With Jeff Samardzija's "transformation" I thought it would be fun to find other Cubs player who have transformed this spring.
Joe Mather: With a .412/.455/.745 batting line through today, he's established himself as a completely different ballplayer. We know this because he's had 55 plate appearances and that's absolutely enough to know whether or not a transformation has taken place. Some of you are saying right now that he has a career .228/.283/.384 line so we should be cautious. Fuck. That. Now is a time to be optimistic about this young stud the Cubs have for the middle of the order for years to come.
Blake DeWitt: .289/.373/.422. With 51 plate appearance we can safely say there is a 100% chance that DeWitt is now an on-base machine. The type of hitter that the more intelligent teams put atop their batting order so the big guys like Mather can knock them in. Forget about DeWitt's .329 career OBP. That's in the past. New player.
Darwin Barney: He's slugged .639 and has an OPS over 1.000 and while the sample isn't quite as reliable as 50 PA, he's still come to the plate a whopping 40 times. We can see the top of the order taking shape for the Cubs of the future. DeWitt and his on-base skills leading off with Joe Mater and Darwin Barney hitting in the middle of the order. It's gonna be rough on pitchers with all these transformations going on.
Alfredo Amezaga: best Cubs number 2 hitter since Ryne Sandberg. That's what we'll remember Amezaga for. In 40 spring PA he's batted .306/.375/.361. He's young so he should slug more in about 5 or 7 more years. Still, that .375 OBP will fit nicely in the 2-hole and can leadoff when DeWitt is getting the day off.
Rodrigo Lopez: No pitcher in Cubs camp who started more than 1 game held hitters to a lower batting average than Lopez's .213. Among all pitchers who started a game only Randy Wells help opponents to a lower batting average, but he started only 1 game. Paul Mahol, Chris Volstad and Randy Wells were the only 3 who started a game who had a lower ERA than Lopez. We know this is for real because he's thrown 16+ innings.
Transformations don't always work in a way that leads to better production. Take Starlin Castro for example. He's transformed himself into a batter with a .283 OBP. That's in 60 plate appearances so you definitely don't need more information than that. Safe to say, Starlin Castro is the new Alfonso Soriano with less power.
David DeJesus. The following players have a higher slugging percentage than DeJesus's OPS: there's too many to list. Seriously. DeJesus has a sub .600 OPS in a league that has an average OPS of 27.000.
Matt Garza: he allowed 27 baserunners in 16 innings of work. I'd say he's probably going to struggle to remain in the rotation, but then I thought about the rest of the rotation.
There have been other transformations, but none worth commenting on.