On Paper … How the Cubs Could Fare in Twenty-Ten

The 2010 baseball annuals for The Sporting News and Athlon Sports made their way to the newsstands this week.

While Baseball Prospectus projected the Cubs to have a losing season (79-83), the Sporting News predicts the Cubs will reach the post-season … as the NL Wild Card.

Athlon Sports is not as optimistic as the Sporting News about the Cubs for the 2010 season but still predicted a winning campaign.

With pitchers and catchers reporting in six days, two respected publications have slightly different views of the same team.

The Sporting News

The Sporting News predicted an 87-win season for the Chicago Cubs … two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, second place in the central division. Health is the main concern for the Cubs in 2010.

With a majority of the players remaining from the team that won 97 games in 2008, the Sporting News is predicting a playoff birth for the Cubs via the NL Wild Card.

Projected Starting Lineup

  1. Ryan Theriot – SS
  2. Kosuke Fukudome – RF
  3. Derrek Lee – 1B
  4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B
  5. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  6. Marlon Byrd – CF
  7. Geovany Soto – C
  8. Mike Fontenot – 2B

Rotation: Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny or Carlos Silva
Bullpen: Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, David Patton and Mitch Atkins

Clubhouse Leader: Derrek Lee

Tidbits from the Sporting News

  • Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot were the only two starters to reach 500 at bats in 2009.
  • The 707 runs the Cubs scored in 2009 (scored 855 runs in 2008) was the second lowest run production in the NL by a team with a winning record.
  • Derrek Lee was the only Cub that drove in more than 65 runs in 2009.
  • Alfonso Soriano (20) and Derrek Lee (35) were the only Cubs to hit more than 15 home runs in 2009 (Aramis Ramirez hit 15 home runs in 2009)
  • Top Prospect in the Cubs Organization: Josh Vitters

“New ownership means new hope, but Mr. Ricketts can’t play right field or leadoff.”

The Sporting News MLB Predictions

Here is how the Sporting News sees the 2010 MLB season playing out …

National League

East: Phillies, Braves, Mets, Marlins and Nationals
Central: Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Reds, Astros and Pirates
West: Rockies, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks and Padres

American League

East: Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays
Central: Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Royals and Indians
West: Angels, Mariners, Rangers and A’s

NL Wild Card: Cubs
AL Wild Card: Red Sox

World Series: Yankees over Phillies

Athlon Sports

Athlon Sports predicted another winning season for Lou Piniella’s crew in 2010 … the Cubs fourth in a row. But a third place finish in the NL Central Division behind the Cardinals and Brewers. Athlon thinks the Cubs will be a decent team but will not have enough to make it into the playoffs.

Tidbits from Athlon Sports

  • Mike Parisi could be the wild card in the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation
  • 56 stolen bases for the Cubs in 2009 … last in the National League
  • 15 different players spent time on the DL in 2009 … a total of 584 games missed
  • Sean Marshall’s ERA in 59 career starts, 4.86 … in 75 games out of the pen, 3.15
  • The Cubs were 47-32 against the NL Central in 2009, 36 – 46 against the rest of baseball. The 47-32 record was the best in the central (Reds, 46-34).

Projected Starting Lineup

  1. Kosuke Fukudome – RF
  2. Ryan Theriot – SS
  3. Derrek Lee – 1B
  4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B
  5. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  6. Marlon Byrd – CF
  7. Geovany Soto – C
  8. Jeff Baker – 2B

Bench: Koyie Hill, Andres Blanco, Mike Fontenot, Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld
Rotation: Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny
Bullpen: Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Justin Berg, Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Silva
*Note: Athlon Sports 2010 MLB Preview was published before the Cubs signed Xavier Nady on January 29.

Athlon Sports MLB Predictions

Here is how Athlon Sports sees the 2010 MLB season playing out …

National League

East: Phillies, Mets, Braves, Marlins and Nationals
Central: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Astros and Pirates
West: Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants and Padres

American League

East: Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays
Central: Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Indians and Royals
West: Angels, Rangers, Mariners and A’s

NL Wild Card: Rockies
AL Wild Card: Red Sox

World Series: Phillies over Yankees

Pre-season predictions are picking the Chicago Cubs to finish anywhere from second to fourth in the NL Central. Pre-season predictions are just that, pre-season predictions. If titles were won on paper, well …

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey StengelĀ 

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