I think I may understand the concept the FO is going for with pitching

beckdawg

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I'll cut to the chase here.... I think the front office has decided it's cost efficient to target players with good HR/9. Davies who was kind of over looked in the Darvish trade a bit has a career 1.04 HR/9. For reference here, the past 2.5 full seasons have gone 1.16 in 2018, 1.40 in 2019 and 1.34 in 2020. So Davies' 1.09, 1.13 and 1.17 HR/9 makes him among the league leaders. He was 27th in 2020, he didn't have qualified innings in 2019 but would have been 24th, and in 2018 he again didn't have qualified innings but would have been 29th.

Hendricks obviously has long been known to have a good soft contact rate. The past 3 seasons he's gone 0.99, 0.97, and 1.11 on his HR/9.

The "big" free agent signing of Arrieta has gone 1.09, 1.39, and 1.22. So clearly he's a bit of a bump up from the above 2 but with the exception of 2019 he's still been solidly above average at suppressing home runs.

Alzolay doesn't have a ton of track record to go off of here but in 2018 in a HR friendly AAA(PCL) he had a 0.91 HR/9. In 2019 it bumped similar to Arrieta to 1.38. In a very limited 2020 showing in the majors though it was quite good at 0.42. He's kind of all over the place but I think 2018 and 2020 give you reason to hope it'll be above league average.

Trevor Williams got shelled the last 2 years(2.44, 1.67). but the 2 seasons prior to those 2 he was fantastic at 0.84 and 0.79. Kohl Stewart doesn't have a huge major league track record either but his 60 or so innings have netted a 0.87 hr/9 and he had a pretty nutty 0.5 hr/9 in the minors.Alec Mills is an outlier a bit here compared to the rest but he was already in house depth for several years. So, I'm not sure how much you count him in this "trend".

Just for some thought here... Darvish was fantastic in this regard last year at 0.59 but the two years prior to 2020 he posted 1.58 and 1.66 HR/9. So, if you are the cubs who seem to be buying into HR prevention, it kind of makes sense to trade him after this past season given if he gives up 2018/19 HR levels he's going to be considerably worse.

And honestly when you think about the make up of the offense, it sort of makes sense. Baez and Rizzo won gold gloves. Heyward is always a quality glove. Hoerner was very good in his limited sample defensively which kinda makes sense why they would give him a shot to win the 2B job rather than letting him go to AAA. Contreras is a superb defender as well. Bryant has been more or less average. And Joc would be a decent upgrade over schwarber in LF. Happ isn't fantastic in CF but it is what it is.
 

CSF77

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Nice opinion. I bet that it factored into Jed's thought process. Keep the ball in play. It all ties together. Get a staff that puts the ball into play to keep their pitch counts down. But factor into it target guys have lower HR rates.

I believe the biggest factor going into this year is limiting innings on the starters due to last year being a broken year and Jed not wanting to break his staff this season. We are going to see spot starts and guys put into the pen when it really doesn't look justified from 'our' point of view because that pitcher is rocking it. But if the Cubs are ,'rocking it' and pitcher A. Is over 120 IP and is at his limit in July...well that sucks then.

That is why I am not making much of this year. It is a band aid year for a league that got shut down and teams are building to depth to survive a 162 game season after a 60 game season.
 

CSF77

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I'll also say that I'm down if Jed extends Davies. Lets be real for a second here. Alozay and Marquez will be in the rotation next year. The velocity will be there between the two. Davies and Hendricks are solid vets that can absorb innings on their days on. Marquez and Alozay both most likely will be getting into higher pitch counts putting more pressure on the pen on their games. So having 2 contact types that can go 7+ would pay off for keeping the pen not completely burnt.

After that they can resign Jake for all I care. Well if he provides a season that justifies it at least. Mills I doubt that I will ever believe in his value. Davies I get as he has a track record going into this year and last year he hit a peak. Mills well he is a okay 6th pitcher swing guy. Last year he pushed 5 2/3 Inn on avg. That defeats the purpose of a contact guy that gets deeper into games.
 

CSF77

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Another good point.

Hard hit rates%

2020
Hendricks. 31.8
Davies. 36.6
Williams. 36.0
Arietta. 38.3
Mills. 39.5

So I believe might be the telling tale on what Jed was thinking going into the season. Jake was a feel good signing after gutting the team. Mills is on the bubble and justified going in.
 

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