Opening Day: Cubs Den Staff Predictions for the 2014 season

Opening Day: Cubs Den Staff Predictions for the 2014 season

It's Opening Day and optimism tends to run high.  There are a lot of IFs at this time of year and for the Cubs a lot of things have to go right to have what most people would call a successful season.  I can envision how it all can happen -- but that's not to say that I think it's likely that it will.  Our writers take a shot at their 2014 predictions.  We'll clip and save this and re-visit at the end of the year to see how we did.

Cubs Record

  • John: 77-85
  • Mauricio: 75-87
  • Felzz: 72-90
  • Mike: 68-94
  • Adam B. 69-93

Top Position Player (per fWAR)

  • John: Anthony Rizzo
  • Mauricio: Anthony Rizzo
  • Felzz: Starlin Castro
  • Mike: Starlin Castro
  • Adam B: Anthony Rizzo

Top Pitcher (per fWAR)

  • John: Jeff Samardzija
  • Mauricio: Edwin Jackson
  • Felzz: Jeff Samardzija
  • Mike: Jeff Samardzija
  • Adam B: Jeff Samardzija

Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average)

  • John: Ryan Kalish
  • Mauricio: Justin Ruggiano
  • Felzz: Welington Castillo
  • Mike: Mike Olt
  • Adam B: Welington Castillo

Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average)

  • John: Jake Arrieta
  • Mauricio: Edwin Jackson
  • Felzz: Pedro Strop
  • Mike: Jason Hammel
  • Adam B: Jake Arrieta

Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season)

  • John: Starlin Castro
  • Mauricio: Starlin Castro
  • Felzz: Emilio Bonifacio
  • Mike: Starlin Castro
  • Adam B: Starlin Castro

Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster)

  • John: Jason Hammel
  • Mauricio: Jose Veras
  • Felzz: Emilio Bonifacio
  • Mike: Mike Olt
  • Adam B: Mike Olt

What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR)

  • John: Mike Olt
  • Mauricio: Mike Olt
  • Felzz: Javier Baez
  • Mike: Mike Olt
  • Adam B: Mike Olt

Cubs HR Leader

  • John: Anthony Rizzo
  • Mauricio: Anthony Rizzo
  • Felzz: Anthony Rizzo
  • Mike: Anthony Rizzo
  • Adam B: Anthony Rizzo

First Player Traded

  • John: Darwin Barney
  • Mauricio: Nate Schierholtz
  • Felzz: Darwin Barney
  • Mike: Jason Hammel
  • Adam B: Nate Schierholtz

Some interesting notes:

  • I was the most "optimistic" in the Cubs record.  I just have a feeling the Cubs will get off to a good start and while it will not be good enough for the Cubs to contend and buy talent at the deadline, they won't be able to tank as easily because they have better talent to call up in August and September.
  • We all think Anthony Rizzo will lead the team in HRs and all of us except Mauricio believe that Samardzija, despite the trade rumors and wishing he could be more, is still the team's best pitcher.  As Adam said, its hard to justify anyone else.  Mauricio made a bold EJax prediction here.  If he's right, the Cubs will be in good shape.
  • Felzz was the only to take the plunge on Javier Baez as the teams top prospect, who should be up sometime this season.  The rest of us took the safe route with Opening Day starter Mike Olt.
  • Felzz also thinks Bonifacio will bounce back from a poor 2013 while the rest of us believe Starlin Castro is the guy to watch there.
  • The rest of the picks showed more difference of opinion among the group.  We'll see how it goes by the end of the year.

What are your predicitons?

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  • fb_avatar

    Cubs Record: 76-86

    Top Position Player (per fWAR): Anthony Rizzo

    Top Pitcher (per fWAR): Travis Wood

    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average): Mike Olt (although I would like to see your pick be right John)

    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average): Jake Arrieta

    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season): Starlin Castro

    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster): I could go the safe route and say Olt, but I put him in the prospect category, so I will say Jose Veras (hopefully he will close games more successfully than Marmol et al 2013)

    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR): Mike Olt

    Cubs HR Leader: Javier Baez... kidding! Anthony Rizzo

    First Player Traded: Darwin Barney/Nate Schierholtz package

  • In reply to Bill Newton:

    Its not that big of a stretch to think Javy leads the team in HRs. I think he finishes second on the team, and probably ends up within 5 of Rizzo. So if Rizzo ends up missing any time, Javy could end up being the leader.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Wow. I hope you're right - if that scenario points to Baez going nuts and not Rizzo tanking.
    I would peg Baez at 10-15 HR this year for his MLB season in 70 or so games. I'll give Rizzo 26-28 in 150 games. Now 2015 - that's a whole new ball game. Rizzo may be third or fourth! I think Olt could supply 22 HRs this year.

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one on the Ruggiano bandwagon, even if its arrival might be delayed by a sore ankle.

  • fb_avatar

    70 plus wins would be nice.

  • I agree with John on all but 1. I'm with Felzz in that Javy will outproduce Olt. I also think Vizcaino will have a big 2nd half impact when he takes over the closer role.

    Rizzo better enjoy leading the team in HR this year. Its never going to happen again.

  • fb_avatar

    80-82 ... The page is turned... Now go and sign James Shields!

    Top position player: Olt

    Olt will lead the team in WAR with 3.8 fWAR... after the call-up, Baez will lead the team with 2.7.

    Breakthrough pitcher: Jackson

    Samardzjia will be the first traded in late June. Nationals are the destination.

  • Any word on if we were able to sneak Alberto Cabrara thru waivers yet?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    DFA process takes up to 10 days.

  • Cubs Record:
    • 73-89
    Top Position Player (per fWAR)
    • Going to go out on a limb here and pick Mike Olt – and think he will be in running for ROY
    Top Pitcher (per fWAR)
    • Have to go with the consensus here and pick Jeff Samardzija
    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average)
    • Ryan Kalish
    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average)
    • Jake Arietta
    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season)
    • Starlin Castro – assuming he stays healthy (I’m concerned about that recurrent hamstring issue)
    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster)
    • Mike Olt, although Ruggiano also has to be considered
    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR)
    • Mike Olt
    Cubs HR Leader
    • Anthony Rizzo
    First Player Traded
    • Nate Schierholtz

  • Also, any word on where some of the prospects will end up and at which levels yet? Haven't seen anything on who's going to Des Moines, Tennessee, KC or Daytona.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    Daytona has their roster out. it includes Almora, Vogelbach, and Candelario are the top 10 guys who will be there.

    Zastryzny was the biggest surprise. Arodys Vizcaino is there too but that's obviously for warm weather.

    Amaya, Hernandez also guys to watch and my sleeper is SP Michael Jensen.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The A-ball rotation is pretty stacked and Zastryzny is the most advanced of the potential A-ball pitchers, so it makes some sense. Still an aggressive placement. Or Step 1 in turning him into an org guy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BobMiller146:

    CJ Edwards - AA Tenn. Alcantara - AAA Iowa
    Jorge Soler - AA Tenn. Hendricks - AAA Iowa
    Kris Bryant - AA Tenn. Villanueva - AAA Iowa
    Albert Almora - AA Tenn. Baez - AAA Iowa

    That's where the more important prospects will start the season. Hope this info helps.
    GO CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I hear Albert Almora is actually going to Daytona, they released their tentative roster yesterday.

  • Since only one of my answers differs from those above (optimistically, I would love for Olt to outhomer Rizzo 35 to 34!) I wanted to share it:
    First Player Traded – Lake – I don’t know why, but I feel like the FO is showcasing him and another team will see a young Alfonso Soriano and take a chance. I feel like he’s not in our plans moving forward as I don’t think patience is in his make up (this could be said about Castro as well, but he is much more of a commodity and better plate coverage; he has a better chance of sticking as a starter long term). Our system should easily replace his production and hopefully we can get back a prospect that fits our future philosophy, even if it's not a starter.

  • 70-92
    Top positional player: Wellington Castillo
    Top pitcher: Wood
    Breakthrough: Kalish
    Comeback: E Jackson
    New Acquisition: Ruggiano
    Prospect: Olt
    HR Leader: Rizzo
    1st Traded: Veras
    Bonus: Prospect to make the most improvement this year: Underwood

  • fb_avatar

    I seriously considered alternatives to Samardzija but given how important strikeouts are in calculating fWAR and given that Travis Wood is almost certainly looking at a regression, I simply couldn't justify anyone else.

  • Cubs Record: 82-80 (most likely wrong but if I wasn't an optimist I wouldn't be a Cubs fan)

    Top Position Player (per fWAR): Anthony Rizzo

    Top Pitcher (per fWAR): Travis Wood

    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average): Mike Olt

    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average): Jake Arrieta

    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season): Starlin Castro

    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster): Olt

    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR): Mike Olt

    Cubs HR Leader: Lake

    First Player Traded: Darwin Barney

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    Ha. Love the Lake prediction. I wondered if anyone might write that. That would be supercool if he won it with over 25 HR and not 15.

  • fb_avatar

    Record: 67-95

    Position player: Rizzo

    Pitcher: Wood (only because I think Shark and Ejax get moved)

    Surprise player: Mike Olt!

    Surprise pitcher: Hammel

    Comeback guy: Castro

    New Acquisition: Mike Olt!
    Prospect: Mike Olt!

    HRs: Rizzo

    1st Traded: Shark

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    I'm changing my surprise player to Castillo.

    Just realized that "relative to career WAR" didn't really make sense when applied to Olt.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    It could work for both, I think. Olt didn't exactly light it up in his trial but I can see where you are coming from. Not much of a track record to break out from.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. His Rangers cup of coffee 2 years back doesn't seem like a fair point to judge from.

  • fb_avatar

    Cubs Record:
    90-72 (I'll be an eternal optimist)

    Top Position Player (per fWAR):
    Anthony Rizzo

    Top Pitcher (per fWAR):
    Travis Wood

    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average):
    Beef

    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average):
    Jake Arrieta

    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season):
    Starlin Castro

    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster):
    Ryan Kalish

    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR):
    Mike Olt

    Cubs HR Leader:
    Mike Olt

    First traded:
    Nate Schierholtz

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    You may be an optimist Zachary - but I don't think that record would hurt any of our feelings.

  • fb_avatar

    well, I'm with you fellers.

    at least one Fangraphs writer agrees with Felzz on Baez, picking him for ROY.

  • OK, I'll take a shot at this:

    Record: 72-90.
    Top position player per WAR- Rizzo.
    Top pitcher per WAR- Shark.
    Surprise player with highest WAR over career avg.- Kalish.
    Comeback player per WAR last year- Castro.
    New player with biggest impact per WAR- Hammel (or Olt!- close).
    Prospect with highest impact- Olt.
    Cubs HR leader- Olt!
    First player traded- Schierholtz.

    Play ball!

  • Cubs Record: 76-86

    Top Position Player (per fWAR): Anthony Rizzo

    Top Pitcher (per fWAR): Smardzija

    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average): Touch call between Kalish & Ruggiano. I'll go with Ruggiano because I think Kalish and his all out play is still an injury risk...

    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average): Jake Arrieta

    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season): Starlin Castro

    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster): Hammel

    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR): Mike Olt

    Cubs HR Leader: Anthony Rizzo

    First Player Traded: Darwin Barney

  • W-L record prediction 75-87. Cubs dont have either enough offense or enough startin g pitching to be serious contenders. Biggest difference from last year is no Marmho to blow 9th inning leads. I doubt this bullpen will blow 25-30 late leads, like last years team did.

  • I'm surprised none of the writers chose Olt for HR leader. If he sees the ball well and plays everyday I don't think it's crazy to imagine him with a much lower average but more HRs that Rizzo.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I don't think it's crazy and I think Olt will hit his share of bombs, but personally I think Rizzo is in for a very good year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think they have similar raw power, but Olt is a rookie whereas Rizzo is entering his third year. That's the tie-breaker for me.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Makes sense. I personally agree that it will be Rizzo, I was just surprised out of 6 no one went for the wild card in that categort.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    One of the big factors for me with Rizzo was that it appears Valbuena will cut into some of Olt's PA's.

  • Today's Lineup:

    Bonifacio CF
    Lake LF
    Castro SS
    Rizzo 1B
    Olt 3B
    Castillo C
    Schierholtz RF
    Barney 2B
    Samardzija P

    Lake certainly not prototypical No. 2 in the order. Interesting. And why Schierholtz in RF instead of Ruggiano against LHP Liriano?

  • In reply to TTP:

    Cubs looking to get speed at the top, it seems.

    Ruggiano has a sore ankle.

  • Cubs Record:
    • 71-91
    Top Position Player (per fWAR)
    • Castro
    Top Pitcher (per fWAR)
    • Wood - only he and Jackson will get enough starts
    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average)
    • Lake
    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average)
    • Schlitter
    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season)
    • Starlin Castro
    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster)
    • Mike Olt
    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR)
    • Mike Olt, because Baez will not get enough AB
    Cubs HR Leader
    • Anthony Rizzo, followed closely by Lake
    First Player Traded
    • Bonifacio

  • 83-79
    Top positional player: Castro
    Top pitcher: Wood
    Breakthrough: Ruggiano (see Power)
    Comeback: Castro
    New Acquisition: Hammel
    Prospect: Olt (heart hopes its Baez)
    HR Leader: Rizzo
    1st Traded: Schierholtz
    MVP: Starlin Castro

  • Good article, guys.

    1 - 69-93
    2 - Anthony Rizzo
    3 - Jeff Samardzija
    4 - Justin Ruggiano
    5 - Jason Hammel
    6 - Starlin Castro
    7 - Mike Olt/Jason Hammel
    8 - Mike Olt
    9 - Anthony Rizzo
    10 - Darwin Barney

  • Remember the Joe Girardi saga. That felt like years ago.

    It looks like the Cubs may face Tanaka once or twice this year.

    I want to get a protected pick and give the 2015 2nd round pick to the Indians because the Cubs signed Masterson.

    Then 2016 playoff and 2017 World Series.

  • 81-81

    Top position player: Castro

    Top pitcher: Arrieta

    Breakthrough player: Olt

    Breakthrough pitcher: Arrieta

    Comeback player: Castro

    Biggest new acquisition impact: Kalish

    Biggest prospect impact: Olt

    Home run leader: Olt

    First player traded: Samardzija

    Bonus - Castro will be a legitimate all-star.

  • LETS GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • Bonifacio nearly got Willie Mays Hayes'd on that pickoff attempt.

  • Is it just me, or does Castro look like he filled out quite a bit?

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I actually think he looks slimmer than last year.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I thought his midsection looks thinner, his shoulders look bigger.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think he has more lean muscle mass. Weight about the same, but he was a little soft last year.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm not a big prediction guy. I always think I'll look like a dope in 5 months. All I will predict is the Cubs look much better than last year. That they look like they are moving forward.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    That's all we can hope for.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I'd take that as well. Progress and a jumping off point for next season.

  • Lake versus offspeed pitches today :(((((

  • Cubs are seeing a lot of pitches so far, good get Loriano out of there early. But lake just cant layoff that change-up !!!!!

  • Biggest impact surprise at minor league level - Vogelbach with 35 home runs and improvement in defense.
    Baez is expected to shine so will. If Castro bounces back, Baez will see more time at second base and his call up will be after Barney is traded. If Castro doesn't, Baez will be called up and Castro traded.
    First call up from minors will be a pitcher.
    Cubs will draft a high school pitcher in first round and surprise everyone. They will then draft a catcher.

  • fb_avatar

    Pierce Johnson is not on the Kane County, Daytona, or Tennessee tentative roster. Is he at Iowa or currently not listed due to that spring training injury that was supposedly minor?

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    He has a hamstring injury, not supposed to be serious. Eventually he'll go to Tennessee. They may start him out in Daytona a couple of times to take advantage of warm weather though.

  • Very frustrating. Savy pitcher and our guys were over matched.

  • Samardzija is pretty efficient today, gotta like that.

  • I figured out that using the mute button makes the ESPN broadcast much better.

  • fb_avatar

    Record: 73-89
    Position player: Castro
    Pitcher: Samardzija
    Breakthrough player: Olt
    Breakthrough pitcher: Arrieta (though I would pick Jackson if it were relative to just last year)
    Comeback: Castro
    New acquisition: Bonifacio
    Prospect: Baez/Vizcaino (just to have a pitcher and player)
    HR leader: Rizzo
    First traded: Barney

  • 5th time a charm maybe?

    How many times can the Cubs get a leadoff man on and not score in a game?

  • Cubs Record: 75 (I feel like we have turned at least part of Flezz's corner already)
    Top Position Player (per fWAR): Starlin Castro
    Top Pitcher (per fWAR): Jeff Samardzija
    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career average): Welington Castillo
    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average): Jake Arrieta
    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season): Starlin Castro
    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2013 roster): Mike Olt
    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR): Mike Olt (I am not convinced that Baez will be up that soon. I know that you should not make any predictions based on watching one spring training game, but Olt just looked more ready for major league pitching than Baez did at the plate.)
    Cubs HR Leader: Anthony Rizzo
    First Player Traded: Jason Hammel

  • fb_avatar

    With all due respect to the optimists, I think you have to be looking at this season through rose-colored glasses to forecast anything fewer than 95 losses. I'll be satisfied if the following things happen, it order of importance:

    1. The Cubs clearly take a step forward in their overall approach at the plate and OBP.

    2. Castro and Rizzo rebound to have solid seasons, in the neighborhood of .760 or .770 OPS for Castro and .800-.850 for Rizzo.

    3. Samardzija puts together good numbers and fetches in the neighborhood of what the Cubs got for Garza and hopefully a little more (sorry folks, but a top pitching prospect is not coming back this way for Shark).

    4. Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantrara impress in mid-season callups.

    5. Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson put up seasons worthy of Nos. 3 and 4 starters.

    I'll settle for three of these five things happening and will be ecstatic with four.

  • fb_avatar

    0-10 with RISP. That's not gonna win many games.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    But as long as it wins this game I'll be thrilled.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    ....And so much for that idea. Thanks Carlos, can't wait until you're dealt by the ASB.

  • I think we learned some important things today.

    1- We've found our leadoff man for the time being
    2- We worked their starter to 100+ pitches after 6, and ours made it through 7 with less than 100. If that becomes a trend on both sides it's a huge plus
    3- The offense is going to be pretty rough again
    4- The new gray jerseys look fantastic.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    1. Agreed. Emphasis on "for the time being." He was picked off twice and that last pick-off really hurt. So that was infuriating.
    2. Not surprised with Liriano's high pitch count. So not much to hang our hat on there, but point taken and hopefully that does become a trend.
    3. Don't think we learned that today. We've known it for a while.
    4. Yes, love that new road jersey. Cool.

    5. Grinding my teeth at Castro not being able to deliver a fly ball with Bonifacio on 3rd with one out and then Rizzo popping to 3rd.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Yeah, your 3 hitter should always be able to get that man in from third with less than 2 outs, but in Castro's defense, he's no 3 hitter on a good team. Rizzo was extremely frustrating today. I really am rooting for him but there are some seriously gaping holes in his offensive game. I know 20/20 hindsight, and I loved the trade at the time so I can't complain, but having Cashner on the mound tomorrow would be awesome. Especially knowing one of Olt/Bryant/Vogelbach will hit enough to play first..

  • Buzz kill.

    Good pitching, good defense...but that offense, oh that offense.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Bad start for Rizzo, but Liriano is tough. Still I'll take a loss like this any time.

  • John, the 2 Sac bunts gotta be killing you.

    The one with Lake in the 8th was the head-scratcher. Didn't like that one. Hope this won't be a trend with RR.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    They should be killing everyone.

  • We'll get 'em tomorrow!

    Oh, wait . . . . They don't play tomorrow I have always hated the mandatory day off after opening day. I want baseball!

  • After today, I will amend my 81-81 prediction to 41-121.

  • I watched most of the game, but was distracted at many points. What was the hardest hit ball by the Cubs today? Nothing jumps out at all, even hard hit outs, so curious if I missed any.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Barney of all people had two line shots but right at defenders. I don't know if that's more good for Darwin or sad by everyone else.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Given Barney's brutal BABIP last season, it's sad for all of us. For a team that actually changed it's lineup considerably since last season, this was a depressing status quo beginning-- but let's see how the rest of the month goes. I'm still hopeful for a better season.

    But if the Cubs only win 10-12 games in April, this will be an awful first half.

  • Sad to say but I think too many are expecting way too much from Olt. I suspect he will not make it through the season as a Cub.

  • This game had a familiar feel to it. I wander if the Cubs are just going to have to get different core in order to hit with runners in scoring position. Even though it's just one game, this bunch has never been able to execute.

  • Some thoughts on the 1st game of the year...

    W. Castillo called a really good game - I think he takes another step with his receiving skills, game calling, and defense this year. Locks down the catcher position.

    Shark pitched a hell of game. He wasn't shaking off Castillo, not giving in to hitters. He showed maturation as a pitcher, if he does that with consistency, the big strikeout games will come sometimes, but going deep in the game is more important.

    Bonifacio...your table is ready. Making the Cubs look good for giving him a spot. I agree that he should be a Super Sub that plays pretty much every day because of what he brings to the table.

    Rizzo still looks lost against Left Handers with good breaking stuff. His only hope is a mistake pitch or getting a hold of a FB. I could see Olt taking 1st base against some of the tougher lefties this year if Rizzo continues to struggles vs LHP's.

    I have high hopes for what looks like a new approach to hitting from Darwin Barney. If his mindset turns to OBP like it should be for a player like him, if he can draw walks at a good rate, hit the ball the other way, etc. it will make him much more valuable to both the Cubs and any team looking for a gold glove caliber middle infielder with good OBP skills.

    In my mind, the Cubs aren't true contenders this year anyways. This is a transition year for the organization and especially the big league club. So as crazy as it sounds, if the young players continue to develop, the veterans play well enough to have trade value, and the team continues to play the right way then I don't mind losing in the 10th inning. I don't mind getting one last big trade deadline haul to replace the top tier talent which will be arriving at the majors this year and next. I don't min losing 10 more games in a transition season, so the Cubs can get the #1 pick next year (and the top money pool that goes with it) and the #1 International free agent money, and the 1st claim on the waiver wire next year. Might as well stock up huge as it should be out last year at the bottom. The organization would be bursting at the seams with talent and options next year. As many have said, the road to winning is not linear.

  • I am going with 69-93, while one part of me sees an improvement, I also see Castro staying the same and only Rizzo having a good year.

  • Cubs Record: 74-88; april schedule is brutal. Considering having a new manager, and a lot of moving parts to acclimate too. But i also feel that this team will hit their stride and will see that tide turn.

    Top Position Player (per fWAR): Castillo

    Top Pitcher (per fWAR): Large Marg

    Breakthrough/Surprise Player (highest fWAR relative to career: i am hot on Castillo. Big jump.

    Breakthrough/Surprise Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to career average): Large Marg.

    Comeback Player/Pitcher (highest fWAR relative to last season): Starlin Castro

    Which new acquisition will make the biggest impact in 2014 (highest fWAR of any player who was not on Cubs active 2014 roster): Grady Sizemore.

    What prospect will make the biggest impact in 2014 (per fWAR): Lake

    Cubs HR Leader: Olt

    First Player Traded: Russell

    Biggest disappointment: rizzo; dan vogelbach, your table is ready.

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