Stats Show Cubs are Much Worse than their Record Indicates

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The Chicago Cubs are back to being the Cubes. Legendary former NFL Coach Bill Parcells is now synonymous with the phrase “you are your record,” and yes, indeed that is always true. But the record doesn’t tell the whole story sometimes, and in the case of the Cubs, not really at all.

If there is one theme to the season so far, it’s “the wheels have come off now, here in inning XYZ.” They’re 4-6, which sounds mediocre, but mediocrity is actually a level that’s far above where they reside right now.

The Cubs have the fourth best odds of winning the NL Central division, out of five teams. You can back the Cubs with a bet365 bonus, but it will have long shot odds of paying off. The St. Louis Cardinals are the favorites, with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds behind them.

The division itself is very mediocre, and easily there for the taking, but not by these guys. You can’t bet on a team that is dead last in every single category of the slash line. Yes, the Cubs are .164/.264/.321/.585 in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and OPS. Those all bad enough marks to be dead last in Major League Baseball. When it comes to BA, the penultimate team are the San Francisco Giants, who reside at .192, so the Cubs have a long way to go to catch them.

Amazingly, they do have three everyday regulars north of .200, in Kris Bryant (.265), Javier Baez (.249) and Willson Contreras (.214), but no one else is above .152. It’s a hard, inconvenient truth that so many Cubs fans needs to realize- the so-called “core four,” which is an evolving term to be fair, is nowhere near as good as much of the fanbase thinks they are.

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The concept of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez leaving, to sign elsewhere for huge money, is much less of a threat that people think it is.

No one is giving them six years and $200 million, or anything like that. The Cubs are only third from the bottom in total runs scored, at 29, but bringing up that stat requires mentioning that one of the teams below them, the New York Mets, have played half as many games as the Cubs.

The other team, the Washington Nationals, have played three fewer. The Cubs run differential, of -14, is the most accurate indicator of what their level really is. It’s second worst in the National League, behind only those mighty Pittsburgh Pirates, a side that just utterly pantsed them.

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The only two teams below the North-Siders and Buccos in this regard are Oakland and Detroit. You sort of saw this coming when Theo Epstein left, to be fair.

And then there is this, from Cubs historian Ed Hartig, and tweeted out by MLB’s Jordan Bastian: The Cubs’ 49 hits are the fewest hits by the team over 10 consecutive games in a season since at least 1901. That’s *any* 10-game stretch — not just the first 10 games of a season. The previous low was 51 hits from Sept. 17-29, 1968.

Yes, that’s how bad this offense is. Those marks are very indicative of how terrible this team is at hitting. (Although to be fair their starting rotation ERA of .548 is dreadful too)

At the time it was released, the FanGraphs win projection of 77 for the season seemed spot on. Yes, we’re only ten games in, but right now, I’d say 70 wins is a pipe dream at best.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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