Cubs’ best hitters have had mixed results in the postseason
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Playing in a fourth consecutive postseason is uncharted territory for the Cubs, a season more than their 1906-08 World Series run that featured two championships.
Back then, the Series was the only postseason round. Today’s Cubs have played more postseason games than Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance did, even if you include a fourth Series in 1910.
Kris Bryant (153) and Anthony Rizzo (150) have the Cubs’ most postseason plate appearances. Until the current run, the club record had been 94 by Jimmy Sheckard, an outfielder on the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance teams.
Bryant (34) and Rizzo (29) top the Cubs’ postseason hit list, and Rizzo, Bryant and Kyle Schwarber all have six home runs.
Of course, there are ups and downs in postseason play. Let’s take a by-the-numbers look at a few of the Cubs who have made an impact on the current run that includes a Series championship in 2016:
Bryant: The championship season was very good to Bryant, who slashed .308/.400/.618 for a 1.018 OPS as the Cubs beat the Giants, Dodgers and Indians. He didn’t fare as well in 2015 or 2017, and his overall postseason averages are .245/.314/.446/.760.
By win probability added, which measures how much each plate appearance added to or subtracted from the Cubs’ chances of winning, Bryant was strong at .43 in 2016. His results at the plate were responsible for nearly half a victory. But his struggles in the other two postseasons amounted to minus-.49.
Rizzo: After a miserable 1-for-15 series against the Giants, Rizzo starred with OPSes of 1.010 against Dodgers and 1.084 against the Indians in 2016. He was strong in WPA, too, with 0.23 and 0.48 in those series.
Overall, Rizzo’s postseason .216/.300/.396/.696 has been subpar despite a .50 WPA.
Schwarber: The surprise of the 2016 Series after he came back from injury to hit .400 with a .971 OPS against the Indians, Schwarber has been one of the Cubs’ most valuable postseason hitters in the three-year run at .311/.408/.623/1.031 and a .67 WPA.
Willson Contreras: With a .728 OPS over five series, Contreras has contributed a .14 WPA. That’s largely due to one big hit. His game-tying, two-run single in a four-run ninth that lifted the Cubs to a 6-5 victory against the Giants in 2016 was worth .24 in WPA.
Javy Baez: In the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers in 2017, when little seemed to go right, Baez’s only two hits were homers. That boosted him to an .897 OPS and .15 WPA for the series. Overall, he has had tough sledding with a .697 OPS and .16 WPA in the postseason.
Ben Zobrist: As the Series MVP against the Indians, Zobrist slashed .357/.419/.500/.919 with a WPA of .21. He hasn’t been above a .631 OPS in any of his other four postseason series with the Cubs.
But in the biggest game the present-day Cubs have played, Zobrist delivered a .32 WPA with his tiebreaking double in the 10th inning of their 8-7 victory against the Indians in Game 7 to clinch the Series.