Tuesday, June 07, 2016

"This Year’s Cubs Might Be Better Than The Incredible ’27 Yankees"

"This Year’s Cubs Might Be Better Than The Incredible ’27 Yankees"

My notes:

1. Contrary to the article, Lou Gehrig really can't be considered part of the 1939 Yankees. He played eight games in 1939 and had compiled a mighty .143 slugging average when he decided maybe he wasn't quite his old self and took himself out of the line-up. His replacement, Babe Dahlgren, didn't do much better, amassing a mighty WAR of -0.4.

2. They key determinant of team strength is run ratio, not run differential. These stats geeks should know that. It is obviously better to outscore your opponents 250-1 (+249 run differential) than to outscore them 1000-600 (+400 run differential). The latter team is great, about the same as the 1927 Yankees, and would probably win about 118 games in a 162-game schedule, but the former team would win at least 161, maybe all 162.

3. More important than the Yankee comparisons is the fact that the Cubs are on pace to be the best Cubs team of all time. This is more impressive because the 1906 Cubs were better than the '27 Yankees or the '39 Yankees or, for that matter, anyone else ever. It would be just about impossible to assemble a team like that again. They had the best player in the league at six of the eight non-pitching positions. As for the other two, well ... Joe Tinker is in the Hall of Fame, and Circus Solly Hofman was just a kid (age 23), but would become one of the best players in the league in 1910, finishing second in the league in WAR. Oh, yeah, did I mention that those 1906 Cubs had a TEAM ERA of 1.75, so their pitching staff was not bad either. How good were they? They played .800 ball ON THE ROAD! The team managed to go 116-36 even though injuries forced manager Frank Chance to start doofuses in 15 games and to keep his fingers crossed when another 16 were started by a notorious game-throwing crook, Jack Taylor. Their regular five starters went 94-27, for a .777 winning percentage.

By the way, ol' Jack Taylor may have been a weasel, but he sure had a strong arm. From 1901 to 1906 he completed 187 consecutive starts, a major league record that will undoubtedly endure until the end of time.

So it's pretty awe-inspiring that the current club is keeping pace with those 1906 Cubs. They are third in the majors in runs scored and first in runs allowed - that's about as good as it gets. Their five best starters (the only starters so far) are 33-11, a .750 winning percentage. And that's only because Kyle Hendricks is 4-4. The other four guys are 29-7!

Weird stat o' the day: the Cubs are last in the majors in saves as a percentage of victories (30%). They have only 12 saves all year. (That's not because of blown saves, but because they have won 20 of their games by five runs or more.)

Ratio of runs scored to runs allowed:

2016 Cubs 1.89
1906 Cubs 1.85
1939 Yankees 1.74
1927 Yankees 1.62

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