Now that Alfonso is out for probably a month, maybe longer, its natural to consider the effect he has had on the Cubs ability to win games, climb out of the cellar of the NL central and make it to the postseason. I will be the first to argue that his less serious injury in May was a bit of a blessing for the Cubs. It brought Pie up from the minors and when Sori returned he was a new player.
Now its August and he leads the Cubs in runs scored with 74. He has 31 doubles, 2nd most on the team to D Lee by 2. He is batting .297/.336/.511. He leads the team in both HR and 3B…However, his Win Probability Added on the year? -0.29 WPA
What?! How can we make sense of this? What this says is that the loss of Soriano hardly affects the Cubs probability to win games at all based on his performance so far this year. If anything, it even HELPS a little bit.
Now we could speculate that, hey, Soriano is a power hitter batting in the leadoff spot. Most of his HR have been solo shots and he only has 42 RBI on the year. He also leads the team in strikeouts by a fairly wide margin. In fact, its not too surprising that Soriano leads the team in so many cumulative statistical categories since he also leads the team in AB by almost 70! But still, what happened to all those hits and those runs he has scored? Surely those have helped?
I have to admit its a mystery but I will try to get to the bottom of it. Luckily I do have a little bit of useful data here on Migames. I’ve been trying to tag my Cubs Live blogs with players of the game purely based on my impressions of who I thought contributed most to the win. I know I’ve tagged Soriano in at least a few.
Next step: Parse the Migames data and see how Soriano has actually contributed. Stay tuned. In the meantime, hey, all Eric Patterson has to do is beat -0.29. So far he is at -0.03! Way to go Eric.