The Bill James Handbook 2007 features Top 10 leaderboards in 89 different pitching categories. If you hadn't watched an inning of Cubs baseball this past season but spent 10 or 15 or 240 minutes poring over James' lists of pitching leaders, here's what you might conclude about the '06 Cubs staff:
1. Carlos Zambrano was good. Really good.
Zambrano was among NL leaders in ERA, Wins, Winning Percentage, Opponents' Batting Average, Opponents' Slugging Average, Strikeouts, Quality Starts, Lowest Stolen Base Pct. Against, K's/9 IP and Fastest Average Fastball.
Sounds like the resumé of somebody who's going to get paid $100 million sometime soon.
2. Greg Maddux might not be everything that he used to be, but he's still something.
Mad Dog's combined Chicago/LA numbers left him among NL leaders in Highest GB/FB ratio, Highest K/BB ratio and OBP vs. Leadoff Hitters.
Maddux achieved the aforementioned while throwing the NL's Slowest Average Fastball (83.4 mph) and the 9th most Pitches Less Than 80 mph.
Finally, he was a Top 10 finisher in Highest Percentage of Fastballs and Highest Percentage of Changeups.
What I would take from this is that Maddux threw a lot of fastballs and changeups.
3. Will Ohman was no fun to hit against.
Among NL relievers, Ohman was a Top 10 finisher in Opponents' Batting Average, Left-Handed Opponents' Batting Average, Opponents' Slugging Average, Percentage of Inherited Runners Scored and Strikeout/Hit ratio.
I've read more than once that Ohman is likely to be traded this off-season, a notion that seems to be supported by the acquisition of Neal Cotts. Somewhere in their calculations, I hope the Cubs get around to considering that Ohman is pretty good.
4. Bob Howry was busy.
Howry ranked 4th in Relief Appearances and 9th in Holds.
5. Our closer didn't do much closing.
Ryan Dempster tied for 2nd in Blown Saves and matched Derrick Turnbow in Relief Losses (9).
On the other hand, he told WSCR's Mike North to go to hell for putting words in his mouth.
In my mind, that makes his season a wash.