Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten: The Starting Eight

Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park on February 17. That is just 37 days for those scoring at home. The 2010 baseball season is quickly approaching and the first sign spring is around the corner begins on Friday … Harry Caray referred to the Cubs Convention as the “Unofficial Opening Day.”

Jim Hendry recently said he’s not done tinkering with his roster. But how will the players currently on the Cubs 40-man roster perform next season? That is the big question.

The CHONE projections for the upcoming season were recently released and provide a little more insight of what type of year is in store for the Chicago Cubs.

In the coming days the CCO will look at the 2010 projections for the players on the 40-man roster. In the first of a three-part series here’s a look at Lou Piniella’s starting eight …

Part One: The Starting Eight

Since the Cubs signed Marlon Byrd, there has been speculation on Lou Piniella’s Opening Day lineup. As the roster is currently constructed, the starting eight is all but set with the exception of second base.

Many feel Piniella will begin the year with Mike Fontenot at second base against right- handers. Fontenot and Kosuke Fukudome would be the only lefties in the lineup.

Jeff Baker would be Fontenot’s platoon partner while serving as the backup to Aramis Ramirez … as well as picking up a little time in the outfield.

Here is how the Cubs’ starting eight performed a year ago:

CubsStarting8-2009stats.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

Here are the projected numbers for the starting eight from Bill James and CHONE … for comparison.

CubsStarting8-ChoneBJ10.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

The Cubs’ offense is projected to perform better in 2010, even with Derrek Lee taking a step back. There are several factors, namely keeping Aramis Ramirez healthy and in the lineup for the full season.

Both Bill James and CHONE projects better years for Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot … with Kosuke Fukudome and Marlon Byrd putting up similar numbers as last season.

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

The Cubs starting eight scored 456 runs in 2009 (with Milton Bradley). CHONE is projecting the Cubs starting eight to score 534 runs and Bill James is projecting the Cubs’ regulars to score 587 times.

The projections show improvement by an offense that more than struggled with consistency in 2009. Somewhere in between CHONE and Bill James is what the Cubs starting eight should actually produce.

Coming Soon:

  • Part Two: The Starting Staff
  • Part Three: The Bench and The Bullpen

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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