Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chicago's Season 7 Preview - Lineup

1. CF - Reagan Linden - .291 Avg, .353 OBP, .545 SLG, .898 OPS, 40 HR, 115 RBI's last year - Not your traditional leadoff man (or CF), he gets on base, and will score a lot of runs as he takes control of the leadoff hole due to a lack of other options. This former SS and 3B should be able to handle CF as Chicago continues to look for a 3B/CF option.

2. 2B - Ralph Gray - .313, .375, .519, .894, 32, 96 - He has a career year last year and Chicago needs him to keep up the production. There is talk of him moving to 3rd in order to make room for a prospect (See below). He is willing to move to the hot corner, however this would greatly weaken the defense at both 2B and 3B.

3. RF - Felipe Mota - .317, .378, .629, 1.007, 49, 128 -Felipe had a career worst season yet still managed an OPS of 1.007, which means even in his off years he is still among the best. He made the All Star team for the 2nd consecutive season and also picked up a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove.

4. 1B - Randy Clemens - .284, .332, .609, .941, 49, 106 - Still only 24, Clemens was able to finally give some protection to Mota. He is one of only 2 lefthanded hitters in the Starting lineup. 40+ HR's are expected once again. Defensively he's solid at 1B but has played some LF and you're asking for trouble to run him out there too often.

5. LF - Julio Marin - .272, .331, .551, .882, 30, 75 - He put up those numbers in less then 400 AB's. This will be his 3rd different season in the majors, but he still has 0 years of ML service time. The HR & RBI's should go up with a full season. He has played some 2B but is not an attractive option there defensively. Still, they are working him out some there in Spring Training in order to gauge whether or not to bring up another Lefthanded power bat from the minors (see below). If they do they will be greatly sacrificing defense for offense which might not be the best of options in Wrigley.

6. SS - Deivi Chavez - A potential difference maker defensively who has the potential to hit some. Would be better suited in the #2 spot, but his durability is a concern so they've dropped him a little lower in the order to save a few AB's.

7. C - Delino Torres - With their young staff management is unconcerned with his offense, and keeps him around due to his stellar handling of the Pitching staff.

8. 3B - Dave Austin - Ideally suited for a utility role, he can play anywhere but C. He sometimes hits enough to justify playing CF, but will be vastly underperforming at 3B. Still he's only in for his defense and could swap with Linden to play CF instead.

On the Farm
LF - Dick Stewart - Their 1st round pick from Season 4 who signed for a record $9.195 M, has shot his way thru the system and is only 21. He will probably start the season in AAA as he only had 80 AB's (plus another 30 in the playoffs) at that level, as well as to put off arbitration for another year. He would fit nicely into the lineup as another LH bat. He's the reason Marin has been playing 2B and Gray 3B. He should see some time before the end of the year, or if an injury pops up.

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