Time for my whenever-I-feel-like-doing-a-blog/semi-regular Cubs blog!!!!! I know, I know you are all very excited! But wait.... if you are not a Cubs fan, there are still 9-5 odds that you will enjoy this blog!
So sit back, relax, make yourself some popcorn, put on your 3-D glasses, and enjoy!
It is widely thought by many that Cubs have a shot at, if not will, win the NL Central. Sports Illustrated predicted them to make it to the World Series. John Kruk even had them winning it all this year.
But I am telling you that the Cubs will not only contend this year, but for years to come. They will do so because they are pretty much set at ALL the positions in the field.
First, catcher. The Cubs here have Rookie of the Year candidate Geovany Soto. This guy has already proven he can mash, and its only his first full year. Some stats: Besides being named the Pacific Coast League MVP last year with 100+ RBIs (in the minors!), Soto was a September call-up and hit .389 in his limited at bats. He impressed Lou Piniella som much, that Piniella named him post-season starter over veteran Jason Kendall. This year, it has been more of the same for Soto. He already has 5 HRs and 23 RBIs, and has a great .427 OBP. Soto is still very young, so at this pace the Cubs will be set at catcher for years to come.
Next, we have 1B. The Cubs have superstar Derrek Lee here, who has shown that he can be one of the most feared hitters in baseball. He also isn't too shabby in the field; he has multiple Gold glove awards. He threatened for the Triple Crown in 05, and now is back from wrist problems and hitting .357. He is still in his prime, and is signed through 2010. First base- down.
On to 2B now. We have uber-versatile Mark DeRosa here. DeRosa was thought overpaid when he signed a 3-year deal with the Cubs last year, but so far he has pulled his weight hitting .293 last year with 70+ RBIs. He is signed through next year, but even if the Cubs do lose him, the Cubs have my man Mike Fontenot. Fontenot has shown glimpses of greatness at 2B so far in his career. He is hitting .289 with 2 HRs and 11 RBIs through only 49 ABs this year.
And.....shortstop. Ryan (The Riot) Theriot. Theriot has hit very well in his career and was hitting over .300 for much of his rookie campaign last year, before fading over the stretch. This year, he has been back and improved. He is hitting .318. He also has speed, stealing 28 bases last year. To back him up, we have Ronny Cedeno, who has a .479 OBP and 16 RBIs in only 47 ABs. The Cubs also have Fontenot to play here. All 3 are still young and may be in Chicago for a while.
At third is probably the most consistent hitter on the Cubs since 03, Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez has hit over .300 every full year he has played on the Cubs, except 2006, when he still hit 36 HRs and 118 RBIs. He recently signed an extension, and will be driving in runs for three more years.
Outfield! The Cubs have a pretty good trio of outfielders with Fukudome, Reed Johnson, and Soriano. Fukudome, well you all read the Si article, has one of the best eyes in the league. He has a great OBP and is also a great clutch hitter. Not to mention he has a cannon for an arm. The Cubs have him in right for a few more years.
Reed Johnson is another high OBP guy, who has brought hitting help to the Cubs. Reed hit .319 just 2 years ago. He has helped bring a more patient approach to the Cubs lineup, and has scored 16 runs. He is also a magnificent fielder, you all saw his catch in Washington.
Alfonso Soriano. He is struggling now, but he always does in April. Cubs fans were panicking at this time last year, too. Lou Piniella should just move him down in the order..... Anyway, he is a member of the elite 40-40 club, and hit .299. He has a cannon for an arm as well. So I would say he has 4 of the 5 tools down pat. The Cubs also have Felix Pie (former top prospect) and Cedeno as backups.
I have to got to bed now, I will touch on the pitching tomorrow.