GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria isn't worried about his team's offense heading into the final week of spring training. But maybe he should.
Spring statistics don't mean a lot but when they mirror the problems the Cubs had last regular season maybe they should be examined more closely. Even more so when you consider there was only one major addition to the offense -- outfielder Justin Ruggiano -- although Emilio Bonifacio could have an impact as well.
Will most of the same players bring the same problems?
Going into Friday's game against the Chicago White Sox, the Cubs are batting .229 this spring with an on-base percentage of .298. The latter stat ranks them dead last among all teams in Arizona and Florida. During the regular season last year the Cubs hit .238 with an on-base percentage of .300, nearly identical to how often they're getting on-base now.
"You always want those on-base percentage numbers to be up," Renteria said Friday morning. "If I was concerned about the approaches they were taking I would be more concerned about that. Their approaches have been pretty good. We've have had some really (grinded) out at-bats that have not resulted on base."
Renteria is taking the glass half-full approach, but it's hard to believe a lot is going to change once the season starts. Just like last season, the Cubs aren't getting on-base but they are slugging. They rank 17th in baseball this spring with a .392 slugging percentage after slugging .385 last season. Their 25 home runs in February and March rank first in baseball.
"During the course of the season those kinds of results are an indicator how you're going about your business," Renteria said. "Hopefully they continue a consistent approach and that those numbers start to show their value over the long haul.
"We've seen a lot of 7-10 pitch at-bats with a lot of the guys that have not resulted with them guys getting on base. But that mentality and that approach is what we're trying to implement. I think it's starting to happen. Over the long haul if they can maintain that approach those results will start to show up in the numbers."
Former manager Dale Sveum said similar things and the results never showed up. Maybe the Cubs simply need the right players as their percentages would be even worse without Albert Almora and Javier Baez contributing to the spring numbers. At least one of those players should help the Cubs this regular season but will it be enough to alter the course of the offense?