Let's do a quick recap of the more popular Cubs questions I've seen posed in various formats. I'll be around all day to answer anything else in the comments as well.
Q. What does Starlin Castro do in 2014?
I don't know, honestly. I know what my heart says. I'm a big time believer in Castro which in a way stems from the traits I see in him as a reflection of what I am. I get inside my own head and over think things too, and sometimes my trepidation in doing something or my attention lapses are seen as #slack. It's an issue we both need to correct for different reasons but I digress.
Castro has real, obvious talent. He's got the type of swing you can hang .330 AVG on. The issue will be the walk percentage. It's pretty well known that the Cubs tried to tinker with his approach and it blew up in their faces real good. Perhaps there are some mechanical issues and he's out of sequence. Maybe he's letting the ball travel too deep into the zone because he's trying to be more selective. Maybe he's been figured out.
There are a lot of maybes and not a lot of answers. I think this is a very important season for Castro. My heart says he breaks out, my head is leaning that way too but I've been led astray when the heart leads before.
Q. Fine, what about Anthony Rizzo?
Oddly enough, I feel very comfortable that he will see an improvement across the line in 2014. The contact issues will always be there but Rizzo had a fairly poor showing in the BABIP category (.258) last year. Some of that is due to shifting but I think there will be a bounce this year. His .189/.282/.342 line against LHP in 2013 is a concern but I have faith in the player. At his peak I think he's a .260/.340/.500 guy. You take that at 1B.
Q. Which prospect comes up first? When will Baez get here?
Mike Olt will, in all likelihood, get the first call. Of the big four, however, my money's on Bryant. I do think they'll play Baez and Bryant together at AAA a lil bit but it feels like Bryant will be up by June.
Baez is an interesting guy. I don't believe in "Can't Miss" but even if I did he's far from that tab. There's a lot of "Miss" potential with Baez. However, what he can do is beyond obvious and hints at a future that's totally irresponsible to project on the kid. I tabbed him as the #unicorn in a joking manner but...the bat speed is real and it's easy to fall in love with Baez.
I think he would benefit from a full year facing pitchers who know how to pitch. There's no rush with him, the Cubs should want to get this one right. I ascribe to the theory that you're aggressive with Pitchers and less so with Hitters as a general rule. I think it applies in this situation.
Q. Will the Cubs get Masahiro Tanaka? Will he be worth the investment?
I don't know if he'll land with the Cubs but I do know they plan on being aggressive with Tanaka. Will he be worth it? I think in the short term he will be but depending on length of contract it might be bad dollars on the back end. Doug Thorburn tackled some of the Tanaka mechanical issues in this post. If you don't have a sub the gist of it is that Tanaka will encounter some consistency issues and his walk rate is likely to shoot up. Thorburn isn't too big on Tanaka.
Q. Will the Cubs contend in 2014?
No, and I'm ok with that.