Aramis Ramirez turning into a dominant force for the Cubs

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 27 February 2007 at 3:52 pm

28 year old Aramis Ramirez has been outstanding for the Cubs since arriving from the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 23, 2003.  Last season he played in 157 games and scored 93 runs, whacked 38 homers, drove in 119 runs and had a .912 OPS.  Ramirez has improved a little bit on defense as he only made 13 errors in 156 games at 3B last season.  Look for Ramirez to continue ripping the baseball as he has averaged 88 runs scored, 35 homers, 104.7 RBIs and a .304 batting average in his three full seasons for the Cubs.

33 year old Tomas Perez will likely be the back up 3B for the Cubs this season.  He’s not much of a hitter but he’s a really good defensive third baseman.  He played in 40 games there and only made 2 errors while showing outstanding range.

23 year old lefty swinging Scott Moore will battle for a back up job on the Cubs.  He’ll more than likely start the season at AAA and be insurance for the Cubs in case Ramirez gets injured.  Moore played in 133 games in the minors and he hit .276 with 22 homers, 75 RBIs and 12 steals.  He got a cup of coffee with the Cubs last September as he played in 16 games and hit .263 with 2 homers.  Moore will need to work on his defense as he doesn’t have a lot of range.

Will the trade of Greg Maddux last season pay off this year for the Cubs?

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 27 February 2007 at 1:16 pm

Instead of trading Maddux for a prospect the Cubs decided to try to fill a hole on their team and acquired Cesar Izturis from the Dodgers.  Any offense that the 27 year old shortstop can give them will be a bonus as he’s a pretty slick defender.  He won a Gold Glove in 2004 for the Dodgers.  Izturis only made 2 errors in 23 games at shortstop and he showed above average range.  The question is, what will the switch hitting Izturis give the Cubs on offense?  He played in 54 games last season and he hit .245 with one homer, 18 RBIs and a .613 OPS.  I think he will hit in the .250-.260 range and he might steal some bases.  The Cubs would be content with that from him.

24 year old Ronny Cedeno will battle for a reserve infield spot on the Cubs.  He disappointed them big time last season after they handed him a starting job.  He played in 151 games last season and he hit .245 with 6 homers, 41 RBIs, 8 stolen bases and a .610 OPS.  Cedeno didn’t show much range in the field and he made 23 errors which is way too many in 134 games at shortstop.  It’s possible that Cedeno could start the year in the minors.

33 year old Tomas Perez will battle Cedeno for the back up job at shortstop for the Cubs this season.  The switch hitter didn’t have too good of a season for the Devil Rays in 2006 as he hit .212 with 2 homers, 16 RBIs and a .510 OPS in 99 games.  Perez played 36 games at shortstop for the D-Rays and he 5 errors but he showed good range.  He will need to cut down on his errors a little bit and improve his defense to win a job on the Cubs.

Mark DeRosa to be full time starter at 2B

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Sunday 18 February 2007 at 9:41 am

Mark DeRosa had a great season for the Rangers last year in his first season as a starting player.  He hit .296 with a .812 OPS, 13 homers and 74 RBIs in 520 at bats.  It did seem as if DeRosa started to wear down late in the season and that’s entirely possible as he had never batted more that 309 times in his 9 year major league career until last season.  The 32 year old’s best defensive position is 2B as he only made 1 error there in 222.2 innings and showed good range.  DeRosa was a nice pick up for the Cubs.

27 year old Ryan Theriot played very well for the Cubs last season as he hit .328 with a .934 OPS in only 134 at bats.  He also stole 13 bases!  Those numbers look great, but, the OPS wouldn’t sustain in the majors as he has exhibited no power in the minors and he’s not a good defensive 2B.  His offense will be the reason he makes the Cubs if he can beat out Ronny Cedeno and Tomas Perez for a bench spot.

The Chicago Cubs make a trade with the Devil Rays

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Wednesday 14 February 2007 at 12:24 am

The Cubs traded 23 year old starting pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu to the Devil Rays for 23 year old starting pitcher Greg Reinhard and 20 year old outfielder Andy Lopez.  With all the pitchers that the Cubs have brought in plus the fact that they have a lot of pitchers ahead of Ryu on the depth chart, this trade made sense for them to make.  Reinhard was 6-10 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP last season in A-ball.  Andy Lopez played in rookie ball last season and he hit .256 with 4 homers, 27 RBIs and a .758 OPS in 199 at bats.

The return of Derrek Lee will spur the Cubs

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Saturday 10 February 2007 at 2:49 pm

31 year old Derrek Lee had a lost season last year.  He broke his wrist in the middle of April and missed a lot of time last year and when he returned he looked rusty both offensively and defensively.  He only batted 175 times last season and hit .286 with 8 homers and 30 RBIs.  He also made 5 errors in only 393.2 innings in the field which isn’t like him.  Look for Lee to rebound big time on offense and get close to his two year average of 2004-2005 with the Cubs.  He hit .306 in those seasons combined and averaged 105 runs, 39 homers, 102.5 RBIs and 13.5 steals.  With the new talent the Cubs have brought in Lee will have no problem putting up numbers like he did in 2004-2005.  Also look for him to return to his Gold Glove caliber defense which will help the whole infield.

If something happens to Lee the Cubs would either play Cliff Floyd or Daryle Ward at first base.  Both can hit, but they would be a huge step down on the defensive side of the field.

Attack of the Billy Goat…

Blogged under Front Page by squarebettor on Tuesday 6 February 2007 at 9:36 pm

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Does anyone think this year will be any different?

Chicago Cubs Catchers

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Tuesday 6 February 2007 at 3:39 pm

30 year old Michael Barrett will be the starting catcher again for the Cubs this season.  He’s a very good hitter as he hit .307 with a .885 OPS last season for the Cubs and his power numbers (16 homers, 53 RBIs) would have been much better if he hadn’t missed the final month of the season.  The reason his missed September is because he was nailed in the balls by a foul tip that caused him to have some internal bleeding in the region…..OUCH!  Lucky for Barrett that he’s such a good hitter because he’s not a good defensive catcher.  Last season he made 5 errors, had 10 passed balls and only threw out 15% of base runners that attempted to steal on him.

35 year old Henry Blanco will be the back up catcher for the Cubs this season.  He had one of his best seasons last year as he hit .266 with 6 homers and a .723 OPS.  He does have power but his average will probably go back down some because he won’t get to play as much as he did last season unless Barrett gets hurt again.  Blanco is a fantastic catcher defensively.  He only made 1 error and only allowed two passed balls all season.  He also has a bazooka attached to his right shoulder as he threw out 38% of the runners that tried to steal on him.

24 year old Geovany Soto is just waiting for a chance.  He played 108 games in AAA for the Cubs and hit .272 with 6 homers and 38 RBIs with an OPS of .739.  He will be the likely first catcher to get a chance for the Cubs if Barrett or Blanco get hurt.

28 year old Koyie Hill will be in the minors waiting for another shot at the majors, but he’ll definately will have to play better than he did last season.  Hill played in only 20 games in AAA for the Yankees and hit only .143 with a .412 OPS.  Hill has played in 50 games in his major league career and has an average of .231 with a .619 OPS.

New Faces for 2007

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by High Heat on Friday 2 February 2007 at 11:19 pm

The Cubs are going for it all this season as they opened up the vault and emptied it on a bunch of really good baseball players.  The Cubs signed the best free-agent of the whole off-season when they got Alfonso Soriano to sign on the dotted line.  He will likely be the starting center fielder for the Cubs.  Soriano is an awesome offensive player that has averaged 99.3 runs scored, 36.7 homers, 96.7 RBIs and 29.7 steals over the last three seasons.  Last year he was a 40/40 man as he hit 46 homers and stole 41 bases.  The most amazing thing about Soriano’s numbers is he has done most of his damage as a leadoff hitter!  Mark DeRosa has been signed to start at second base for the Cubs and he had a fine season for the Rangers last year.  He hit .296 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs.  He didn’t finish the season well and last year was the first one in his career that he batted over 309 times.  Cliff Floyd was signed to likely play left field.  Floyd only hit .244 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs for the Mets last season, but he hit 34 homers and knocked in 98 runs for the Mets in 2005.  He will either split time with youun Matt Murton or he will be him out for a full time job.  Daryle Ward was brought in to give the Cubs a powerful left-handed bat off the bench.  He hit .308 with a .926 OPS last season for the Nationals & Braves.  Versatile reserve infielder Tomas Perez and catcher Koyie Hill were brought in to battle for back up jobs. 

The Cubs spent a lot of money on starting pitching but it’s hard to tell how wise they were.  The Cubs paid a king’s ransom for lefty starter Ted Lilly.  Lilly was 15-13 last season with a 4.31 ERA and a very high 1.43 WHIP.  Lilly has never been anything more than an average starting pitcher in the major leagues so it doesn’t seem likely that the Cubs will get their money’s worth.  But Lilly is a much better pitcher than the other guy the Cubs signed for the rotation!  Jason Marquis was given a lot of money by the Cubs and I can’t figure out why they did it.  Marquis is a workhorse and he gives you a lot of innings (201 avg. over last three years) but he was downright awful last season with a 6.02 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.  He is 42-37 over the last three seasons with the Cardinals and it’s possible that Marquis will enjoy good run support by the Cubs, but that’s a lot of money to invest on a shaky pitcher.  The Cubs also acquired Neil Cotts in a trade with the White Sox.  Cotts was 1-2 with 1 save and a 5.17 ERA last year, but he was 4-0 with a 1.94 ERA in 2005 and that’s the Cotts the Cubs hope they’re getting.

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