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2006 Chicago Cubs Baseball Preview

Chicago Cubs Predictions – NL CENTRAL

OVERVIEW:

Hey, Chicago won the series! Wrong Chicago team but right series. The Cubs have missed the playoffs for two straight years, blaming injuries to key players. The problem is that other teams have made it into the post-season missing important cogs in their offense and defense.

PITCHING:

Last season Mark Prior (11-7, 3.67 ERA), Kerry Wood (3-4. 4.23 ERA) and Greg Maddux (13-15, 4.24 ERA) all had off seasons. Carlos Zambrano put together a fine year starting 33 games, pitching 223.1 innings, and throwing 202 strikeouts. With a 3.26 ERA and a 14-6 mark, he was the Cubs best pitcher. If the other three top guys can live up to their potential and play injury free, the team could be back in the hunt for a division title.

Closer Ryan Dempster earned 33 saves last season; he throws an 89-93 mph fastball, an 88 mph slider, and a changeup. Dempster had elbow surgery two years ago and since that time has continued to improve. This could be a stellar year for him.

HITTING:

Last year, the Cubbies were a sound hitting team, batting a team average of .270, second highest in the league. They also generated 194 homers.

They have a stable of .300 hitters, including Ronny Cedeno (.300), Matt Murton (.321), Aramis Ramirez (.302), and Todd Walker (.305).

Derek Lee set the NL mark with a .335 BA. He also led the league in hits (199), doubles (50), total bases (393), extra base hits (99), and slugging percentage (.662). He’s a force beyond all forces, and once he’s on base, Lee is also a great base runner.

DEFENSE:

Derek Lee is one of the finest first basemen in the game and Ronny Cedeno provides good coverage at short. At second base, Todd Walker has limited range and mobility, while third baseman Aramis Ramirez continues to develop into an agile, accurate fielder.

In the outfield, which is newly acquired, there are no standouts, although each player is able to man his position adequately.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• GM Jim Hendry says the last two years have been unacceptable, yet during the winter his deals did little to improve the team.
• Manager Dusty Baker has been paid a lot to not deliver a championship.
• Didn’t ink the Miguel Tajada deal—THAT would have been an improvement!

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• Wrigley Field—mystique or bad luck?
• Motivation provided by that other baseball team that calls Chicago home.
• Pitchers all need to perform at top levels.

CONCLUSION:

The White Sox put the Cubs to shame last season, maybe that will do the trick for the team from the North Side. The team finished 21 games out of first place with a 79-83 record. That’s unacceptable in the eyes of the fans, Cubs’ management, and the team itself.

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For more information on the 2006 Chicago Cubs visit their official MLB website by clicking here.

 

2006 Baseball Team Previews

We have listed all of the 2006 MLB baseball teams below. Each team link will give you a team preview of the respected club. The left side is all of the american league previews, and the right columns contains all of the national league previews. To return to the main page click the 2006 MLB Season Preview link at anytime.


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