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Chicago Cubs MLB News - Cubs Baseball Blog » 2011 » February

The Chicago Cubs are excited about Starlin Castro

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Sunday 27 February 2011 at 4:15 pm

20-year old righty swinging shortstop Starlin Castro showed he could handle major league pitchers last season. He played in 125 games for the Cubs last season and he was 139 of 463 (.300 avg, .755 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 3 homers, 41 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Castro has the speed to steal more bases than he did last season and he will if he hits around .300 again in 2011. Castro made 27 errors in 123 games at SS for the Cubs last season while showing slightly above average range. The Cubs are hoping that Castro will start to show improvement defensively this season. Castro will give the Cubs a good building block for the future.

36-year old switch hitting Augie Ojeda will have a good shot of winning a backup job for the Cubs as he is a natural SS. Ojeda played in 59 games for the Diamondbacks last season and he was 15 of 79 (.190 avg, .486 OPS) with 6 runs scored and 5 RBIs. He has played in 502 games in his first 9 years in the majors and he has a .234 average with a .633 OPS, so he’s a little better hitter than he showed last year….but that’s not saying much. Ojeda didn’t make any errors in 9 games at SS last season but he showed pathetic range.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS SS IN 2011: B

The Chicago Cubs hope for improvement at 2B in 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 16 February 2011 at 9:08 pm

I can see the Cubs deciding to platoon at 2B in 2011 with Blake DeWitt going against righties and Jeff Baker against lefties. 25-year old lefty swinging Blake DeWitt played in 135 games for the Dodgers & Cubs last season and he was 115 of 440 (.261 avg, .709 OPS) with 47 runs scored, 5 homers, 52 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. DeWitt had 12 errors in 126 games at 2B last season while showing good range. DeWitt just doesn’t look like an everyday player to me and I kind of doubt that the Cubs look at him like he is one. But, DeWitt could be a decent player as part of a platoon.

29-year old righty swinging Jeff Baker is a solid hitter. He played in 79 games for the Cubs last season and he was 56 of 206 (.272 avg, .739 OPS) with 29 runs scored, 4 homers, 21 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Baker didn’t make any errors in 26 games at 2B last season for the Cubs while showing excellent range. If the Cubs opened up the competition for the starting job at 2B, I think Baker would win it as he’s a better all around player than Blake DeWitt is.

25-year old righty swinging Darwin Barney got a cup of coffee with the Cubs last year. He played in 30 games for the Cubs last season and he was 19 of 79 (.241 avg, .585 OPS) with 12 runs scored, 0 homers and 2 RBIs. He made 2 errors in 10 games at 2B for the Cubs last season while showing excellent range. Barney also played in 114 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 143 of 479 (.299 avg, .711 OPS) with 72 runs scored, 2 homers, 49 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Unless Blake DeWitt or Jeff Baker get injured, Barney is going to start 2011 in the minors.

27-year old lefty swinging Scott Moore is back with the Cubs and he will try to earn a job on the bench this spring. Moore played in 41 games for the Orioles last season and he was 18 of 86 (.209 avg, .611 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He made 2 errors in 22 games at 2B last season while showing good range. Moore can also handle 1B and 3B defensively which gives him the versatility to make the Cubs in 2011 with a strong spring.

33-year old switch hitting Bobby Scales played in 10 games for the Cubs last season and he was 4 of 13 (.308 avg, .858 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 2 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Scales made 3 errors in 7 games at 2B last season while showing awful range. Scales also played in 119 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 100 of 373 (.268 avg, .850 OPS) with 68 runs scored, 10 homers, 53 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. I see Scales starting the 2011 season in AAA unless he has a huge spring.

36-year old switch hitting Augie Ojeda can handle playing shortstop also which gives him an edge to be the Cubs second bench infielder in 2011. He played in 15 error-free games at 2B for the D-Backs last season while showing terrible range. Ojeda isn’t much of a hitter either.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS 2B IN 2011: C-

The Chicago Cubs acquire Robert Coello from the Red Sox

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page, General by chinmusic on Wednesday 16 February 2011 at 5:46 pm

The Cubs have acquired 25-year old righty reliever/starter Robert Coello from the Boston Red Sox for 24-year old righty swinging 2B Tony Thomas. Coello pitched in 6 games (0 starts) in his first taste of the majors last season for the Red Sox and he was 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. He also pitched in 32 games (13 starts) in AA+AAA-ball in which he was 7-6 with 1 save, a 3.86 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Coello only gave up 82 hits in 107 1/3 innings in the minors last season and he whiffed 130 batters showing just how nasty he can be when he is on. The Cubs will give Coello a chance to win a job in their bullpen this spring. Tony Thomas played in 116 games in AA-ball for the Cubs last season and he was 111 of 402 (.276 avg, .823 OPS) with 67 runs scored, 11 homers, 73 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. I love this deal for the Cubs as Coello has a much higher upside than Thomas does.

The Chicago Cubs are betting on a rebound from Carlos Pena in 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 8 February 2011 at 9:17 am

32-year old lefty swinging Carlos Pena will be taking over as the starting 1B for the Cubs in 2011. He played in 144 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season and he was 95 of 484 (.196 avg, .732 OPS) with 64 runs scored, 28 homers, 84 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Pena also whiffed 158 times while walking 87 times last season. In his 10 years in the majors, Pena has a .241 batting average with a .841 OPS so the Cubs are expecting him to rebound batting average wise in 2011. Over his last four seasons, Pena has averaged 82.5 runs scored, 36.0 homers and 101.8 RBIs per year. Pena also brings a very solid mitt to 1B as he is even better than Derek Lee, so the rest of the infield will be happy to have him on the team.

28-year old lefty Bryan LaHair will probably start the year in AAA-ball and get a call to the show if something happens to Carlos Pena. LaHair played in 125 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 130 of 422 (.308 avg, .942 OPS) with 71 runs scored, 25 homers, 81 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. LaHair’s major league experience all came in 2008 with the Mariners. He played in 45 games for the Mariners in 2008 and he was 34 of 136 (.250 avg, .661 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 3 homers and 10 RBIs.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS 1B IN 2011: B

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