Chicago Cubs: Looking Forward to 2010

With two weeks to go before the winter meetings in Indianapolis there are more rumors surrounding the Chicago Cubs than actual news, which is to be expected. With the 2010 payroll reportedly set very close to the amount that was paid to field the disappointing 2009 squad (between $140 and $150 million), most of the changes Jim Hendry is expected to make will come from moving players and their contracts.

With a majority of the roster for next season set due to large contracts and no-trade clauses, the CCO will take a look at early projections of the Cubs’ roster for 2010 over the next three days.

Part One: The Starting Eight

If Opening Day was tomorrow, which thankfully it is not, it is pretty easy to look at the Cubs’ 40-man roster (which currently stands at 38 players) and see how the active 25-man roster would be constructed.

Pitchers: Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens

Catchers: Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill

Infielders: Derrek Lee, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez, Mike Fontenot, Aaron Miles and Jake Fox

Outfielders: Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley and Sam Fuld

Ted Lilly will begin next season on the DL.

With that said, Milton Bradley remains on the Cubs’ roster and until he is traded must be figured into the equation. Jim Hendry reportedly does not want to send a lot of money with Bradley if he is traded and with Rudy Jaramillo under contract, Bradley could be back with the Cubs if Hendry does not find the right deal …

Here are the projected numbers for 2010, along with actual numbers from 2009, for Lou Piniella’s starting eight.

2010projections.jpg
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

  • ISO – Isolated Power (SLG-BA)
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play
  • wOBA – Weighted On Base Average

Full Projections from Fangraphs.com
Stat Explanations from Fangraphs.com

While Bill James projects RBI for the 2010 season, runs batted in are a team-driven stat and are not a good indication of individual production.

Granted with the way the Cubs’ roster is currently constructed Jeff Baker figures to split time with Mike Fontenot at second base and fill in from time-to-time for Aramis Ramirez. Kosuke Fukudome, on the other hand, would be platooned with Sam Fuld in center. Then there is Aaron Miles and Andres Blanco

Andres Blanco is out of options and must remain on the Cubs active roster. The chance of Blanco clearing waivers is slim-to-none at this point. Aaron Miles had one of the worst seasons in recent memory, and if not traded, he must earn a spot in spring training … despite the fact he is owed $2.7 million next year. The Cubs can no longer carry a player that cannot help either in the field or at the plate.

The Cubs’ offense should improve in 2010 with the addition of Aramis Ramirez for another 43 games, based on the projected numbers. Bill James also expects Alfonso Soriano to have a much-better year and for Geovany Soto to bounce back and put up numbers close to his Rookie of the Year campaign. With just improvements from those three players, the Cubs should score more runs … even with the projected drop in production from Derrek Lee.

The Cubs scored 855 runs in 2008 and 707 in 2009 … 12th in the National League.

Runs scored from the Starting Eight in 2009 – 456
Projected runs scored from the Starting Eight in 2010 – 592

Coming Soon:

  • Part Two: The Pitching Staff
  • Part Three: The Reserves and Rumored Additions

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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