball in play to get runners in have made the box scores look like they are crushing everything.

Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner, the two guys Craig Counsell has placed in the leadoff spot, have both drawn a team-leading five walks and scored four runs in their first six games. While Hoerner hasn't hit much, he has been getting on base via the walk which is not typically like him. Happ on the other hand has been doing what he's done best, having drawn-out at-bats and getting on base. Following those two in walks are Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger, who have both drawn four walks and scored three runs.

The Chicago Cubs' offensive approach has been great to start the season.

The balance has worked out very nicely. Counsell has seen his team get on base with guys like Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel driving them in. Being able to do this in early cold weather weeks is especially valuable when swinging for the fences at Wrigley is more challenging. The past series against the Rockies and the finale against the Rangers saw the Cubs have traffic on the bases constantly. Good approaches at the plate make for better consistency overall.

Now we can state the undeniable fact that six games is a small sample size and the Rockies' pitching is awful. The Cubs will embark on a tough April schedule that includes facing some elite pitching staffs, and this offensive rate is not sustainable. The key here is to keep with the approach. Having good plate appearances, good selection on pitches, and drawing walks is a philosophy the team needs to keep going forward. They do not have the same level of firepower the Dodgers, Braves, or Phillies have but they can still be a good offense if they execute at their current approach.

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