The dog days are certainly upon us, with the Cubs 2-7 this month and 48-65 for the season. While I wait to catch up with the team Friday in St. Louis, let’s spend the dog-day afternoon looking at some numbers this month. Some are august, and some are not. We’ll also make a quick loop around the minors, where Jeff Samardzija and Chris Archer pitched last night.
Starlin Castro is showing some nice consistency for a rookie. For the month, he’s at .341/.372/.488. His line in July was .361/.398/.546. His .310 batting average leads all rookies (min. 250 ABs) since his May 7 call-up.
The Cubs’ other rookie, Tyler Colvin, is having a rough month. After getting a couple games off, he’s got 2 hits and 2 walks in the Giants series. He also sent one to the wall in right center last night. For August, he’s at .129/.206/.258. In July, it was .253/.330/.526. He’s in the leadoff spot out of necessity, and it’s a challenge for the kid. In talking with some Cubs people last weekend, they can see him in the fifth spot next year. For the year, his strikeout rate is at 29.3 percent, and the walk rate is at 7.7.
Castro and Colvin have combined for 63 extra-basehits. Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto combined for 98 in 2008, and Dwight Smith and Jerome Walton had 65 in 1989, so this year's kids are moving up on second on that list over the past 21 years.
Alfonso Soriano hasn’t had a good month since May. The good news is that his eight-year contract is half over at the end of this year. You know what the bad news is. For August, Soriano is at .188/.229/.375. In July, it was .225/.271/.450.
Do you remember when the last time Marlon Byrd homered? It was July 16. His homers by month are:
Byrd has gone from one hitter’s park in Texas to another in Wrigley, but he’ll be hard-pressed to match last year’s homer total of 20. He got the night off yesterday. His August line is .313/.353/.406, and it’s really hard to nitpick this guy. For the season, he’s at .311/.372/.460. The WAR is a nice 4.3.
Aramis Ramirez is at .296/.387/.444 this month. In July, it was .313/.340/.667. Hardly makes up for a miserable first two months of the season.
Derrek Lee hasn’t homered since July 31, and he’s currently on bereavement leave. For the month, he’s at .240/.355/.280. His isolated power (ISO) for the season is only .138, down from .273 last year. People have asked me if I think he’s coming back next year, and I say no. I think the Cubs will go left-handed at first base. Adam Dunn? Too early to tell. It depends on the budget.
Geovany Soto has been the Cubs’ most potent offensive force this year, and the Cubs might as well get his shoulder right and give Welingon Castillo a look-see. For the year, Geo is at .288/.401/.519, with 51 walks. In July, his OPS was 1.030. This month, it’s 1.038. The figure I look at with Soto in comparing this year and last is the BABIP. In 2009, it was .246. This year, it’s 326. Yes, he wasn’t as physically prepared last year as this, but you had to figure the BABIP would rise, and it did. The ISO has gone from .163 to .231. His WAR is 3.2.
The pitcher to watch continues to be righty Chris Archer, who won his sixth in a row last night for Class AA Tennessee, as the Smokies beat Huntsville 7-1. Archer worked 7 innings, giving up 1 hit and 1 run while walking two and striking out eight. I might have to rank him second in the organization behind Brett Jackson. Archer is 7-1 at Double-A with an 0.58 ERA. He’ll be put on the 40-man this fall, and the Cubs will get a nice look at him in spring training next year.
Brandon Guyer extended his hitting streak to 14 games, going 2-for-4. He’s 25-for-51 in the streak. He’s a fifth-rounder in 2007 out of the University of Virginia.
At Iowa (AAA), Jeff Samardzija took the loss as the I-Cubs fell 13-3 to Portland, who used a 7-run ninth. Samardzija worked 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs. He walked three and struck out five. At Iowa, he’s 9-2 with a 3.27 ERA. Sam Fuld had a pair of triples in that game, and Darwin Barney extended his hitting streak to seven games. He’s 12-for-34 (.353) in the streak. Micah Hoffpauir, now up with the Cubs, was the Pacific Coast League player of the week. He was 15-for-28 with 4 doubles, 3 homers and 12 RBI.
Daytona (A) lost 8-3 to Tampa, with Dae-Eun Rhee taking the loss. He went 3 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 earned runs. DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He’s 22-for-51 (.431) in the streak. David Macias and Junior Lake each had 2 hits.
Peoria (A) lost a rain-shortened game, 6-1, to Quad Cities. Su-Min Jung lasted only 1.1 innings, giving up 3 hits and 5 runs. Jae-Hoon Ha extended his hitting streak to nine games. He’s 15-for-37 (.407) in the streak.