Video by Sports Illustrated
Less than two weeks after their season came to an unceremonious end in the NL Wild Card Game, the Chicago Cubs have started making some organizational changes.
Thursday night the Cubs reportedly informed hitting coach Chili Davis will will not return to the team next season. The club has not yet made an official announcement, though one is expected soon.
As noted by our Matt Snyder, the Cubs suffered through bouts of inconsistency and passivity at the plate this season. The 2017 Red Sox dealt with similar issues with Davis as hitting coach. Correlation does not equal causation, of course, but there is a connection there.
This past season the Cubs scored no more than one run in 39 games, one behind the 115-loss Orioles for the MLB lead and far and away the most among contenders. Among postseason teams, the next most games with no more than one run is 27 by the Brewers, the team that beat the Cubs in a Game 163 tiebreaker to win the NL Central.
Here are the club’s hitting ranks in 2018:
- Batting average: .358 (third in MLB)
- On-base percentage: .333 (second)
- Slugging percentage: .410 (13th)
- OPS+: 95 (18th)
- Runs per game: 4.67 (11th)
With largely the same personnel in 2017, the Cubs hit .255/.338/.437 (99 OPS+) as a team and averaged 5.07 runs per game.
Chicago’s season ended in the NL Wild Card Game, when they scored one run in the 13-inning loss to the Rockies at Wrigley Field. Several Cubs players had up-and-down seasons at the plate, including Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras. Kris Bryant did as well, though he also had a shoulder problem.
The Cubs have not yet named a new hitting coach — that figures to take at least a few days, if not weeks — nor have they announced any other coaching changes. Given their roster, the Cubs figure to again be a World Series contender in 2019. Now they have to find the right support staff.
Related slideshow: 2018 MLB playoffs (Provided by photo services)