Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicago Cubs Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

Our next post takes us to the North side of Chicago where the Cubs and new General Manager Theo Epstien are building for the future.  Unfortunately for the team that means that this year they will struggle to win games.  Let's take a look at the starters for this team.  

Infield:  Geovany Soto at catcher, Bryan LaHair at first base, Darwin Barney at second base, Starlin Castro at shortstop and Ian Stewart at third base.

In 2008 Geovany Soto won rookie of the year and everyone thought he was going to be the best catcher in the National League for quite a while.  Now just a few years later he is playing for his job, and I don't think he lasts the season.  First baseman Bryan LaHair came out of nowhere to hit 30 homers for the Triple A team last season, but he is a 29 year old journey men, and how often do they become above average players.  I don't think it happens here either.  Darwin Barney is a player I really like, he reminds me of Dustin Pedroia, just a pain in the butt for opposing teams.  I think he will show glimpses this year but next year will be his official breakout year.  Starlin Castro is the 2nd youngest player in the last 50 years to get 200 hits, but he still can't field worth a lick and has some off field issues to take care of.  Ian Stewart is the third baseman, and his numbers the last few years were inflated because of Coors Field.  Let's just call a spade a spade and tell the truth here, Ian Stewart is not a good Major League Baseball Player.  He doesn't finish the year with a starting job either.  

Who will have the best season of these guys? Starlin Castro wil lhave another 200 hit .300 batting average season and will commit another 25 errors in the field.  That will still be good enough for this pedestrian group of guys, although watch for a decent season from Barney before he takes off next year.  

Outfield:  Alfonso Soriano in left field, Marlon Byrd in center field, and David Dejesus in right field.

Alfonso Soriano will again hit 30 homers this season, but if the Cubs had their way only half would be with them.  They want to find a team to trade too (and I think they will, watch out for the Angels to go after him after they realize that Vernon Wells is terrible).  Marlon Byrd definitely will get traded to a contender by July this year, but before that will be an average center fielder both offensively and defensively.  The only person that will play the whole season on this team is Dejesus, and he won't do anything spectacular at all.  

Who will have the best season of these guys? For the Cubs it will be Dejesus because he is the only one on the team at the end of the year.  Overall Soriano will have the best season though with 30 homers and 100 Runs Batted In.

Starting Pitching:  Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Travis Wood, Paul Maholm and either Randy Wells or Chris Volstad.

I really like Dempster, he is a bulldog of a pitcher who is consistent.  He is a dependable guy, but not someone you would want at the front of your rotation.  The guy the Cubs should have at the front of the rotation is Garza, because he is clearly the most talented starter they have.  Unfortunately he also suffers from the Carlos Zambrano syndrome of not getting out of his own head and just pitching.  he is another one that could be shown the door come July.  (Can you tell it will be a busy trade deadline for the Cubs yet?)  Travis Wood came over from Cincinnati and would have been a good 4 or 5 on that team, but will struggle as a number three in this rotation.  He has to be the #3 though because the combination of Paul Maholm Chris Volstad and Randy Wells scares absolutely no one.  Volstad came over from the Marlins in the Zambrano trade, and him and Wells are younger, but Maholm is left handed.  Oh well lets just say they all aren't good and move on.

Who will have the best season of these guys? I'm going with Ryan Dempster, because of consistency.  Garza will have more wow performances but also more performances that will leave you shaking your head.  For that reason alone I am going with Dempster

Bullpen: Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Jeff Samardzija, and James Russell

Carlos Marmol when engaged is one of the nastiest pitchers in the league.  He does walk a lot of people though because no one, including him, knows where the hell is ball is going.  I don't think he makes the all-star team this year but I do think he gets to 30 saves.  Another player that could be on the trading block if the price is right.  Kerry Wood will retire after this season, or maybe even during the season if he gets hurt again so don't count on too much from him.  Former Notre Dame wide-receiver Jeff Samardzija actually has the highest salary of any Cubs reliever, so if Marmol gets hurt or traded this guy will be next in line for save opportunities.  The only reason why James Russell is even on the major league roster is because he is left handed.  Granted that is why he will pitch this year too.  In other news my son (if I ever have one) will be forced to throw with his left hand.  If James Russell can make it, anyone who throws south-paw can.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Marmol will have the best season of this group, but it will be below average by his standards.  He will lead all closers in walks and wild pitches too, but he will still get the job done, just not very effectively.  

Record Prediction: 71-91 5th in the National League Central

Next up:  Chicago White Sox

1 comment:

  1. I kicked ass with Lahair in mlb 2k9 when he was with the M's.