This Dansby Swanson stat is a major concern for the Chicago Cubs

Amid Dansby Swanson's struggles, there is a case that he could be playing hurt.
Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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The boo birds have been out for Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson this weekend as his season-long offensive struggles seemingly have reached a low point.

Over the course of the past month, Swanson is slashing .186/.262/.340 with a wRC+ of 69 in his last 107 plate appearances. As a whole, Swanson's numbers on the season aren't much better. Through 306 plate appearances this season, Swanson is slashing .203/.278/.341 with a wRC+ of 77.

Swanson hasn't just been bad; he's been a liability for a Cubs' offense that has struggled since the calendar flipped to May. While there have been signs of life shown by Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki, Swanson's seems to be furthering his regression.

In July alone, Swanson is hitless through 19 plate appearances while striking out in just under half of his appearances. Entering Sunday, Swanson's strikeout percentage during the month of July is 47.4%.

Not only is Swanson trending toward having the worst offensive season of his career, the Cubs' shortstop is one of the worst hitters in all of baseball this season. Among qualified hitters this season, Swanson's 77 wRC+ is the 10th-lowest mark in all of baseball.

The Cubs have a Dansby Swanson problem.

While Swanson's offensive skills was not the primary reason why the Cubs inked him to a seven-year contract worth $177MM prior to the 2023 season, the team was expecting his floor to be what he provided the team last season with 22 home runs and a 104 wRC+.

Where it becomes even more problematic for the Cubs is the reason they signed Swanson, his defense, has also regressed. More specifically, Swanson is struggling with plays on the outskirts of his range. Swanson's range in terms of runs above average value currently sits at -0.4 this season. Meaning Swanson's inability to make the plays on the outskirts of his range is costing the Cubs about half of a run per game. In comparison, Swanson's range factor during the 2023 season was 3.5 runs above average.

The drastic regression in Swanson's range would seem to suggest that the knee injury that plagued him earlier in the season could be lingering and what is causing not only his offensive struggles but also his defensive regression. If that's not the case, and Swanson is healthy and there is no offseason announcement of him playing through an injury, the Cubs may have another Jason Heyward situation on their hands.

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