Keith Moreland

Keith MorelandKeith Moreland

Birthday:  May 2
Chicago Cubs (1982-1987)
Cubs Broadcaster (2011-2013)

Non Cub career highlights:
College World Series Championship:  1975, University of Texas
MLB World Series Champion:  1980, Philadelphia Phillies

Yesterday's Cubs, today's metrics:

Keith Moreland is an interesting Cubs player to look at with
the advanced metrics.  Unfortunatly, it's not good news.  Moreland
was primarily a slightly above average hitter in his 6 year career 
with the Cubs (107 OPS+), but his defensive skills seem to drive
down his overall performance.  WAR is a cumulative statistic that
takes into consideration other skills like defense and base running
as well.  Moreland does not fare as well when the overall game is
taken into consideration:


Moreland had a WAR of 0.4.  Part-time players like Jay Johnstone,
Jerry Morales & Gary Woods had a higher WAR in significantly fewer at bats.


Moreland's 1.6 WAR tied him for 5th with Larry Bowa.  Mel Hall, Ryne
Sandberg, Jody Davis & Ron Cey had a higher WAR.  Moreland did have a slightly higher WAR than Bill Buckner (1.5)


Despit hitting 16 home runs with 80 RBI, Moreland's WAR in 1984 was just
0.5.  A low walk rate of 6.3% and poor defense seems to hurt his overall


This is the year that you really notice how much Moreland's defense brought
his performance down.  Moreland's offensive stats are his career best.  A .301 batting average, a .374 OBP and .440 slugging % are all above his career averages.   His strikeout and walk rates were excellent  (8.7% K to 10.2% BB), but his WAR was just 1.9.  Even his baserunning seemed to improve in 1985 over prior years, but the defense did drag down his overall performance.


Moreland's performance really deteriorated with a -1.0 WAR.  Moreland's
above average offensive performances had always made him worthy of a starting MLB job, but his 84 WRC+ indicated that even his offense was declining in 1986. 


Moreland made a nice comeback from his 1986 season, however his 1.3 WAR is still relatively low, but his defense seemed to improve from past seasons (Cubs moved him to third base after acquiring Andre Dawson) and this performance was slightly better than Leon Durham's 1.2 WAR contribution to the 1987 Cubs.

You may able to blame some of Moreland's poor performance on the Cubs managers.   Moreland moved around quite a bit in his 6 year career with the team, playing primarily right field, but the team still used him at other positions as well, that included catcher, first base and third base.  In 1987, his final year with the Cubs, he played third base and it certainly looks like he was a better defenderthere than right field.

Now, since I've trashed Moreland's performance so much, I want to give some positive information

Keith Moreland Performance:

WRC+ of 125 in 1983 was tied for 2nd with Jack Clark of all qualified rightfielders in MLB.
WRC+ of 122 in 1986 was 8th, above Tony Gwynn (Hall of Famer) and below Dwight Evans of all qualified rightfielders in MLB.

Moreland's .302 average was the best for the 1983 Cubs
Moreland's .303 average and 106 RBI's were the best for the 1985 Cubs
Moreland's 79 RBI's were the best for the 1986 Cubs
Morealnd's 29 doubles were the best for the 1987 Cubs

May 7, 1982
A great day for the Cubs and Keith Moreland.  The Cubs defeat Nolan Ryan and the Houston Astros 12-6 at Wrigley Field.  Moreland begins the scoring with a 3-run home run off Ryan in the 1st inning, drives in another run in the Cubs 6-run 3rd inning and than hits another 3-run home run off Frank Lacorte.  Moreland goes goes 3 for 5 on the day with 3 runs scored, 2 home runs and 7 RBI.  The Cubs defeat the Astros 12-6.

June 11, 1982
Cubs make a nice comeback against the Expos in Montreal, trailing 7-3 into the 8th inning,  Ryne Sandberg & Leon Durham get RBI hits in front of Keith Moreland's pinch-hit 3-run home run that gives the Cubs an 8-7 lead.  Unfortunately, the Cubs bullpen couldn't hold the lead as tim Raines 2-run double off Bill Campbell gives the Expos a 9-8 victory over the Cubs. 

July 23, 1982
A nice comeback by the Cubs, who were trailing the Reds 5-1 into the 6th inning when Ryne Sandberg homers to lead off the inning and Keith Moreland gets a 2-out RBI double to cut the lead to 5-3.  In the 8th inning, Moreland gets another 2-out hit, this one a 3-run home run to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead.  The Cubs add another run in the ninth inning and defeat the Reds at Riverfront stadium in Cincinnati. 

April 12, 1983
Keith Moreland's 1st inning 3-run home run gives the Cubs an early lead.  It is all the runs that Steve Trout and Lee Smith need as the Cubs shut out the Expos 5-0 at Wrigley Field to break a six game losing streak at the beginning of the Cubs season.

April 30, 1983
AT Wrigley Field, Keith Moreland's 2-out, 3-run triple in the 1st inning off Fernando Valenzuela gives the Cubs an early 3-0 lead as the Cubs defeat the Dodgers 7-2.  Moreland goes 2 for 4 with a run scored and 4 RBI on the day.  

May 13, 1983
At Wrigley Field, Keith Moreland has a big day against his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies, going 2 for 2 with a double, home run, 2 walks & 4 RBI as the Cubs defeat the Phillies 10-2.

July 13, 1984
At Wrigley Field, Keith Moreland goes 2 for 4 with with a home run & 4 RBI as the Cubs defeat the Dodgers 7-5. 

July 17, 1984
The Cubs 3-run, 8th inning rally comes up short as the Padres defeat the Cubs 6-5 at wRigley Field.  Keith Moreland hits 2 home runs and drives in 3 runs. 

August 5, 1984
At Wrigley Field, Keith Moreland's grand slam drives in all 4 Cubs run in a 4-3 victory over the Expos.  Rick Reuschel & Lee Smith contribute with 5 scoreless relief innings.    Reuschel gets the win and Smith gets the save.  

August 8, 1984
A back and forth game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Mets results in a Cubs 7-6 victory.  Cubs score 4 runs in the 7th inning.  Keith Moreland goes 3 for 4 with a run scored, 3 singles and 4 RBI.  He drove in runs in each of the 3 innings that the Cubs scored. 

August 28, 1984
Keith Moreland has a big day as the Cubs sweep a doubleheader against the Reds, winning both games 5-2.  Moreland goes 2 for 4 in game 1, hitting a 3-run home run, going 2 for 4 with a triple & 4 RBI.  In game 2, Moreland goes 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, a run scored & 2 RBI. 

April 17, 1985
At Wrigley Field, the Cubs win their 7th of 8th games to begin the season defeating the Phillies 5-4, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning.  the big hit being a bases loaded 2-out, 3-run double by Keith Moreland.  Moreland began the scoring for the Cubs in the 1st inning with an RBI single.  for the day, he had 3 hits and 4 RBI.  

May 31, 1985
At the Astrodome, the Cubs defeat the Astros 6-2 in 10 innings.  Davey Lopes RBI single gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead and Keith Moreland's 3-run home run seals the victory for the Cubs.  Scott Sanderson gave up 2 runs over 8 innings and Lee Smith's 2 scoreless relief innings earns him the victory.

July 14, 1985
At Wrigley Field, the Cubs defeat the Dodgers 10-4.  Keith Moreland goes 3 for 4 with a triple, home run, walk, stolen base & 4 RBI.  Ryne Sandberg goes 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 2 home runs, 3 RBI and 4 runs scored. 

September 23, 1985
At Wrigley Field, the Expos defeat the Cubs 10-7.  keith Moreland reaches base in all 5 at bats, going 4 for 4 with 3 RBI.  4 Expos hit home runs, future Cubs Andre Dawson & Vance Law as well as Doug Frobel and Andres Gallaraga.

September 28, 1985
Keith Moreland & Ron Cey both hit 2 home runs and drive in 4 runs as the Cubs defeat the 11-10 at Wrigley Field. 

May 6, 1986
At Wrigley Field, the Dodgers take an early 5-2 lead.  Keith Moreland's 7th inning,  2-run home run gives the Cubs a 6-5 lead.   The Dodgers tie the game in the 8th inning , but Leon Durham sends Cubs fans home happy with a walk-off solo home run.  Shawon Dunston homers in this game as well. 

June 2, 1987
At Wrigley Field, the Cubs demolish the Astros 13-2.  Cubs hitting heroes include: Keith Moreland who goes 2 for 5 with 4 RBI.  Andre Dawson goes 4 for 5 with a triple, home run and 7 RBI.  Shawon Dunston gets 4 hits. 

June 3, 1987
One day after a 13-2 victory over the Astros, the Cubs do even better defeating the Astros 22-7.  The hitting heroes for this game.  Keith Moreland goes 3 for 5 with 2 home runs (one a grand slam) and 7 RBI.  Bryan Dayett also hits a grand slam, driving in 4 runs and scoring 3 runs. 

After looking at some of Moreland's big games, I noticed that he did a great job in "high leverage" situation, close game situations particularly late in games.  Today, we have data on how well a player performs in "high leverage" situations.  For example, early in his career, current Cubs shortstop, Addison Russell seems to do well and the data shows this.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find such data going back to the 1980's.  If I am able to find this data, I will try to update this page.  It does appear that when the game was in the balance, Keith Moreland performed at his best.