The first season of the Theo Epstein regime did not go too well for the Cubbies. The Cubs finished with a 61-101 (37.7%) record, which had them in 5th place in the N.L. Central, 36 games behind the Reds. Here is a look at the players that made the biggest impacts for the Cubs in 2012, in my opinion:
Team MVP: Alfonso Soriano - 36-year old righty swinging LF Alfonso Soriano’s name kept coming up in trade rumors, but he didn’t let that effect his play on the field. Soriano played in 151 games for the Cubs last year and he was 147 of 561 (.262 avg, .821 OPS) with 68 runs scored, 32 homers, 108 RBIs and 6 stolen bases.
Best Pitcher: Jeff Samardzija - 27-year old righty starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija was the best pitcher on the Cubs (Ryan Dempster was dealt and that is why his name is not here) in 2012. He started 28 games for the Cubs last year and he was 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He only gave up 157 hits and 56 walks while whiffing 180 batters in 174 2/3 innings last year which are pretty impressive numbers.
Biggest Surprise: Anthony Rizzo - 23-year old lefty swinging Anthony Rizzo tore it up so much in the minors, that he bumped All-Star Bryan LaHair to the bench. Rizzo played in 87 games for the Cubs last year and he was 96 of 337 (.285 avg, .805 OPS) with 44 runs scored, 15 homers, 48 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He appears to have a very bright future.
Biggest Disappointment: Chris Volstad - The Cubs expected 26-year old righty starting pitcher Chris Volstad to replace the man he was traded for (Carlos Zambrano) in the rotation. But, he was a disaster. Volstad started 21 games for the Cubs last year and he was 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Volstad gave up 137 hits and 43 walks while whiffing only 61 batters in 111 1/3 innings last year……and that was pathetic!