2012 Cubs: Feel The…Um…Baseball


Today, the 2012 Chicago Cubs regular season begins at Wrigley Field, against the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster (10-14, 4.80 ERA in 2011) takes the bump against the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 1.50 ERA), who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and made five starts last September. No, Dempster’s ERA is not a typo, but when you have an ERA near 10 in the first month of the season, you’re pretty much screwed, especially when you have barely above-average stuff.

A projected starting lineup:

RF David DeJesus
2B Darwin Barney
SS Starlin Castro
1B Bryan LaHair
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Ian Stewart
CF Marlon Byrd
C Geovany Soto

And bench:

C/1B Steve Clevenger
IF/OF Jeff Baker
IF/OF Blake DeWitt
IF/OF Joe Mather
IF/OF Luis Valbuena
OF Reed Johnson

Projected starting rotation:

RHP Ryan Dempster
RHP Matt Garza
RHP Jeff Samardzija
RHP Chris Volstad
LHP Paul Maholm

And bullpen:

CL RHP Carlos Marmol
SU RHP Kerry Wood
SU RHP Rafael Dolis
MR LHP James Russell
MR LHP Shawn Camp
LR RHP Lendy Castillo

New right fielder and potential leadoff man David DeJesus suffered from a surgically repaired right hand in 2011 with the Oakland Athletics and finished with 10 HR, 46 RBI and an OPS of .698. Castro will probably hit in the 3-hole, which should make sense, seeing as how he’s the team’s best hitter. However, in 178 at-bats in that spot, Castro has not hit a homer, driven in only 13 runs, and his OPS is an atrocious .571. Hopefully, LaHair can give the Cubs some thump from one corner infield spot, because former Colorado Rockie Ian Stewart probably won’t at third, especially now that he’s away from Coors Field. Maybe Sori will strike out less than 150 times and commit less than 15 errors in the field. Soto should have a good season at the plate, simply because this is an even year. I’m not exactly thrilled with the bench, but then again, I’m not too ecstatic about the starters, either. Mather had a great spring training, but it was spring training, after all.

Dempster is probably the number one because he’s old or something like that. Garza could make the jump from bad-luck starter to a guy who legitimately dominates each and every start. 3-5 in the rotation are nothing to brag about, although Samardzija had a good spring. Hopefully, Marmol realizes the aim of being a closer isn’t to blow saves in horrific fashion. Dolis and Wood should be a great setup tandem, provided they’re healthy.

New manager Dale Sveum has tattoos and is bald, therefore he is a badass. Also new to the fray, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have given many Cubs fans hope that the franchise will eventually hoist a World Series trophy…again, eventually. Wrigley will most likely be renovated in the near future, which is good for my eyesight. Down. With. Troughs. Dammit.

I don’t expect much from this team, at all. If things go right, they could hover around .500. Worst-case scenario, I envision this team losing close to 100 games. I’d love to see Byrd and Dempster moved. Even more, I’d love to see AAA studs CF Brett Jackson and 1B Anthony Rizzo on the big-league club sooner than later. Regardless of what happens, I’m just amped to finally see Cubs baseball that counts. Well, sort of.


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