27-year old lefty swingers Ian Stewart and Luis Valbuena will duke it out for the starting 3B job this spring. Stewart played in 55 games for the Cubs last year and he was 36 of 179 (.201 avg, .627 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 5 homers and 17 RBIs. He played in 52 games (49 starts) last year at 3B for the Cubs and he had 5 errors while showing poor range. Stewart has now played in 487 games in his first six years in the majors and he is 329 of 1,421 (.232 avg, .736 OPS) with 194 runs scored, 59 homers, 204 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. The Cubs probably want Stewart to win the job because of his power potential. Valbuena played in 90 games for the Cubs last year and he was 58 of 265 (.219 avg, .650 OPS) with 26 runs scored, 4 homers and 28 RBIs. He played in 82 games (72 starts) for the Cubs at 3B last year and he had 7 errors while showing good range. He has now played in 319 games in his first five years in the majors and he is 224 of 1,000 (.224 avg, .635 OPS) with 110 runs scored, 17 homers, 85 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. 23-year old righty swinging Josh Vitters was overwhelmed last year in his first taste of the majors. He played in 36 games for the Cubs last year and he was 12 of 99 (.121 avg, .395 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 2 homers, 5 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He played in 29 games (24 starts) at 3B for the Cubs last year and he had 4 errors while showing pretty poor range there. He also played in 110 games in AAA-ball last year and he was 126 of 415 (.304 avg, .869 OPS) with 54 runs scored, 17 homers, 68 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. 29-year old righty swinging Brent Lillibridge might make the team as a backup. He played in 18 games (15 starts) last year at 3B and he had 1 error there while showing slightly below average range.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE THIRD BASEMEN IN 2013: D