The Chicago Cubs are going to have a new look at 1B in 2012

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 28 February 2012 at 5:11 pm

The Chicago Cubs are likely going to use a platoon at 1B in 2012 with Bryan LaHair starting against righties and Jeff Baker starting against righties. 29-year old lefty swinging Bryan LaHair played in 20 games for the Cubs last year and he was 17 for 59 (.288 avg, .885 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 2 homers and 6 RBIs. He also played in 129 games in AAA-ball last year and he was 151 of 456 (.331 avg, 1.070 OPS) with 91 runs scored, 38 homers, 109 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. LaHair has now played in 65 games in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 51 for 195 (.262 avg, .730 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 5 homers and 16 RBIs. LaHair didn’t make any errors in 4 games at 1B last year for the Cubs. The Cubs are going to give Bryan LaHair his first real shot at P.T. in the majors in 2012.

30-year old righty swinging Jeff Baker can also play 2B and 3B. He’s likely to focus more on 1B in 2012 for the Cubs. Baker played in 81 games for the Cubs last year and he was 54 for 201 (.269 avg, .685 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 3 homers and 23 RBIs. He has now played in 229 games in his first three years for the Cubbies and he is 172 of 610 (.282 avg, .745 OPS) with 76 runs scored, 11 homers, 65 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Baker has now played in 460 games in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 316 of 1,171 (.270 avg, .758 OPS) with 167 runs scored, 33 homers, 153 RBIs and 8 stolen bases. Baker didn’t make any errors in 19 games at 1B for the Cubs last year as he is a pretty solid defender.

The Cubs traded for 22-year old lefty swinging Anthony Rizzo, who was the Padres’ #1 prospect heading into this season according to Baseball America. Rizzo was overmatched against major league pitching last year. He played in 22 games for the Padres last year and he was 18 for 128 (.141 avg, .523 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 1 homer, 9 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Rizzo whiffed a stunningly awful 46 times last season in the majors as pitchers were toying with him. Rizzo also played in 93 games in AAA-ball for the Padres last year and he was 118 for 356 (.331 avg, 1.056 OPS) with 64 runs scored, 26 homers, 101 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Rizzo had 2 errors in 45 games at 1B for the Padres last year. The Cubs are likely going to have Rizzo start the 2012 season in AAA-ball unless he has a huge spring.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 1B IN 2012: C-

The Chicago Cubs hope the good Geovany Soto shows up in 2012

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Saturday 25 February 2012 at 4:20 pm

The Chicago Cubs hope that the “good” version of 29-year old righty swinging catcher Geovany Soto shows up in 2012. Soto is maddening inconsistent with the bat in his hands. He played in 125 games for the Cubs last year and he was 96 for 421 (.228 avg, .721 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 17 homers and 54 RBIs. Soto has now played in 503 games in his first seven years in the majors and he is 425 of 1,648 (.258 avg, .803 OPS) with 199 runs scored, 71 homers, 250 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He played in 122 games behind the plate for the Cubs last year and he made 13 errors and had 5 passed balls. He also threw out 30 of 121 (24.8%) base stealers and Cubs’ pitchers had a 4.31 ERA with him behind the dish. The Cubs need Soto to step up with the bat and to tighten up his D a little bit as 13 errors is pathetic for a catcher.

29-year old righty swinging Jason Jaramillo is going to try to beat out 25-year old lefty swinging Steve Clevenger for the backup catcher job this spring. Jaramillo played in 23 games for the Pirates last year and he was 14 for 43 (.326 avg, .751 OPS) with 1 run scored, 6 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has now played in 119 games in his first three years in the majors and he is 79 for 336 (.235 avg, .621 OPS) with 23 runs scored, 4 homers, 38 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Jaramillo did not make any errors or have any passed balls last year in 14 games behind the plate for the Pirates. He also threw out 1 of 6 (16.7%) base stealers and Pirates’ pitchers had a 3.79 ERA with him behind the dish.

25-year old lefty swinging Steve Clevenger comes into this spring as the Cubs’ #21 prospect according to Baseball America. He played in 2 games for the Cubs last year and he was 1 for 4 (.250 avg, .900 OPS) with 1 run scored. Clevenger also played in 120 games in AA+AAA-ball last year in which he was 127 of 398 (.319 avg, .857 OPS) with 51 runs scored, 8 homers, 54 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Clevenger didn’t have any errors or passed balls last year in 2 games behind the dish for the Cubbies. He was 0 for 1 throwing out base stealers and Cubs’ pitchers had a 4.50 ERA with him behind the dish. Clevenger appears to have a bright future and it could start this spring if he can beat out Jason Jaramillo.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CATCHERS IN 2012: C+

The Chicago Cubs send Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Tuesday 21 February 2012 at 1:32 pm

The Cubs have sent 26-year old righty reliever Chris Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Red Sox for a player to be named later to complete the compensation for ex-Red Sox’ GM Theo Epstein. Carpenter pitched in 10 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP. He also pitched in 32 games (0 starts) in AA+AAA-ball last year and he was 3-4 with 2 saves, a 5.91 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Carpenter was going to have a good shot of making the Cubs’ bullpen in 2012, but it’s still a fair deal for both teams.

The Chicago Cubs are going to need some guys to step up in the pen in 2012

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 20 February 2012 at 12:52 pm

The Cubs really need some relievers to step up in the bullpen in 2012. Rodrigo Lopez and Andy Sonnanstine are going to compete for jobs in the starting rotation, but if they lose out, they will likely try to help bolster the Cubs’ pen in 2012. Here is a look at the Cubs’ bullpen for 2012 as of right now:

Closer: Carlos Marmol: It’s brutal being a Cubs’ fan sometimes when 29-year old righty Carlos Marmol is on the hill. He has outstanding and dominant stuff, but he sometimes has no control….which gets him in a lot of pickles. Marmol pitched in 75 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 2-6 with 34 saves, a 4.01 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. He has now pitched in 391 games (13 starts) in his first six years with the Cubs and he is 18-25 with 95 saves, a 3.37 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Marmol has only given up 289 hits while whiffing 599 batters in his first 459 1/3 innings, as he is outright dominating at times, but he has also walked 300 batters and that is way too many. Look for Marmol to keep games interesting in the 9th inning for the Cubs once again in 2012.

Set-Up Man: Kerry Wood: 34-year old righty Kerry Wood re-signed with Cubs for 2012. He will likely serve as the Cubs’ set-up man this year. Wood pitched in 55 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 3-5 with 1 save, a 3.35 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Wood has now pitched in 331 games (178 starts) in his first 11 years with the Cubbies and he is 80-66 with 35 saves, a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Wood has now pitched in 436 games (178 starts) in his first 13 years in the majors and he is 86-73 with 63 saves, a 3.64 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Wood is going to do a good job for the 2012 as long as he can stay healthy.

Righties: Jeff Samardzija: 27-year old Jeff Samardzija had a breakout year for the Cubs in 2011. He pitched in 75 games (0 starts) for the Cubs in 2011 and he was 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Samardzija has now pitched in 128 games (5 starts) in his first five years with the Cubs and he is 12-9 with 1 save, a 4.40 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Cubs hope that 2011 wasn’t a mirage but a sign of things to come for Jeff Samardzija.

Marcos Mateo: 27-year old Marcos Mateo pitched in 23 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. He has now pitched in 44 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 1-3 with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Mateo will likely make the Cubs’ bullpen out of spring training, but, he’s going to have to pitch much better than he did last year to keep the job.

Chris Carpenter: 26-year old Chris Carpenter pitched in 10 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP. Carpenter also pitched in 32 games (0 starts) in AA+AAA-ball last year and he was 3-4 with 2 saves, a 5.91 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Chris Carpenter is going to have to pitch really well this spring if he’s going to win a job in the Cubs’ pen in 2012.

Manny Corpas: 29-year old Manny Corpas missed all of last season while he was recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He last pitched in the majors back in 2010 with the Rockies. Corpas has pitched in 280 games (0 starts) in his first five years in the majors and he is 12-16 with 34 saves, a 3.93 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. If Corpas is healthy, he is not only going to make the Cubs’ bullpen, but he will likely be pitching late in games.

Casey Weathers: 26-year old Casey Weathers came to the Cubs in a deal with the Rockies over the winter. He pitched in 44 games (0 starts) in AA-ball and he was 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. He has now pitched in 132 games (0 starts) in his first four years in the minors and he is 4-5 with 8 saves, a 4.20 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Weathers is a longshot to make the Cubs’ pen this spring.

Lefties: Trever Miller: 38-year old Trever Miller is a situational lefty and little more. He pitched in 48 games (0 starts) for the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Cardinals last year and he was 0-1 with 1 save, a 3.80 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. Miller has now pitched in 694 games (5 starts) in his first 13 years in the majors and he is 18-17 with 11 saves, a 4.18 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. He is very likely to be in the Cubs’ bullpen when the 2012 season begins.

James Russell: 26-year old James Russell finally started to show some improvement last year. He pitched in 64 games (5 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 1-6 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Russell has now pitched in 121 games (5 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 2-7 with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. The Cubs hope that Russell improves in 2012.

Scott Maine: 27-year old Scott Maine had a rough time last year for the Cubs. He pitched in 7 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 10.29 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP. Maine has now pitched in 20 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 0-0 with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Maine will likely start the 2012 season in AAA.

John Gaub: 26-year old Jon Gaub pitched in 4 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He also pitched in 50 games (0 starts) in AAA-ball last year and he was 4-4 with 7 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Gaub will also likely start the 2012 season in AAA-ball for the Cubs.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BULLPEN IN 2012: C-

The Chicago Cubs release Robinson Lopez

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Wednesday 15 February 2012 at 4:30 pm

The Cubs have released 20-year old righty reliever/starter Robinson Lopez. Lopez pitched in 26 games (4 starts) in A-ball last year and he was 4-3 with 1 save, a 5.35 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. He has now pitched in 65 games (30 starts) in his first three years in the minors and he is 11-12 with 1 save, a 4.78 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. The Cubs just grew impatient with Lopez, who will likely hook up with another team soon.

The Chicago Cubs DFA Blake DeWitt

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Monday 6 February 2012 at 7:42 pm

The Chicago Cubs have designated 26-year old lefty swinging infielder Blake DeWitt for assignment. DeWitt played in 121 games for the Cubs last year and he was 61 for 230 (.265 avg, .718 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 5 homers, 26 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He played in 174 games in two years for the Cubs and he was 107 of 414 (.258 avg, .705 OPS) with 39 runs scored, 9 homers, 48 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. DeWitt has now played in 404 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 283 of 1,087 (.260 avg, .714 OPS) with 117 runs scored, 21 homers, 134 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. The Cubs needed DeWitt’s roster spot for Adrian Cardenas, who has claimed off waivers by the A’s. The Cubs are likely going to trade DeWitt rather than losing him for nothing on waivers.

UPDATE: (2/17/2012) – Blake DeWitt cleared waivers and he accepted an outright assignment to AAA. He will come to spring training as a non-roster player trying to win a spot on the team.

The Chicago Cubs claim Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the A’s

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Monday 6 February 2012 at 7:37 pm

The Cubs have claimed 24-year old lefty swinging 2B/3B/OF Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the A’s. He played in 127 games in AAA-ball for the A’s last year and he was 154 of 491 (.314 avg, .791 OPS) with 70 runs scored, 5 homers, 51 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Cardenas has now played in 643 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 749 for 2,475 (.303 avg, .780 OPS) with 374 runs scored, 29 homers, 323 RBIs and 77 stolen bases. Cardenas is going to have a good shot of making the Cubs’ roster this spring as he is versatile and he hits for a high average.

The Chicago Cubs sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Friday 3 February 2012 at 8:44 am

The Cubs have signed 29-year old lefty starter/reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal. Rowland-Smith pitched in 24 games (21 starts) in Rookie+AAA-ball last year and he was 2-11 with 1 save, a 5.90 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. He last pitched in the majors back in 2010 with the Mariners. Rowland-Smith has now pitched in 115 games (47 starts) in his first four years in the majors and he is 12-17 with 2 saves, a 4.57 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He will likely start the 2012 season in AAA-ball, but he could get a call from the Cubs at some point this year.

The Chicago Cubs look deep in the starting rotation for 2012

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 2 February 2012 at 9:10 pm

The Chicago Cubs are going to have a lot of competition for the #5 spot in the starting rotation and that’s a good thing. Here is a look at the Cubs starting rotation as of right now:

#1: Matt Garza: 28-year old righty Matt Garza’s name has been bandied around in trade talks all winter long but he is still with the Cubs, for now. Garza pitched in 31 games (all starts) in his first year for the Cubs and he was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 2011. The offense and bullpen conspired to make him a .500 pitcher, even though he deserved much better than that. Garza has now pitched in 152 games (149 starts) in his first six years in the majors and he is 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. If Garza is on the Cubs’ on Opening Day, he will be starting that game as he is the new ace of the starting rotation.

#2: Ryan Dempster: 34-year old righty Ryan Dempster had an off-year in 2011 for the Cubs. He pitched in 34 games (all starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. Dempster has now pitched in 358 games (138 starts) in his first 8 years with the Cubs and he is 62-61 with 87 saves, a 3.88 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He has now pitched in 519 games (294 starts) in his first 14 years in the majors and he is 112-116 with 87 saves, a 4.41 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. The Cubs are hoping for a bounce back year in 2012 out of Dempster.

#3: Paul Maholm: 29-year old lefty Paul Maholm will be #3 in line for the Cubs in the starting rotation. Maholm pitched in 26 games (all starts) for the Pirates last year and he was 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He has now pitched in 185 games (all starts) in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. The Cubs are hoping that all of the losing Maholm has done in his career so far won’t bother him in 2012, because he’s actually a pretty decent pitcher.

#4 and #5: Travis Wood: 24-year old lefty Travis Wood came over from the Reds in the Sean Marshall trade. That will give him an inside track to one of the last two slots in the Cubs’ starting rotation. He pitched in 22 games (18 starts) for the Reds last year and he was 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Wood has now pitched in 39 games (35 starts) in his first two years in the majors and he is 11-10 with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He has a very nice upside and a bright future for the Cubbies.

Randy Wells: 29-year old righty Randy Wells is going to have a fight on his hands if he wants to remain in the starting rotation. Wells pitched in 23 games (all starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 7-6 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He has now pitched in 85 games (82 starts) in his first four years with the Cubs and he is 27-30 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Wells better come to spring training focused and motivated if he wants to win a starting job.

Chris Volstad: 25-year old righty Chris Volstad was acquired from the Marlins in the Carlos Zambrano deal over the winter. Volstad pitched in 29 games (all starts) for the Marlins last year and he was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He has now pitched in 103 games (102 starts) in his first four years in the majors and he is 32-39 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Volstad will need to bring his A-Game if he wants to win a job in the rotation this spring.

Rodrigo Lopez: The Cubs re-signed 36-year old righty Rodrigo Lopez over the winter. He pitched in 26 games (16 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 6-6 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Lopez has now pitched in 253 games (215 starts) in his first 10 years in the majors and he is 81-88 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Lopez will likely be the Cubs’ long man in the bullpen if he loses out on a rotation spot.

Andy Sonnanstine: 28-year old righty Andy Sonnanstine will be a longshot to win a job in the Cubs’ rotation in 2012. He pitched in 15 games (4 starts) for the Tampa Bay Rays last year and he was 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Sonnanstine has now pitched in 132 games (80 starts) in his first five years in the majors and he is 28-31 with 1 save, a 5.26 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Sonnanstine will benefit from pitching in the National League in 2012.

Casey Coleman: 24-year old righty Casey Coleman had a rough go in 2011 with the Cubs. He pitched in 19 games (17 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 3-9 with a 6.40 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. Coleman has now pitched in 31 games (25 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Coleman will likely start the 2012 season in AAA-ball and have to work his way back to the show by pitching well there.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE STARTING ROTATION IN 2012: C

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