Leading Off for the 2011 Chicago Cubs …

ESPN broached the subject of Cubs leadoff candidates for the upcoming season. The Cubs have not had a true leadoff hitter since the days of Kenny Lofton, despite the likes of Juan Pierre, Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot spending a lot of time at the top of the Cubs’ lineup.

ESPN mentioned the possibility of Starlin Castro, and if not Castro, maybe Marlon Byrd or Alfonso Soriano. But Mike Quade recently told Dave Kaplan there is “no chance” Soriano will hit leadoff for the Cubs and “will try at all cost” to avoid using Soriano at the top of the lineup.

As the roster is currently constructed, who should leadoff for the Cubs in Two Thousand Eleven?

Taking a quick glance at the Cubs’ 40-man roster, there are a couple of players that could do the job but the best candidate will probably start the year in the minors.

Quade said he would probably play match-ups when the season begins … and see how things sort themselves out. Starlin Castro is an option but he is probably better suited hitting in the two-hole, especially going into his first full season at the Major League level.

Of the possible candidates, here is how they fared in 2010 out of the leadoff spot …

  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-4 with a strikeout, one game
  • Kosuke Fukudome – .193/.313/.298/.611 (35-for-181 in 48 games), eight doubles, a triple, three home runs and 17 runs scored
  • Blake DeWitt – .238/.275/.397/.672 (15-for-63 in 16 games), five doubles, a triple, a home run and three runs scored
  • Tyler Colvin – .250/.310/.538/.848 (26-for-104 in 24 games), two doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 20 runs scored
  • Marlon Byrd – .500/.522/.727/1.249 (11-for-22 in five games), five doubles and two runs scored
  • Jeff Baker – .464/.516/.571/1.088 (13-for-28 in eight games), three doubles and six runs scored

Sam Fuld remains on the big league roster but it would be a stretch to think he will be with the Cubs on Opening Day, much less in a starting lineup. Fuld is out of Minor League options and will likely find himself out of the organization by the time the intrasquad game is over on March 30.

The Cubs obviously lack team speed and if the season started tomorrow, Quade would have to play match-ups.

Jeff Baker pounded lefties last season (.350/.395/.550/.945, 49-for-140, with 12 doubles, two triples and four home runs in 62 games) and spent a lot of time in the leadoff spot when Mike Quade took over.

Against right-handed pitchers, if Kosuke Fukudome is still on the team (which in all likelihood he will be) he is probably the best option … especially in April and May.

Kosuke hit .263 with a .377 OBP versus right-handed pitching (.427 SLG and a .804 OPS) with 18 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs in 118 games (83-for-118). Once the calendar turns to June, if Brett Jackson is not with the team, then Blake DeWitt could be a fit against right-handers.

Blake DeWitt managed a .263/.342/.377/.719 line against righties with 21 doubles, four triples and four home runs in 134 games (95-for-361).

The interesting part of ESPN’s report is mentioning Marlon Byrd as an option.

Yes, Byrd struggled in the second half (.261/.321/.361/.682 with 12 doubles, two triples and three home runs in 65 games) but he hit lefties to the tune of a .357/.390/.526/.916 line in 67 games (61-for-171) last season. Plus, Byrd is a good baserunner and is smart on the bases as well. As for his career as a leadoff hitter, Byrd’s line of .289/.353/.418/.770 (172-for-596 in 145 games) is not too shabby.

As for Brett Jackson, from all indications this off-season he will likely start the year in Double-A with a quick promotion to Iowa if he picks up where he left off in 2010 (.276/.366/.465/.831 with 13 doubles, six triples and six home runs in 61 games with the Smokies, including 18 out of 22 in the stolen base department). Jackson figures to be in the mix down the road to hit leadoff for the Cubs … but he has to get to the Show first.

Will it be Fukudome, Baker, DeWitt, Castro, Byrd, Colvin, or none of the above?

Who will hit in the top spot of the lineup next season should be one of the many questions Mike Quade will field next week at the convention.

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  • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

    We really dont have a viable option at this point.

    Castro did well in the #2 spot…and after his rookie season probably not wise to now put the pressure of being a lead-off hitter on the young man. Let him worry about all the adjustments in his sophomore season.

    It really may just boil down to Baker in the leadoff spot aganst lefties and roll the dice for who gets it against righties. Maybe DeWitt? Fukudome isn’t likely to start,,,and Colvin has too much power for leadoff. Byrd would be an interesting option given the wauy the line up is stacking up.

    Possibly VS RH
    CF Byrd
    SS Castro
    1B Pena
    3B Ramirez
    RF Colvin
    LF Soriano
    2B DeWitt
    C Soto

    What I like about this line up is that after the first two guys the rest of the line-up rotates lefty-righty which is always good to help burn through the other teams bullpen or maybe prevent a move when the other team is a bit thin in the pen.

    Possibly VS LH
    2B Baker
    SS Castro
    CF Byrd
    3B Ramirez
    1B Pena
    C Soto
    LF Soriano
    RF Colvin

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Vs. LH
    1b Baker
    ss Castro
    CF Byrd
    3b Ramirez
    C Soto
    Lf Soriano
    RF Colvin
    2b Barney
    Pitcher

  • Tony_Hall

    Whoever plays 2B should bat leadoff. Brett Jackson will bat leadoff when he arrives (hopefully in June/July). Until then someone has to be penciled in the spot. I am putting Pena 3rd, assuming he will bat closer to 250 than 200, otherwise, he can’t bat 3rd hitting 200 and if that happens, this lineup is in huge trouble.

    1. Baker/Dewitt 2B
    2. Castro SS
    3. Pena 1B
    4. Ramirez 3B
    5. Byrd CF
    6. Colvin RF
    7. Soriano LF
    8. Soto C

    When Jackson arrives, w/o any other changes.

    1. Jackson CF
    2. Castro SS
    3. Pena 1B
    4. Ramirez 3B
    5. Colvin RF
    6. Soriano LF
    7. Soto C
    8. Dewitt/Baker 2B

    Our long term future leadoff, is Hak Ju Lee, as hopefully Jackson develops enough power to bat 3rd.

    1 Lee SS
    2 Castro 2B/3B?
    3 Jackson CF

    Fast, athletic top of the order.

    That is of course, unless we trade him away…

    • IL4T1223

      you need someone in the 3 hole who puts the ball in play .. no matter what. Someone with a high average and good power. Byrd is our best hitter and should be 3. Pena should slide to 5 where he was at in TB to give Ramirez protection like he gave Longoria protection.

      • Tony_Hall

        That is why this team’s offense is in trouble. There are NO 3 or 4 hole hitters available, NO lead-off guy. That is 3 of the 8 spots that are bad.

      • paulcatanese

        I would agree with you about Byrd except for the second half slide of his that was terrible,at number three in the order,unless he gets back to the first half of last year would be a definite liability. Same holds true for Rami,however who else would fit in the four slot? Rami and Pena back to back, I would like it if Rami can come back and Pena can cut back on his stikeouts, which remains to be seen.You have all good intentions though nd hope you are right.

  • nick_ss

    Wow, I didn’t realize Byrd had those kind of numbers at leadoff. In my opinion, he would be our best internal option until Jackson is up and ready.

  • Mayor Lee

    Byrd
    Castro
    Soriano
    Ramirez
    Colvin
    Pena
    Soto
    DeWitt

    • Tony_Hall

      These are all our opinions, but Soriano 3rd? and Colvin/Pena back-2-back?

  • Agustin_Rexach

    I think
    Maybe Brian Roberts?

    DUDE JUST Kidding!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    You just gotta love the Cubs’ management. When they acquire the best leadoff hitter they have had in many decades (Kenny Lofton), and after he provides the catalyst to take them to the divisional playoffs, they cut him. Didn’t want to pay him. Since I have followed the Cubs (1969), he was the best leadoff man we have ever had. No one else came close. Yes, Bob Dernier had a nice first half in 1984, and he wasn’t anything before or after that. Lofton did it year after year.
    This is the Cub’s dum-dum management. The stupidest in all of MLB. And please don’t tell me that the Pirates are worse when they have won more pennants since 1945 than we have.

    Leadoff in 2011?

    ******LISTEN FOLKS: THE SECRET IS NOT SPEED. ************************
    Let me shout it out again and again for you all:
    THE SECRET IS NOT STOLEN BASE SPEED. THE SECRET IS ON-BASE PERCENTAGE.

    Speed is like the scoop of Cool WHip on the Apple Pie: nice, but not essential.

    So who should lead off?
    Find the man who can get on base the most from the leadoff spot.
    NOT FUNKO.
    Last year he hit .193 from the #1 hole in 215 PA. GAG!
    But he hit .353 in the #2 hole in 103 PA last year. (HE did not get more than 24 AB in any other batting hole last year).

    Man alive he’s proved over and over that he’s a #5 hitter.
    Look at these career stats @batting order:

    #1 .233 BA/.355 OBP
    #2 .255 BA/.353 OBP
    #3 .282 BA/.431 OBP–but he can’t hit here, no power
    #4 .214 BA/.250 OBP
    #5 .291 BA/.381 OBP/.468 slugging, by far his best number
    #6 .261 BA/.393 OBP
    #7 .242 BA/.325 OBP
    #8 .242 BA/.375 OBP

    The Cubs are stuck with Funko, but Funko is not without some benefit. He can hit RHP okay, enough to play vs. RHP. I would bat him #5 vs. RHP.

    SO WHO SHOULD HIT #1?
    NOT Blake DeWitt. Can’t hit for average. No speed. No power. No on base percentage. What more could you want in a leafoff man if you were trying to beat the Pirates to the bottom of the division? I don’t want this guy on my team, certainly not as a starter.

    Marlon Byrd? Yes, in his career he has hit .289 in 596 AB from the #1 hole, BUT WAIT–almost all of that has come as a platoon player against LHP–it skews the stats, boys. Did not get a single AB there for Texas in 2009 or 2008. Got 2 AB there in all of 2007. In 2006 he was a part time player for the Phillies, hit .228 for the entire year, and netted 48 AB and hit .250 in the #1 hole. In 2005, the story is about the same: part time player, 259 AB for year, 35 AB from the #1 hole with .266 average. He ain’t considered a leafoff man by many managers–unless it is a platoon spot in the lineup against LHP. But hey, Lou-Baby kept running him out there in the #3 hole where he hit .227 for the year. And he got more AB at the #3 hole than anywhere else. Can you believe it? You can if your a Cubs’ fan.

    Byrd’s success has come from the #4 or #6 hole in the lineup. My guess is that he was well protected in Texas from the #4 hole, what with Hamilton and all the sluggers they had.

    My verdict: as a leadoff man, FORGETABOUTIT. Not enough OBP vs. RHP.

    Quade will be most effective if he platoons Byrd, Funko, DeWitt, Baker, and probably Soriano, too.

    THE ANSWER IS: WE DO NOT HAVE A LEADOFF HITTER. WE WILL HAVE TO LEADOFF BY COMMITTEE, unless someone shows he can win the job with a big OBP from the #1 hole.

    CARLOS PENA: who thinks he’s going to hit .250 for a full year? Sure, I expect him to do it the first half, and then pull a Marlon Byrd and disappear for the second half.

    • paulcatanese

      I posted a like the first time I read your post.Let me ask you,what ever happened to get on,bunt the guy to second? Has that gone by the wayside?I hope Pena does as you hope,otherwise a lot of money for a glove.I feel very much as you and Tony there is no leadoff man.

  • roseyc

    Poor Fukedome nobody wants him I guess it’s up to him to prove everybody wrong and hit his way onto the lineup…that would be a nice surprise

  • Cheryl

    Lee seems like a viable option if he’s with the club after spring training. If he starts off well, there’s Lee than Castro in the 2 hole. I’d bat Pena third, then Byrd, followed by Colvin, Ramirez, Soriano (or Fukudome), Sota and then the pitcher. Both Fukudome and Soriano may be splitting time in the outfield. I’d like to see more of Brett Jackson, but unless there’s some trades I doubt we will. Cheryl

    • Tony_Hall

      Hak Ju Lee is not going to see Wrigley in 2011, probably not even 2012. 2013 is the most likely year for Hak Ju Lee to take over the leadoff spot. He just turned 20 years old and was at Peoria last year.

    • John_CC

      Cheryl, Ramirez was a terrible disappointment last year and should by all accounts be dropped out of the cleanup spot. Unfortunately this club has no one besides Pena that even resembles a cleanup hitter. Certainly, Marlon Byrd is not a cleanup hitter. The 3 hole is traditionally the “best” hitter on the team – clutch, power, average, low Ks… that does not sound like Carlos Pena to me, it sounds like the Aramis of 2008 and before. That would put Pena in the cleanup spot.

      I hope to hell that Ramirez will be healthy and can regain his swing and composure at the plate, but I am not counting on it.

      As it stands, the Cubs have one of the worst 3-4 combos in NL, no matter which two currently rostered guys you pencil in there.

      • CherylPricewriter

        I agree that Ramirez was a big disappointment last year. That’s why I dropped him to 6th in the batting order. Of all the hitters, Fukudome seems to have the most patience, but he’s pretty much been replaced by Colvin. In coming up with the lineup I wanted to alternate experience with those who are fairly new. If Lee is as far away as 2012 then another scenerio is needed. (But if he’s that far away why is Tampa so eager to get him?). Pena may not be a true clean-up hitter, but who else is there for number three?

        • Tony_Hall

          Tampa knows young talent, that is why they want Lee.

  • John_CC

    I have to agree with Ripsnorter on this one, speed is the icing on the cake. First and foremost a lead off hitter has to GET ON BASE – hitting, walking and looking at a lot of pitches. They have to run well – that is smart on bases and decent speed, they do not have to be lighting bolts.

    Byrd and Baker fit this bill. And yes, Fukudome vs. righties in April and May with hopes that by mid-June B. Jackson is up. But even then I don’t think you drop him in the leadoff spot, he’ll just be taking PT from Dome.

    This is a telling, and confusing, pair of quotes from Quade: there is “no chance” on Soriano hitting lead off (PHEW!), but what — they will “try at all costs” to avoid using Soriano at lead off. HUH? Which is it? “No Chance” or “try…to avoid”? I don’t like that.

    And, of course, Quade will play matchups, being the old and uncreative baseball guy he is.

  • cubs1967

    the cubs in the past have had a few good leadoff men….all very short timers though. dejesus, dernier, walton, lofton, even pierre could steal bags, but there is only 1 choice to bad lead-off: starlin castro.

    despite rip saying it’s not about steals; there is alot of it about stealing bags…….remember vince coleman, rock raines, rickey henderson……it just is.

    only castro will steal bags. and news flash…..brett jackson won’t be coming up to bench byrd or sori……….by signing pena and pushing colvin to RF…….it was the cubs way of saying…….see ya in ’12 BJ. plus fukunuts would play when as a 5th OF then??

    bryd should bat 2nd, he has a great inside-out swing to RF and is a non-fit in a RBI spot-3rd or 5th. when fukunuts plays; he should bat 2nd since castro is a SB threat forcing the 1b to hold and leaving a hole in the infield.

    castro
    bryd
    ramirez
    pena
    colvin
    sori
    soto
    dewitt

    no line-up will be perfect; too many K’s in this one w/ pena-colvin-sori in a row; but the top 3 are the best fit and since those 3 will get the most at bats; just have to live w/ it.

    against lefties, prob have to move sori or soto up………maybe put baker in 2 hole and drop byrd and rami one spot……..again can’t make a perfect lineup when the pieces don’t fit.

    it’s gonna be a looooooooong year offensively, 2011 here we come…….103 yrs and counting…………and counting……….

    • John_CC

      How many teams have lead off hitters like Raines, Colman, Ricky these days? These guys are the special ones, the ideal, not the typical.

      What Rip was saying – I think – is that if you stick a guy in the lead off simply because he can steal bases, even at a terrible percentage, it is not helpful. First and foremost a lead off hitter has to have a confident, deliberate approach at the plate. They have to have a high OBP. Castro doesn’t have any of those things, he is too young. It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to put that kind of pressure on a developing hitter coming off a good rookie season.

      I would rather see Marlon Byrd there. The fact is, and the point of this article, the Cubs do not have any very good options. Byrd is confident, takes pitches, hits to all fields and is a very good if not speedy base runner. And he likes to lead. Plus he is not a run producing hitter. He should not be anywhere near the middle of the order. That leaves 1 or 2 and 7-9.

      If you have a guy with a decent OBP, say .375, who is a decent runner with a team plan to have him steal bases simply because he is at the top, but he gets gunned down 30% of the time, what does that get you? I’m not gonna attempt the math right now, but the answer is a guy batting lead off whose usable OBP (the times he actually gets on base and stays there to be driven in) is notched down, probably more like .350, and not very good for his batting order spot anymore.

      Theriot is a great example. He was slap hitter, decent OBP (sometimes) and had some 20+ SB seasons – so that made him a lead off hitter according to the SB theory of leading off. Well he also got thrown out at a terrible clip and reduced the run production at the top of the order – which is the number one job of that role.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Let’s do the math, John.

        500 AB
        OBP= .375
        SB%= 70%
        Attempts= 40
        SB=28
        CSB=12
        Effective OBP = .350

        Now let’s take a leadoff guy with an OBP of a Juan Pierre
        651 AB
        .275 BA
        .341 OBP
        68 SB
        18 CS
        SB% 79%
        Effective OBP= .313

        REMINDER FOLKS:
        Castro 10 SB 8 CS in 2010.
        Not a speed merchant.
        OBP= .347
        Effective OBP= .326

        • John_CC

          Nice work! I think we’ve got something here…I just made that term up, Effective OBP, it seems to be explanatory and worthy, no?

          Do Theriot in his best year, 2008. Please. I know we are all dying to see it…

          • Ripsnorter1

            Theriot: 2008
            661 PA
            .307 BA
            .387 OBP (excellent!)
            22 SB
            13 CS
            SB%=62.8%
            Effective OBP=.368 (still excellent)

          • John_CC

            That is excellent. The 63% SB rate is atrocious.

          • Ripsnorter1

            And yet, it is better than Castro’s and Funkodome!

            It ought to be a Federal Crime for Funko to try to steal a base.
            7 SB, 8 CS in 2010. Hey, that’s a marvelous 46.6%!.

            Lookout Ricky Eugene Henderson! hahahahahahahahahaha

          • cubs1967

            why would we assume Castro would stay at his current Sb %……should he not get better as he gets older and learns how to steal besides his speed???…………the answer is Yes and he is the only option to bat leadoff…..and YEs-the speed players of the ’80′s will be back in vogue as the ‘roiders hitting 2b stop smacking 30 dingers anymore.

            are the Cubs gonna win in 2011…..NOPE.

            so try Castro out……no harm there………

      • paul catanese

        Excellent post,great on Theriot,I agonized every time he got on…”dont steal,dont steal”,he would and we were out of an inning.

  • paulcatanese

    Boy,all are good posts and make sense.Combing Tony,Rip,and the San Diego post I would say al are right . I like Baker and a Lefty depending on the pitcher. I have some concerns about Castro in the 2 hole even though he has produced. I always felt number two should have good bat control,h&r,bunt,etc. and I have not quite seen that from Castro,but are sure it would hurt hime to move him from no.2. I think the best spot for Byrd is 6,7,or 8 in the lineup. I don’t know much about Jackson but if all the reports are as Tony described him,he is our next lead off hitter. I still have faith in Fuko,and as mentioned the 5-6 spot is best for him. That was interesting obsevations by all.San Diego was Joe,sorry Joe.

  • studio179

    It will not be one guy leading off. I read several batting orders posted here. I agree with many of them. In other words, Quade will not have a set line up for righties/lefties. What guy matches up with the pitcher and who earns playing time will determine that day’s line up.

  • Bryan

    I couldn’t help chuckle when reading this SI assessment on the Cubs for 2011.

    “The Chicago Cubs resolve to be entertaining. Baseball is an entertainment industry, which is why exceptionally awful or embarrassing teams tend to generate as much copy as contenders. The Cubs were something of a pioneer in that field, trading on their identity as “lovable losers” for several decades before their return to respectability, though not the World Series, over the last decade or so. Even the Cubs’ successes (particularly the 1984 and 2003 playoff teams) came packaged with captivating catastrophes that live on in baseball lore. The 2011 Cubs, however, threaten to be worse than bad, they threaten to be boring. Not bad enough to be awful, and not colorful enough to be embarrassing. Manager Lou Piniella was always good for an emotionally-charged quote or on-field tantrum, but he’s retired, leaving the act to supposedly reformed human powder keg Carlos Zambrano, who will be hard-pressed to top last year’s implosion.”

    Face it, this team has a cheap, no-name manager, an incompetent GM, and a team that has no heart, no identity, no power, no speed, and no true athleticism (outside of Castro). As I read the prior posts from today (and I respect each posters opinion), it’s just sad that no proposed line-up creates any level of excitement for the fan base. At a continued payroll in the neighborhood of $130m, this franchise is truly an embarrassment…meanwhile, the RedSox have a great chance of winning their 3rd WS in the last 8 years. Leadership anyone?

    • John_CC

      That about sums it up, Bryan!

      I can’t even attempt a projected lineup because no matter what it is boring and less that mediocre.

      This is definitely a very boring team.

  • gocubs

    Jackson CF
    Castro SS
    Pena 1B
    Ramirez 3B
    Soto C
    Byrd/Colvin RF
    Soriano/Colvin LF
    DeWitt 2B

    Bench: Fukudome, Baker, Barney, Castillo/Hill/Chirinos

  • Blog4310

    Joe?
    Why bat our best hitter last lear at the nottom of the lineup? Soto should be hitting 5th

  • daverj

    The odds that all of B Jackson, Castro and H Lee develop into above average major league players are very, very small. Look at the following list of Cubs prospects that made Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects from 1990 to 2009… very few actually make it long term … and these were the blue chippers in our system. For some reason, everyone gets so excited about these guys when they are in the minors, but then the vast majority of them disappear from the scene. Nobody wanted JH to deal Hill and Pie for Brian Roberts … instead we waited until Hill and Pie had no remaining value and then dealt them.

    Vitters
    Samardzija
    Fukudome
    Soto
    Colvin
    Gallagher
    Pie
    Veal
    Pawelek
    Cedeno
    Dopirak
    Harvey
    Angel Guzman
    Justin Jones
    Sisco
    Brownlie
    Choi
    Nic Jackson
    Prior
    Juan Cruz
    Kelton
    Bobby Hill
    Nic Jackson
    Zambrano
    Corey Patterson
    Ben Christensen
    Luis Montanez
    Wood
    Orie
    Cline
    Kieschnick
    Hollins
    Dickson
    Castellano
    Hawblitzel
    Scott
    Glanville
    Cunningham
    Harkey
    Griffin
    Wilkins
    Derrick May

    • Ripsnorter1

      In fact, there is no one on this list, save for the possible exception of Zambrano, that would have been a great loss to the Cubs if we had traded them away for a Garza.

      Kerry Wood? Naw. He’s barely a .500 pitcher.
      Mark Prior? He had one–count ‘em–one decent year with the Cubs.
      Hill? Unfortunately, since I like him, he’s junk now. Another one year wonder. Sad . . . .
      Rick Wilkins? Another one year wonder.
      Soto? I have hopes for him, but he is by no means an outstanding receiver.

    • cubs1967

      WAIT…….where’s karl pagel??

      look at this collection of crap…………yet toooooo many on here want to wait for the KIDS just like the owner………..wait for what……..so it’s 120 yrs and counting and NO championships.

      too bad the owner can’t put on his big boy britches and traded all top 10 cubs prospects plus karl ryan vitters (named after pagel and harvey) for grenike, garza and AGon……..and then signed beltre for 15M.

      and then moved ARam to red sox or angels or rangers who would of needed a 3b.

      those 4 would of added about 40M to the payroll minus $15M for aram…..but those would be progressive moves……..has anyone looked at the free agent 1b/3b in 2011 and 2012………..ouch….except for fatty fielder and 300M pujols…….pena and rami are in the top few.

      still not a great line-up…..but w/ fukunuts/silva/grabow off next year monies to fix other areas……..like 2b.

      BUT NO…….we’ll wait for 70% of the top 10 suspects to become rich hill and useless……….

      WE GOT ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD…………………….tick tock….

    • Tony_Hall

      That is why Tim Wilken was brought in, to actually draft players with talent and develop them.

      Looking at our 40 man roster and the young guys that have come up over the last few years.

      Cashner, Coleman, Maine, Marmol, Marshall, Russell, Wells, Castillo, Chirinos, Soto, Barney, Castro, Colvin, Guyer

      Last year alone, we saw Cashner, Coleman, Maine, Russell, Castillo, Barney, Castro, and Colvin, come to the majors.

      Another year or 2 like that, and we will have a good young core, that when added to, with true difference makers from the FA and trade market, will lead to a competitive team for many years.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Nice post. And so we see that if we gave up a few prospects for Garza, most likely, we’d not be giving up much at all.

    • Tony_Hall

      Where do all the good players come from if they don’t come from prospects? Every All-Star, solid starter in the majors, good bench guy, was a prospect, before they made it at the major league level. A team can develop their own players and fill in with higher priced guys from other teams, or they can buy the majority of the positions, and fill in with the prospects. JH has been doing the later, how’s it been working for him?

  • Devin Hill

    None of these leadoff options are of any good. the best of the worst is probably castro. since because i prefer a leadoff hitter that can hit but also take pitches. castro probably wont have the power this year but should be able to become more selective as he adjust to the game

  • daverj

    Neil,

    The Reds signed Hermida and the Mets signed Capuano … there’s two guys I liked for us that are now off the table now. Any chance we pick up Milledge and/or Chris Carter?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Jeremy Hermida–let me tactfully ask the question: Who cares about him?
      2010 239 PA .216 BA/6 HR/ 29 RBI/ .268 OBP/.351 slugging. Just awful. And when you consider he’s 27, a RF, I say, gag a maggot.

      2009: 491 PA, 13 HR, 47 lousy RBI, .259 BA/.348 OBP/ .392 slugging. And no speed whatsoever.

      Funko is much better. And I don’t want Funko but for a reserve, platoon outfielder.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Lastings Milledge: Have you considered his (lack of) offensive production?
      Look at his stats . . . .

      2010
      412 PA/ 4 HR (Lousy!)/34 RBI (LOUSY!)/.277/.332 OBP/.380 slugging
      NO SPEED–5 SB, 3 CS. These are Mike Fontenot numbers–from your LF. Soriano is so much better . . . . .

      His best year, 2008, age 23, showed promise. He may be another one year wonder . . . . 2008 stats:

      587 PA/ 14 HR/ 61 RBI/.268 BA/ .330 OBP/ .402 slugging.
      24 SB/9 CS 73% success rate then . . ..

      Starlin Castro slugged .402 in 2010 for the ChiCubs.

      Sam Fuld could do these things . . . . .

      CHRIS CARTER: OF
      28 years old
      2010
      180 PA / 4 HR/ 24 RBI/ .263/ .317/ .389 slugging
      1 SB/ 2 CS

      Another LaHair/Synder/Hoffpauir. His Wins Against Replacement (by a AAA player) is 0.1, or in other words, in a 162 game schedule, he’d contribute 0.1 wins against another AAA player.

      Sad to say, not great. And remember, this is from an offensive position: LF and RF. If he were a SS, he’d be okay. But we have to have run producers in our OF to carry Blake DeWitt, Castro (not a run producer), and sadly, Marlon Byrd and Funko.

    • Ripsnorter1

      DavidF:
      I loved your post about the top Cubs’ prospects 1990-2009.

      Please forgive me if I wasn’t tactful enough about in my post about Jeremy Hermidia and Milledge. It flows out of my disgust that I can see that P.K. Ricketts’ plan is to gut the ChiCubs budget completely, and to fill the roster with minor league talent that will plummet the Cubs down into Pittsburgh Pirates territory. Please accept my apologies.

      • Anonymous

        Rip
        What makes you say Ricketts plan is to gut the Cubs Budget????
        There is no evidence that I have seen to back up such a statement.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The Cubs were looking at Capuano before he signed with the Mets as for Lastings Milledge and Chris Carter I have not heard of any interest … and with Milledge’s rep I doubt the Cubs will have any.

    • Tony_Hall

      Why? on all players

  • gocubs

    2012 World Series Champion Cubs…

    Lee SS
    Castro 2B
    Jackson CF
    Fielder 1B
    Ramirez 3B
    Soto C
    Soriano LF
    Colvin RF

  • sadowski

    Baseball America in a web chat with Jim Callis who specifically covers the Cubs have rated the Cubs organization 8th in the MLB in prospects.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Did they rate KC Royals #1?

      • sadowski

        They said the Royals would be number 1 and if we didnt have to graduate so many players to the big leagues last year that we could have been number 2. So there you go.

        • daverj

          The Royals system is unbelievable … no other team is even close. Now let’s see if it actually translates into major league results over the next 3-4 years.

          • Tony_Hall

            It probably won’t, because they don’t have the resources to fill in the roster, with difference makers from the FA and trade market.

          • sadowski

            The fruits of picking near number one every year for the last 10 or so!!! Similar to Tampa in some ways.

  • cubs1967

    JH is not the most clueless GM in baseball…………….that would be our former genuis GM……..Andy “the clown” MacPail……..who just gave $10M to Kevin “there’s a drive……wayyyyy back” Gregg plus $8M to DLee…..WTF??

    add in all the other Cubs greats he has signed recently……..scott moore, jason dubios, lou montanez, felix pie, corey patterson, rich hill………any wonder why the O’s have been in last foreverrrrrr………..or why the cubs continually suck!!

    • Ripsnorter1

      If you were an Orioles fan, you’d have to say, “Why would ANYBODY ON PLANET EARTH want to pick up all of the failed Cubs’ minor leaguers?” It is almost beyond belief. And yet, Andy “the CLown” Mac-Fail was the Cubs’ GM for years and years. Hahahahahahahahahaahaha.

  • nickbaird3491

    I’d say go with this until Jackson comes up in June or July.

    vs. RHP
    1 Fukudome RF
    2 Castro SS
    3 Soto C
    4 Pena 1B
    5 Ramirez 3B
    6 Soriano LF
    7 Byrd CF
    8 DeWitt 2B
    9 Pitcher

    1 Byrd CF
    2 Castro SS
    3 Soto C
    4 Pena 1B
    5 Ramirez 3B
    6 Colvin RF
    7 Soriano LF
    8 DeWitt 2B
    9 Pitcher

    you can switch Rami and Geo if ya want.

    vs. LHP
    1 Baker 2B
    2 Castro SS
    3 Byrd CF
    4 Ramirez 3B
    5 Soto C
    6 Pena 1B
    7 Soriano LF
    8 Colvin RF
    9 Pitcher

    • nickbaird3491

      Also: if Baker isn’t as good against LHP as he was last year, slide him down to 8 and put Byrd as the leadoff guy and move everyone up one spot.

      1 Byrd CF
      2 Castro SS
      3 Ramirez 3B
      4 Soto C
      5 Pena 1B
      6 Soriano LF
      7 Colvin RF
      8 Baker 2B
      9 Pitcher

      and once again, do whatever ya want with Rami and Geo.

  • IL4T1223

    CF Byrd
    SS Castro
    3B Ramirez
    1B Pena
    LF Colvin
    2B Soriano
    C Soto
    RF Fukudome

    I say this because Byrd has the best average in the lead-off spot. You need someone who can get on base and he has base stealing speed (if you let him loose). Castro is a free swinger and should not be in the lead-off spot. The biggest surprise is Soriano. He was an all-star second baseman with NYY and TEX and definitely his best years at the plate with AVG, HR, RBI, and SB. This allows Fukudome to play and makes room for Jackson when he gets called up Move Colvin to LF because he is a lefty and you want your glove hand closer to the foul line and plus Byrd played RF in the all-star game. Allow Colvin to get comfortable in LF for the arrival of Jackson.

    When Jackson gets called up:

    CF Jackson
    SS Castro
    RF Byrd
    3B Ramirez
    1B Pena
    LF Colvin
    2B Soriano
    C Soto

    • Tony_Hall

      Soriano was an All-Star HITTER, not an All-Star 2B. He was awful defensively at 2B, if you can imagine him struggling with the glove.

      • IL4T1223

        would you rather have him in the OF and have a cluster of OF’s or have him at 2B where he should be (where it is easier to catch a grounder than run down a fly ball and puts less stress on his knees) keep Baker as a UTIL and opens room for Jackson.

        • Tony_Hall

          I’d rather not have him, it is not easier to play 2B than LF and if Soriano needs to be on the field, LF is where it will be.

          Jackson’s spot is his, when he is ready, Marlon Byrd is not going to block him.

          • IL4T1223

            yes it is easier to play second than the outfield because I have played OF then had to go into INF and its easier than the OF and less stress on the knees .. which is good for him.

          • Tony_Hall

            That would be your opinion. Most everyone else, would say LF is WAY easier to play than 2B.

            When players get older, they move them from SS to 2B to 3B, and eventually to the OF. When moving to the OF, they usually go to LF, since it is the easiest position to play in the OF, and for that matter on the field.

          • paulcatanese

            Tony,you left one out. It goes from short to second to third and then….to first,preferably with your dugout on the first base side and a super quick second baseman and right fielder to back you up. In my opinion thats the way it went for me.If they put me me in the outfield I couldnt see home plate.You are right of course left field being the easiest of the outfield positions.,and as you say on the positions.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Highest OBP on team last year
    Soto .393 OBP 62 bb in 322 AB
    Fukodome .371 Obp 64bb in 358 Ab
    Castro .347 obp 34bb in 463 AB
    Byrd .346 Obp 31 bb in 580 AB
    DeWitt .336 Obp 47 bb in 440 AB
    Baker .326 OBP 16 BB in 206 AB
    Baker should never ever bat vs RHP he hit .106 last year
    VS. LHP.350/.395/.550
    DeWitt vs.RHP .263/.342/.377

    DeWitt vs.RHP Baker vs. LHP
    not ideal but
    - Byrd walked a total of 31 times in 580 AB
    -Castro needs to stay in the 2 hole where he excelled last year.
    -Soto needs to b in the 5 hole vs. RHP to take advantage of his power and discipline vs. Lhp the 3 hole cause Pena SUCKS! vs. LHP
    -Fukodome will be a 4th OF so he is out of the runnings.
    So thus then therefore-

    VS. LHP
    Baker
    Castro
    Soto
    Ramirez
    Byrd
    Soriano
    Colvin
    Pena

    Vs. RHP
    DeWitt
    Castro
    Pena
    Ramirez
    Soto
    Soriano
    Byrd
    Colvin

    I like Colvin a lot but he strikes out a lot and choked in a lot RBI situations and fell off at the end of the year. Until he proves he can hit somewhat in the clutch he bats 7th or 8th I feel. Soriano Hit better with RISP Last year and so did Byrd.

  • John_CC

    Looks like the Rockies just tied up CarGo for 7 years and 80M$. That could be a pretty awesome looking deal in 3 years, when he is all of 28 years old and in MVP voting. At just over 10M$ per, baring major injuries that looks like a sound deal to me. He is so much better than Crawford it isn’t even a fair comparison.

    • daverj

      He’s a stud. The D-Backs and A’s must be kicking themselves or dealing him.

      • Tony_Hall

        But he was just a prospect!

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          Brandon Guyer
          .344/.398/.588
          39-2B 6-3B 13-hr 30 of 33 in sb attempts 58 rbi
          in 102 games at AA Last Year Age 24!
          He Can Play all three outfield spots!
          IF a Big IF! If Guyer,Colvin and Jackson do well this year, We could trade Byrd and make Soriano a 4th OF his Last 2 Years. We would have 3 starting OF that can play all 3 OF spots. 2 with great speed and one with good speed (Colvin). All 3 with decent power!

        • daverj

          LOL … I knew that was coming from you Tony as soon as I typed it! Nice comeback!

  • cubsklm

    What is Don Kessinger doing these days? He may still have a little gas in the tank at leadoff. Yes, bring up Jackson to play CF and lead him off. NO PRESSURE there. Welcome to the big leagues, son. Seriously, bat freakin Soriano lead off. 2011 is going to be a long year, what can it hurt. We’ve seen it before. I really don’t like the idea of Baker/DeWitt leading off

    1.) Soriano LF
    2.) Castro SS
    3.) Byrd CF
    4.) Pena 1B
    5.) Ramirez 3B
    6.) Colvin RF
    7.) Soto C
    8.) DeWitt/Baker 2B

  • Layedbak1

    Who really cares who will lead off for the flubs anyway. Have been a suffering fan for decades and it never changes. They didn’t sign any free agents except one they cut twice, kerry “old man” Woods and some no name players. I see the new billionaire owners seem to have spent all there money on purchasing the team and don’t seem to have any money left to improve it with new players. What a joke they are….one wonders why they bothered buying the franchise when it would stretch there finances so much. Glad I moved out of state so I won’t be tempted to watch and suffer again this year.