The Chicago Cubs are one of the biggest disappointments in Major League Baseball through the first month and a half of the regular season. Following weekend action, the defending champions have a losing record at 18-19. There's still a ton of time left this season, but the Cubs currently find themselves looking up at three teams in their division. With teams approaching the 25% mark of the regular season, certainly enough games have been played to start coming to reasonable opinions about the various teams. On that matter, perhaps the Chicago Cubs just aren't all that good this year.

Chicago Cubs' stats

Where exactly is Chicago's weak point? There is not actually wide variance on their home-and-away splits. They are 7-9 when hosting and 11-10 when visiting. Those are tight trends that could change drastically with just a couple results. It's a different Point Of View to take on this year and Chicago's problems are largely at the plate so far this season.

Chicago's hitting is a problem

For a team OPS they are just .715, the fourth-worst from that point of view in the National League. Their power is almost average and they actually lead the National League in walks. That is a surprising statistic, but the fact that the Cubs lead the NL in bases on balls and yet they are well below average offensively refutes that old baseball saying you hear in ballparks where people claim that "A walk is as good as a hit." A walk might put a runner on first, however it doesn't advance runners that aren't in a force situation.

The Cubs are batting just .236 this season as a team. Furthermore, they are striking out a lot as they are 5th among NL teams from that point of view.

If you were to pick on a couple players that have underachieved this season then you would have to throw out Anthony Rizzo's name to start. The 27 year old has a .734 OPS so far this season despite a career OPS of .840.

Last season he had an OPS of .928 so his contributions at the plate have certainly dipped. The problem with that is that Rizzo leads the team in at-bats: unless he performs better, he'll need to be dropped in the batting order.

But Rizzo isn't alone when it comes to underachieving. Kyle Schwarber has an OPS of .656 this season against a .768 OPS on his career.

Addison Russell has a .648 OPS against .710 on his career. Likewise, Ben Zobrist is about 100 points below his OPS career average. It's kind of a sad commentary, but several more players could be listed.

Chicago commits a lot of errors

Chicago's pitching remains strong, as they are fourth in the NL in ERA. That is something that the team can rally around as they look to improve. However, ERA hides one important stat: unearned runs. The Cubs lead the National League in errors with 30 and they've given up 35 unearned runs. Wilson Contreras, Chicago's catcher, has seven on the season to lead the big leagues.

One game under .500 can certainly be overcome. However, you could question the motivation with the Cubs.

They won the World Series last year: is their ambition satisfied at the moment? Not every champion goes all out every year and it could be that some of the Cubs are less motivated this year precisely because of last year's success. If that is the case then the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Cincinnati Reds have to be thinking about post-season ambitions that might have seemed unlikely during the pre-season.