Alfonso Soriano

Soriano, 2 Cubs MVP's and a few great old-time Cubs

When comparing Cubs players through history, finding the right place to start can be tricky.  For Alfonso Soriano, who played for the Cubs for 7 years (2007-2013), it seemed best to look at Soriano's cumulative WAR as a Cubs player and look at who posted a similar WAR figure as a Cubs outfielder.  It was an interesting mix of players that could be compared to Soriano.

The surprise:

Andre Dawson won the MVP for the Cubs, he's a Hall of Famer (granted, many of his statistics were compiled on other teams) and widely regarded as a great Cubs player.  Soriano's overall numbers seem to be slightly better than Dawson, although it is a very close comparison.   

Soriano had just 176 more PA than Dawson (both as a Cub) so it's a good comparison on total statistics.  Soriano hit just 7 more home runs, drove in 38 more runs, but Dawson scored 61 more runs than Soriano (a little surprising considering that Soriano batted 1st for most of his Cubs career).  The batting average, OBP and slugging are also very close for Soriano & Dawson.  Dawson has a decent advantage in WRC+ of 122-109.  The shocking part of this comparison was that it appears the wildcard that has Soriano with a better WAR than Dawson was his defensive contribution to the WAR figure (Soriano 32.3 to Dawson's -39.2).  I watched both play the outfied for the Cubs, Dawson was not as fast as he was early in his career, but still had a great throwing arm and seemed to be solid in right field while Soriano also had a great throwing arm, but when balls were hit to left field, it seemed to be an adventure quite often.  It's a great comparison to see how close these 2 Cubs are in their careers with the team.

Another Cubs MVP:

Dawson won an MVP as a Cub and Soriano's numbers are similar to another Cubs MVP, this one from 1952, Hank Sauer.  Sauer has the edge over Soriano in nearly every offensive category, but like Dawson, poor defense seemed to drive down his overall WAR figure, giving Soriano just a slight edge in WAR (18.9 to 18.5) in just 130 more plate appearances.  

Past Cubs who relied more on speed and hitting:

Solly Hoffman, Jimmy Slagle & Augie Galan all played for the guys pre-1940 when home runs were not hit nearly as often as they are today, but they all posted WAR numbers similar to Soriano.  All 3 had more stolen bases and a higher batting average than Soriano.  All 4 hitters had a very close WRC+ so their offensive contributions to the Cubs was nearly identical (Galan, 111, Soriano, 109, Hoffman, 109, Slagle, 108).

Birthday: January 7

September 29, 1998:
Purchased by the New York Yankees from Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan Central).

February 16, 2004:

Traded by the New York Yankees with a player to be named later to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez and cash.
The New York Yankees sent Joaquin Arias (April 23, 2004) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

November 20, 2006:
Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

April 15, 2008
Dusty Baker brings his #12 back to Wrigley Field as the Cincinnatti Reds manager. Another cubs curse perhaps, his #12 counterpart,
Alfonso Soriano pulls up lame on a fly ball and leaves the game. Soriano would return to the Cubs lineup by May 1, however, he has never
been the type of stolen base threat that he was when the Cubs first signed him.

September 28, 2007
The Chicago Cubs clinch the NL Central division title with a 6 - 0 shutout of the Cincinnati Reds, combined with a loss by the Milwaukee Brewers. Alfonso Soriano hits his 32nd home run of the season to lead off the game. The lead off home run, Soriano's 6th leadoff home run, sets a major league record. It is also Soriano's 13th home run in September tying him with Ernie Banks as the most home runs int he month of September. Soriano will hit his 14th on September 30, 2007.