Cubs third-base coach under scrutiny; should Chicago consider moving on?

Metrics show that the Chicago Cubs are the worst team in baseball when it comes to rounding third and attempting to score, which has led to a Cubs coach being called into question.

A report from ESPN’s Jesse Rogers on Friday pointed out that Cubs baserunners are leading Major League Baseball in outs made at home plate for the third year in a row.

“It’s … the third consecutive season the team has led the league in outs made at home plate, calling into question the judgment of third-base coach Willie Harris,” Rogers said.

In response to the finger-pointing at Harris, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer defended Harris’ decisions at third base, indicating that Harris performs well according to Chicago’s own, in-house metrics.

“We’ve done a ton of research,” Hoyer said, per Rogers. “Plays at the plate are really hard. It behooves you to be aggressive in those situations. You can take that a little too far. (Harris) is aggressive, and off the scorecard we work off of, he does a good job.”

It’s possible that Harris — who was hired as the Cubs’ third-base coach in December 2020 — is being unfairly scapegoated amid what has been a failed season for Chicago thus far.

Notably, Harris’ aggressive style has resulted in the Cubs ranking No. 2 in MLB in advancing from first to third base on a single this year.

Leading the league in outs made at home for three straight seasons is concerning, no matter how you slice it. Harris’ degree of culpability in the matter is something far more debatable.

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Should Chicago move on from Harris as third-base coach, or would replacing his aggression with a more cautious style only further weaken the Cubs’ wilting capacity to score this season?

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