2010 Chicago Cubs Baseball Preview
Every year for the past three to four, the skinny has been that it is the year of the Cubbie. Last season did not pan out for the Chicago Cubs (83-78). That was a disappointment especially since Chicago won the division in 2007 and 2008. Still, even though they did win the division two years in a row, the Cubs could not capture the anticipated big prize.
Last season, Carlos Zambrano (9-7, 3.77 ERA, 152 SO) struggled through various injuries. He’s a quality, number one starter and if healthy his powerful body and big arm will dominate hitters. Control pitcher Ted Lilly (12-9, 3.10 ERA, 151 SO), a lefty, also had to deal with a rash of ailments and in the off-season had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He offers an 84- 89-mph fastball that he can control with aplomb and a slider on which he changes the speed and break.
Righty Ryan Dempster (11-9, 3.65 ERA, 172 SO) has a solid frame. When he utilizes his fastball and slider effectively, Dempster can confuse batters. When he loses control of his pitches, his outing can go south. Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny are both decent fourth and fifth starters. Closer Carlos Marmol (2-4, 3.41 ERA, 15 SV, 93 SO) has a driving fastball and a tailing slurve. He has to find consistency in order to be a premium close out guy.
There are some fine bats in the Cub lineup. A few saw production fall off last season due to injury. Good health should equal offensive production. Derrek Lee (.306 BA, 35 HR, 111 RBI) played injury free and put up some of his best numbers ever. He’s a fine hitter with power and speed. Lee is also a quality first baseman. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez (.317 BA, 15 HR, 65 RBI) had a solid season despite dealing with a dislocated shoulder and lingering soreness.
Center fielder Marlon Byrd (.283 BA, 20 HR, 89 RBI) and second baseman Jeff Baker (.288 BA, 4 HR, 24 RBI) are both capable hitters. Both catcher Geovany Soto (.218 BA, 11 HR, 47 RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (.241 BA, 20 HR, 55 RBI) suffered with injuries and saw their numbers fall off. Expect an uptick in production from both this season.
Manager Lou Piniella is a hardnosed guy who manages like he played the game—he takes no prisoners on either side. The veteran manager, who is in the final year of his contract, has done a fine job of keeping teetering Cub teams focused on the prize. Look for him to do more of the same in 2010. GM Jim Hendry, whose present stint with the Cubs expires in 2012, is in the defining year of his contract.
This is a team that has the potential to take the division or perhaps even the wild card. But in order for that to happen, Cardinal pitching will need to falter a bit and the Brewer bats will have to cool off considerably. Prior to last season, the prognostication for the Cubs was a third-straight division crown. That didn’t happen. This season, with the pitching staff a tad weaker and the top three guys coming off of injuries, it’s expected that the very good Cubs will finish second or maybe even third.
For more info on Chicago check out the MLB website for the Cubs.