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Chicago Cubs MLB News - Cubs Baseball Blog » Positional Preview for Season

The Chicago Cubs hope that Dale Sveum can coax better results out of his team in 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Tuesday 19 March 2013 at 4:55 pm

The Cubs hope that 49-year old manager Dale Sveum can get better results in 2013.  The Cubs were only 61-101 (37.7%) in 2012, but they were clearly in a rebuilding year.  Sveum is now 68-106 (39.1%) in his first two years in the majors as a manager.  The Cubs’ front office did get Sveum more pitching for the 2013 season, but he’s going to be going into most nights a little out-manned.  It’s way too early to tell if Sveum is going to be a good manager or not, as rebuilding the Cubs is going to take some time and patience.

The Chicago Cubs have a lot of experience in the bullpen for 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Saturday 9 March 2013 at 6:39 pm

The Cubs won’t likely have too many youngsters in their bullpen in 2013.  30-year old righty Carlos Marmol will be the closer when the 2013 season opens.  He pitched in 61 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 3-3 with 20 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 452 games (13 starts) in his first seven years in the majors and he is 21-28 with 115 saves, a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.  If Marmol just threw more strikes, he would be one of the very best closers in all of baseball.  The Cubs signed 32-year old righty Kyuji Fujikawa over the winter and he will push Marmol for his closer’s gig.  He comes into this year as the Cubs’ #9 prospect according to Baseball America.  Fujikama pitched in 48 games (0 starts) in Japan last year and he was 2-2 with 24 saves, a 1.32 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.  He pitched in 562 games (14 starts) in his career in Japan and he was 42-25 with 220 saves, a 1.77 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.  27-year old lefty James Russell will be the top reliever from that side of the mound for the Cubs in 2013.  Russell pitched in 77 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 7-1 with 2 saves, a 3.25 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.  Russell has now pitched in 198 games (5 starts) in his first three years in the majors and he is 9-8 with 2 saves, a 4.02 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.  37-year old righty Shawn Camp was a horse for the Cubs last year.  He pitched in 80 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 3-6 with 2 saves, a 3.59 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.  Camp has now pitched in 512 games (0 starts) in his first 9 years in the majors and he is 28-32 with 12 saves, a 4.29 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.  The Cubs hope that Russell and Camp can both be as effective as they were last year for them.  26-year old righty Michael Bowden is on the rise for the Cubs.  He pitched in 32 games (0 starts) for the Cubs and Red Sox last year in which he was 0-0 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.  Bowden has now pitched in 69 games (2 starts) in his first five years in the majors and he is 2-2 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.  37-year old lefty Hisanori Takahashi will have a decent shot of winning a spot in the Cubs’ pen this spring.  He pitched in 51 games (0 starts) for the Pirates and Angels last year in which he was 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.  Takahashi has now pitched in 165 games (12 starts) in his first three years in the majors and he is 14-12 with 10 saves, a 3.97 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.  25-year old righty Rafael Dolis will need to start pitching better if he wants to stay in the majors.  He pitched in 34 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 2-4 with 4 saves, a 6.39 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.  Dolis has now pitched in 35 games (0 starts) in his first two years in the majors and he is 2-4 with 4 saves, a 6.18 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BULLPEN IN 2013:  C+

The Chicago Cubs could have a decent starting rotation in 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Sunday 3 March 2013 at 11:13 am

The Cubs spent some money over the winter to bring in some talent for the starting rotation.  29-year old righty starting pitcher Matt Garza will head the Cubs’ starting rotation in 2013.  He pitched in 18 games (all starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.  Garza has now pitched in 170 games (167 starts) in his first seven years in the majors and he is 57-61 with 1 save, a 3.84 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.  Garza has the stuff and mentality to be the Cubs’ ace in 2013, but they need him to stay healthy this year.  28-year old righty Jeff Samardzija will likely head into the 2013 season as the Cubs’ #2 starter.  He pitched in 28 games (all starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.  Those aren’t bad numbers when you consider that Samardzija was a reliever until last year.  Samardzija has now pitched in 156 games (33 starts) in his first five years with the Cubs and he is 21-22 with 1 save, a 4.10 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.  Samardzija could take another step forward in 2013 as long as he keeps throwing strikes.  29-year old righty Edwin Jackson will be the Cubs’ #3 starter in 2013.  He pitched in 31 games (all starts) for the Nationals last year and he was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 234 games (204 starts) in his first 10 years in the majors and he is 70-71 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.  Jackson has the stuff to be an outstanding pitcher, but it has never fully clicked for him to this point in his career.  31-year old righty Scott Baker, 30-year old righty Scott Feldman, 26-year old lefty Travis Wood, 29-year old righty Carlos Villanueva and 24-year old lefty Brooks Raley will be competing for the #4 and #5 jobs in the rotation this spring.  Scott Baker is likely going to start the 2013 season on the D.L. as he continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery.  Baker didn’t pitch at all last season for the Twins.  He last pitched in 2011 with the Twins.  He has pitched in 163 games (159 starts) in his first seven years in the majors and he is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.  Scott Feldman is going to be the opening day rotation for the Cubs.  He pitched in 29 games (21 starts) for the Rangers last year and he was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 204 games (101 starts) in his first 8 years in the majors and he is 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.  Travis Wood is likely going to make the opening day rotation with Baker out of action.  Wood pitched in 26 games (all starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 6-13 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 65 games (61 starts) in his first three years in the majors and he is 17-23 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.  Wood might surprise for the Cubs this year as he has a nice upside.  Carlos Villanueva also looks like he’s going to make it into the Cubs’ opening day starting rotation.  He pitched in 38 games (16 starts) for the Blue Jays last year and he was 7-7 with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 301 games (56 starts) in his first seven years in the majors and he is 33-35 with 6 saves, a 4.26 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.  Villanueva has been waiting for his chance to be a full-time starter, and that chance is going to come at the start of the 2013 season.  Brooks Raley is likely going to start the 2013 season in AAA-ball, but he could get a call by the Cubs if he’s needed.  Raley pitched in 5 games (all starts) in his first taste of the majors with the Cubs last year and he was 1-2 with a 8.14 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP.  He also pitched in 22 games (all starts) in AA+AAA-ball for the Cubs last year and he was 6-10 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE STARTING ROTATION IN 2013:  C

Right field could be a time share for the Chicago Cubs in 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Friday 22 February 2013 at 6:42 pm

29-year old lefty swinging Nate Schierholtz and 32-year old righty swinging Scott Hairston will duke it out for the starting RF job this spring.  More than likely, they will wind up in a platoon.  Schierholtz played in 114 games for the Giants and Phillies last year and he was 62 of 241 (.257 avg, .728 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 6 homers, 21 RBIs and 3 stolen bases.  He played in 80 games (47 starts) in RF last year and he had 0 assists and 1 error there while showing poor range.  Schierholtz has now played in 540 games in his first six years in the majors and he is 344 of 1,275 (.270 avg, .727 OPS) with 150 runs scored, 24 homers, 123 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.  Scott Hairston has some serious thunder in his stick.  He played in 134 games for the Mets last year and he was 99 for 377 (.263 avg, .803 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 20 homers, 57 RBIs and 8 stolen bases.  He played in 48 games (38 starts) in RF last year and he had 0 errors or assists while showing good range there.  Hairston has now played in 777 games in his first 9 years in the majors and he is 543 of 2,197 (.247 avg, .751 OPS) with 276 runs scored, 95 homers, 279 RBIs and 34 stolen bases.  26-year old righty swinging Dave Sappelt and 29-year old lefty swinging Brian Bogusevic will be duking it out for backup jobs this spring.  Sappelt played in 26 games for the Cubs last year and he was 19 of 69 (.275 avg, .800 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 2 homers and 8 RBIs.  He played in 20 games (16 starts) in RF for the Cubs last year and he had 2 assists and 0 errors there while showing out of this world range.  Sappelt has now played in 64 games in his first two years in the majors and he is 45 of 176 (.256 avg, .683 OPS) with 22 runs scored, 2 homers, 13 RBIs and 1 stolen base.  Bogusevic played in 146 games for the Astros last year and he was 72 of 355 (.203 avg, .596 OPS) with 39 runs scored, 7 homers, 28 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.  He played in 104 games (73 starts) in RF last year and he had 5 assists and 4 errors there while showing good range.  He has now played in 252 games in his first three years in the majors and he is 124 of 547 (.227 avg, .656 OPS) with 66 runs scored, 11 homers, 46 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE RIGHT FIELDERS IN 2013:  C

David DeJesus is moving to CF for the Chicago Cubs in 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Friday 22 February 2013 at 6:25 pm

33-year old lefty swinging David DeJesus is moving to CF for the 2013 season.  He played in 148 games for the Cubs last year and he was 133 of 506 (.263 avg, .753 OPS) with 76 runs scored, 9 homers, 50 RBIs and 7 stolen bases.  DeJesus played in 50 games (36 starts) in CF for the Cubs last year and he had 3 assists and 0 errors there while showing slightly below average range.  He also played in 100 games (86 starts) in RF for the Cubs last year and he had 5 assists and 2 errors there while showing good range.  DeJesus has now played in 1,155 games in his first 10 years in the majors and he is 1,210 of 4,303 (.281 avg, .774 OPS) with 637 runs scored, 80 homers, 486 RBIs and 58 stolen bases.  Scott Hairston, Brian Bogusevic and Brett Jackson could also see time in CF for the Cubs in 2013.  Hairston played in 14 games (11 starts) in CF last year for the Mets and he had 0 errors or assists, but he showed pretty terrible range there.  Bogusevic played in 20 games (10 starts) in CF for the Astros last year and he had 0 assists and 1 error there while showing slightly below average range.  24-year old lefty swinging Brett Jackson had issues with the Cubs last year.  He played in 44 games in his first taste of the majors last year for the Cubs and he was 21 of 120 (.175 avg, .644 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 4 homers and 9 RBIs.  He was seriously overmatched by major league pitching as he whiffed 59 times last year!  Jackson played in 39 games (38 starts) in CF for the Cubs last year and he had 0 assists and 2 errors there while showing outstanding range.  Jackson also played in 106 games in AAA-ball for the Cubs last year and he was 104 of 407 (.256 avg, .817 OPS) with 66 runs scored, 15 homers, 47 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CENTER FIELDERS IN 2013:  C+

The Chicago Cubs are set up well in LF with Alfonso Soriano

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Friday 22 February 2013 at 6:11 pm

37-year old righty swinging LF Alfonso Soriano was mentioned in a lot of trade rumors over the winter, but he will be the starter LF for the Cubs heading into spring training.  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.  He played in 145 games (143 starts) in LF for the Cubs last year and he had 12 assists and 1 error out there where he showed outstanding range.  Soriano has now played in 1,757 games in his first 14 years in the majors and he is 1,897 of 6,943 (.273 avg, .828 OPS) with 1,046 runs scored, 372 homers, 1,035 RBIs and 270 stolen bases.  32-year old Scott Hairston will probably be Soriano’s top backup in 2013.  He played in 59 games (37 starts) for the Mets in LF last year and he had 1 error and 1 assist out there while showing poor range.  34-year old righty swinging Darnell McDonald could get some P.T. in LF in 2013, but he’s going to have to play well this spring to make the team.  McDonald played in 42 games for the Red Sox and Yankees last year and he was 18 of 88 (.205 avg, .649 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 2 homers, 9 RBIs and 1 stolen base.  He played in 21 games (16 starts) in LF last year and he had 2 assists and 0 errors there while showing out of this world range there.  McDonald has now played in 306 games in his first six years in the majors and he is 175 of 711 (.246 avg, .705 OPS) with 98 runs scored, 19 homers, 78 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.  29-year old Brent Lillibridge could also get some P.T. in LF for the Cubs in 2013.  He played in 20 games (3 starts) in LF last year and he had 0 assists or errors there while showing pretty poor range.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE LEFT FIELDERS IN 2013:  B+

The Chicago Cubs are going to have a competition for the 3B job this spring

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Tuesday 19 February 2013 at 8:31 am

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

The Chicago Cubs hope that Starlin Castro can stay focused and motivated in 2013

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Thursday 14 February 2013 at 2:23 pm

The Chicago Cubs hope that they can keep 22-year old righty swinging shortstop Starlin Castro focused and motivated in 2013, as he has the potential to be the best SS in all of baseball.  Castro played in 162 games for the Cubs last year and he was 183 of 646 (.283 avg, .753 OPS) with 78 runs scored, 14 homers, 78 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.  Castro played in 162 games (161 starts) at SS for the Cubs last year and he had 27 errors while showing really good range.  Castro has now played in 445 games in his first three years with the Cubs and he is 529 of 1,783 (.297 avg, .761 OPS) with 222 runs scored, 27 homers, 185 RBIs and 57 stolen bases.  29-year old righty swinging Brent Lillibridge could get some P.T. at SS for the Cubs if he makes the team.  He played in 21 games (15 starts) at SS last year and he had 6 errors there while showing pretty horrible range.  29-year old righty swinging Alberto Gonzalez will also have a shot to make the team this spring.  He played in 24 games for the Rangers last year and he was 13 of 54 (.241 avg, .556 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 0 homers and 4 RBIs.  He played in 9 games (5 starts) at SS for the Rangers last year and he had 2 errors while showing slightly below average range.  Gonzalez has now played in 402 games in his first six years in the majors and he is 216 of 893 (.242 avg, .596 OPS) with 91 runs scored, 3 homers, 85 RBIs and 2 stolen bases.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE SHORTSTOPS IN 2013:  B+

Darwin Barney is an absolute wizard at 2B for the Chicago Cubs

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Sunday 10 February 2013 at 3:27 pm

27-year old righty swinging 2B Darwin Barney is an absolute wizard with a glove on his hand.  He played in 155 games (146 starts) at 2B for the Cubs last year and he only made 2 errors while showing out of this world range.  Barney played in 156 games for the Cubs last year and he was 139 of 548 (.254 avg, .653 OPS) with 73 runs scored, 7 homers, 44 RBIs and 6 stolen bases.  He has now played in 329 games in his first three years with the Cubs and he is 304 of 1,156 (.263 avg, .654 OPS) with 151 runs scored, 9 homers, 89 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.  29-year old Brent Lillibridge and 25-year old lefty swinging Adrian Cardenas will likely duke it out this spring to see who will back up Barney in 2013.  Lillibridge can literally play every position but catcher and pitcher defensively, but he just can’t hit.  Lillibridge played in 102 games for the White Sox, Red Sox and Indians last year and he was 37 of 190 (.195 avg, .524 OPS) with 25 runs scored, 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.  He played in 6 games (3 starts) at 2B last year and he had 1 error while showing horrible range there.  He has now played in 338 games in his first five years in the majors and he is 138 of 649 (.213 avg, .628 OPS) with 100 runs scored, 19 homers, 66 RBIs and 36 stolen bases.  Cardenas didn’t do too well in his first taste of the majors last year with the Cubs.  Cardenas played in 45 games for the Cubs last year and he was 11 for 60 (.183 avg, .552 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers and 2 RBIs.  He played in 12 games (7 starts) at 2B for the Cubs last year and he didn’t make any errors while showing slightly below average range.  Cardenas also played in 65 games in AAA-ball last year for the Cubs and he was 73 of 243 (.300 avg, .842 OPS) with 30 runs scored, 3 homers, 32 RBIs and 5 stolen bases.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE SECOND BASEMEN IN 2013:  B

Anthony Rizzo is a player on the rise for the Chicago Cubs

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by joelapinski on Wednesday 6 February 2013 at 7:44 am

The Chicago Cubs have a player on the rise at 1B in 23-year old lefty swinging Anthony Rizzo.  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 5 stolen bases.  Rizzo played in 85 games (all starts) at 1B for the Cubs last year and he made 4 errors.  Rizzo has now played in 136 games in his first two years in the majors and he is 114 of 465 (.245 avg, .727 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 16 homers, 57 RBIs and 5 stolen bases.  Rizzo has a huge upside and the Cubs hope that he puts a good full season in for them in 2013.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE FIRST BASEMEN IN 2013:  B

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