Things are under Old Management again in Wrigley. Owner Donald Key has returned to run the franchise once more, having reached the playoffs only 3 times in franchise and 2 while Key as owner, of 50% of the seasons he has owned the team.
The Lineup could mash its way to the playoffs, but the pitching holds the key.
1. LF Harold Murphy (.278 avg/.343 OBP/.492 SLG/.835 OPS/33 HRs/105 RBIs) - Not your typical leadoff hitter, Murphy hit 33 bombs last year. But with the loss of Rock Smart they need someone to bat first. With his patient batting eye, and lack of other options he gets the call. Expect the HR's to come down, and Ks to go up.
2. 3B Mario Wright (.278/.340/.441/.781/26/86)- Wright is moving from SS to the hot corner where his glove will play a lot better. His range has diminished but his bat can still play at third, and should be a huge upgrade defensively over last years third basemen.
3. RF Felipe Mota (.306/.385/.614/.999/47/139)- Mota is headed back to RF after playing out of position the last few years at 3B, committing 28 errors at the Hot Corner in each of the last 2 years. A former Gold Glover and Silver Slugger in RF, he is being counted on heavily to continue his Hall of Fame progression.
4. 2B Julio Marin (.317/.372/.643/1.015/51/131)- Marin put up 51 HR's last year in the OF, but is being asked to head back to 2B, where he admittedly will be out of position, but his bat makes up for it. Another huge season in the middle of the lineup will be expected. He can play a COF or 1B whenever someone needs rest, and defensive replacements will be utilized regularly.
5. 1B Dick Stewart - (.269/.338/.530/.868/43/ 131) -Going into his 4th full year in the bigs, he is being counted on to bounce back, although his "off" year still resulted in 43 HRs. He is currently the only LH bat in the lineup with power.
6. C Nick Miclat - (.282/.365/.427/.792/17/63) - Miclat will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs with the bats at the top of this lineup. But management would like to see him play a bigger role in helping to improve the pitching staff.
7. CF Enos Ramirez - This rookie is being asked to man CF after mainly playing 3B in the minors he last few years. All the tools are there as far as his bat is concerned, and he'll probably move back to the Hot Corner eventually. Unfortunately he's the best option to play CF for the Gangsters right now.
8. SS Brad Glanville - An offseason acquisition, he was acquired in the Rock Smart trade (along with David Lee & Brutus Stewart) for his glove. Not expected to do much with his bat, he'll make his mark by providing solid defense.
Midre Matos - Backup C, Rule 5 draftee
Hayes Little - Previous administrations HUGE CONTRACT MISTAKE
Oscar McNeil - Speedy 2B could be a pinch runner or late inning defensive replacement
Calvin Woo - LH bat off the bench
Ronnie Coleridge - Utility guy and another LH bat
James Pong - Best pitcher on the staff has struggled the last 2 seasons. Need more dominance from him this year and return to the form of the first couple years in the league. He is still only 27.
Sammy Cedeno - solid starter is being asked to step into the #2 role. Has been eating innings, and must continue to do so.
Jose Puente - Former Int'l signee has had a Jekyll and Hyde like career, one good, one bad. We're hoping this is the Good Year and a repeat of season 10(vice season 11) is going to be needed.
David Lee - Offseason acquisition is being asked to step into the rotation, but may be better suited for the bullpen. Depends on how the prospects fare as to how many starts he makes. Long range he definitely belongs in the pen.
Possible 5th starters:
Julio Lopez - Spent the last 2 years in AAA and has no reason not to be in the majors. Currently fighting for a starting spot.
Chuck Grant - Former 1st Round pick is fighting for a rotation spot and barring a collapse, should make the team out of Spring Training.
Garry Pratt - Long Shot to break camp with the big club, has yet to pitch above AA. Only made 18 starts (in 31 appearances) last year, but did convert 11 of 13 saves, so it is possible he could help the team at some point as a piece in the pen. For now he'll be stretched out with the intention of starting.
Other bullpen pieces
Brendan Merritt - Currently slated as closer
Deivi Rosa - Lefty has proven himself at AAA, but will it translate to the majors?
Willie Terrero - Off season signing to a low money deal, will provide middle relief help.
Louie Pena - Another Lefty out of the pen had a good year last year, will he repeat it?
Ivan Rosado - Yet another lefty, his large payday may be keeping him around longer then most.
Shaggy Park - Rule 5 draftee will have a hard time sticking.
Dwight Jackson - middle reliever in danger of losing his position, but at least he's not a lefty.
Bernie Hernandez - Currently at AAA, he's trying to fight his way on to the staff. Has some Major League experience, but hasn't been consistent.
Cody Mlicki - Another Rule 5 longshot.