Thursday, March 22, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #21: Chicago Cubs

Greetings... the oft-discussed, always-underachieving Cubs...


C - Geovany Soto
1B - Bryan Lahair/Anthony Rizzo
2B - Darwin Barney
SS - Starlin Castro
3B - Ian Stewart
LF - Alfonso Soriano
CF - Marlon Byrd
RF - David DeJesus

Eesh. There is one bright spot here for me and it is as follows. Starlin Castro is the best under-23 shortstop in the world coming off of a year where he hit .307 with 10 homers, 22 steals, and plus-defense at the #1 defensive position. He's a really nice player and at 22 years old, he's only getting better. After that, questions abound. Geovany Soto has shown the ability to be a budding star at catcher (career .803 OPS) but had a brutal year last year hitting .228 and at age 29, we still don't know what he is. First base is a giant question mark with Lahair as an elderly 28-year-old prospect and Rizzo having bottomed out so badly when he was called up to San Diego last year. Soriano and Byrd are nice outfield bats, but neither is a good defender and/or getting any younger. I liked the DeJesus move as a consistent guy who's always out there, but there's little pop. Where is the power?

Starting Rotation

1 - Ryan Dempster
2 - Matt Garza
3 - Travis Wood
4 - Paul Maholm
5 - Randy Wells

Garza is probably the best pitcher on this team. He posted 197 K's in 198 innings with a 3.32 ERA and would be "the guy" had Dempster not been a proven commodity for the Cubs previously. Dempster had a rough year ERA wise (4.80) in 2011, but at age 34, his career numbers are much better than that, and they're going to need better. Travis Wood is just 25 years old and after a heist from the Reds, they have to pencil him in for a bit of a rebound after being a big-time prospect. I've always liked Maholm in Pittsburgh and he posted a 3.66 ERA in 2011. If he can repeat that, that would be huge for them. This is the last chance for Randy Wells and.... good luck to you.


Carlos Marmol's stuff is unbelievable. He strikes out guys at a ridiculous clip (12 per 9) but has no control whatsoever and it shows in his WHIP (1.38) and ERA (4.01) because he just puts guys on at a crazy rate. After that, it's ugly in a hurry, and with Marmol already banged up with a hand issue, Kerry Wood and James Russell are on call. Thank God for the Astros.


75-87, 5th in NL Central

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