The Cubs as a team are walking in 6.5% of plate appearances, the next lowest is 7.2%, shared by two teams. If I would have known this to be the case before the season started, I never would have thought the Cubs had a real chance. Maybe things will improve as the season unfolds.
This is despite Fukudome, Soto, and Pena, three prodigious walkers, all over 10% of plate apperances.
The biggest offenders are Byrd, Johnson, Dewitt, Baker, who all under 3%. Darwin Barney and Soriano are also terrible, Castro is pretty bad, Ramirez is ok.
It's not just about the free passes, its about getting better looks at pitches, swinging at better pitches to hit, and getting the starter out earlier so you face worse members of the bullpen. Take the Yankees in that game they got an insurance run off of John Grabow, and then hung on to win by only that run. Had Grabow never been needed, the Cubs would have had a much better chance to win.
Some of the players I'd give a pass to, because they are also very low strikout guys. High contact guys will walk less. Namely this is Castro, and Ramirez. Castro is improving as he gets more experience.
Before I close I should mention Koyie Hill and Tyler Colvin, who are trying to play the game correctly.