After another year of disappointment in the Windy City, newly named manager Mike Quade has his hands full with an aging lineup. Old stars, such as Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano, have lost a step or two and their numbers prove it. However; there is still a glimmer of hope. Rising stars Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin give Cub’s fans a hope for the future. Here are my projections for Cubs opening day lineup:
Projected Starting Lineup
1. Starlin Castro(.300 BA, 3 HR, 41 RBI)
- Castro would have been a strong ROY candidate last year, but in a year of strong rookies, he was often overshadowed. He has tons of up-side to him, being only 20 years-old. Castro is better suited for batting 2nd because of his lack of plate discipline (29 walks in 492 at bats), but will probably lead off because the Cubs don’t have a true leadoff man yet. He does, however, have the potential to hit 40 plus doubles in 2011.
2. Marlon Byrd(.293, 12 HR, 66 RBI)
- Byrd played his best batting 2nd last year, getting hits in 19 of his 47 at bats. The 33 year old hit 39 doubles last year, giving the Cubs a good 1-2 punch on the top of their lineup.
3. Aramis Ramirez( .241, 25 HR, 83 RBI)
- If Aramis can go back to being his old self, he would fit perfectly in the 3 hole. Historically, Ramirez has been a run producer, driving over 1,000 so far in his career. If Castro and Byrd can get on base, which they showed they can, Ramirez will get his opportunities to drive in runs.
4. Carlos Pena( .192, 28 HR, 84 RBI)
- Pena is a typical home run producing left hander who will fit perfectly as the clean up man. He needs to bring up his average, but his presence in the lineup will affect the hitters around him.
5. Alfonso Soriano (. 258, 24 HR, 79 RBI)
- Soriano has yet to give the Cubs a fully healthy season, and his glove in the outfield is a huge question mark. Personally, I think the Cubs should move him back to his natural position, 2nd base, to give Kosuke Fukudome a starting spot in the outfield.
6. Tyler Colvin (.254, 20 HR, 56 RBI)
- Last year Colvin was one of the top young outfielders in National League. After a premature ending to his rookie season, Colvin is looking to establish himself as one of premiere outfielders in baseball. His left handed presence should fit well in the 6 hole.
7. Geovany Soto (.280, 17 HR, 53 RBI)
- The former rookie of the year has been injury plagued the past two seasons leading to inconsistent performances. If he can return to his 2008 form (.285/23/53) the Cubs will have one of the better 7 hitters in baseball.
8. Blake DeWitt(.261, 5 HR, 52 RBI)
- DeWitt was acquired in the last year in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal. His future as a Cub is uncertain as of now due to the strength middle infield depth the Cubs have in the minor leagues. After joining the Cubs, DeWitt’s power numbers increased, but his batting average slipped 20 points. If he can bat around .275, he will keep his job in Chicago