Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back To That Other Team For A Minute

Bruce Miles finishes his reporting on the Cubs Sloberation with an interesting article about the Cubs new attention to On Base Percentage:

The Cubs have gotten a well-deserved bad rap in recent years for their stance on the importance of walks on high on-base percentage. Former manager Dusty Baker drew constant ridicule for his repeated pronouncements that walks can be overrated because slow guys “clog the bases” for guys who can run.

This seemed to be Hendry’s philosophy, as well. However, the Cubs at least began to talk about the need for higher on-base percentage during last fall’s organization meetings.

Does this represent a serious and honest shift? The Cubs’ actions on the field this year will speak louder than any words at a wintertime convention.

There are a few quotes that follow. Jim Hendry still doesn't sound like he gets it:

"...you have to knock people in, knock the runs in the right way with two outs in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning. You can fluctuate the numbers a lot of different ways to create your own argument." - Jim Hendry

Uh, Jim? Part of the "OBP Method" (no Mark Prior jokes, please) is that RBIs happen automatically when OBP goes up. In fact, if you had a team that never got a base hit, but also never made an out and only walked, you'd have a ton of RBIs.

Lou Piniella sounds more like he gets it.

"On-base percentage is important. If you ask me, a team that has a good offense should have an on-base percentage of .345 or so. Do you tell a hitter who’s a good fastball hitter to take the fastball so you can see some pitches? It’s tough. Let me work on that, and I promise you, it’ll get better." - Lou Piniella

The proof in the pudding is in the tasting, they say. Lou's pudding starts being served in about 10 weeks.

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