Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten: The Bench and The Bullpen

The conclusion of the CCO’s three-part series on the Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten will look at Lou Piniella’s bench and bullpen … Part one focused on Lou Piniella’s starting eight and part two centered on Piniella’s starting staff.

Part Three: The Bench and The Bullpen

The bench and the bullpen are the two areas the Cubs have a little bit of flexibility … and reportedly are still looking to make additions. As the roster is currently constructed, Lou Piniella’s bench will consist of Koyie Hill, Andres Blanco, Jeff Baker, Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld. Fuld and Hoffpauir have options remaining while Hill, Blanco and Baker are out of options. Tyler Colvin and James Adduci should begin the year with Ryne Sandberg in Iowa.

The Cubs are reportedly looking for a right-handed bat for the outfield to platoon with Kosuke FukudomeJermaine Dye and Xavier Nady are on the Cubs’ radar. Bryan LaHair and Brad Snyder are expected to compete with Micah Hoffpauir for a spot on the bench this spring.

Here is how the Cubs projected bench performed a year ago:

CubsBench-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

For comparison, here are the projected numbers for the bench from Bill James and CHONE.

CubsBench-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

Lou Piniella’s pen should have two spots open for competition once camp begins … again, if a veteran right-hander is not added to the mix.

Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and Angel Guzman appear to be locks if healthy (and in Guzman’s case, not traded).

Jim Hendry could deal Sean Marshall or Tom Gorzelanny before the season begins. With Ted Lilly on the shelf for at least the first month, one of the two should be in the rotation with the other serving as the second lefty behind John Grabow.

If Carlos Silva is healthy, he figures to be the longman with Jeff Samardzija either making the Cubs’ rotation out of Mesa or beginning the year as one of Ryne Sandberg’s starters … Samardzija has one minor league option left.

Esmailin Caridad turned heads last year and figures to be ahead of Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Justin Berg on the depth chart … all four relievers have minor league options. The Cubs are very high on Jeff Gray as well but he has one option left and figures to begin the year in Triple-A.

After a starting five of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs seven-man pen to begin the season figures to be Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Carlos Silva, Esmailin Caridad, Sean Marshall and Justin Berg.

Here is how the Cubs projected bullpen performed a year ago:

CubsBullpen-2009stats.jpg
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

  • K/9 – Strikeouts per 9 Innings
  • BB/9 – Walks per 9 Innings
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play
  • WHIP – Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitches
  • FIP – Fielder Independent Pitching on an ERA scale

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

For comparison, here are the projected numbers for the pen from Bill James and CHONE.

CubsBullpen-ChoneBJ10.jpg
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

  • K/9 – Strikeouts per 9 Innings
  • BB/9 – Walks per 9 Innings
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play
  • WHIP – Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitches
  • FIP – Fielder Independent Pitching on an ERA scale

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

The Cubs’ bench and bullpen, as currently constructed, have a lot of holes. Jim Hendry has quite a bit of work to do before the games actually count.

Note from the CCO: Please keep in mind these are only projections. There is a reason they play the games … not too many teams perform the way they do on paper.

Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten

The CCO will post Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA cards when they are released.

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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