A Way Too Early Guess at the Cubs' Opening Day Roster

A Way Too Early Guess at the Cubs' Opening Day Roster
Will Mike Olt be on the Cubs' Opening Day roster?

At this point I'm still not decided on whether or not Mike Olt should start at third on the Cubs' Opening Day roster. It may be a better long-term move to send him to Iowa. I don't know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

But I know where Olt wants to be, which is with the Chicago team, and I know his strategy for getting a spot with that club, and that's hit a frickin' bunch of home runs. Olt executed on that strategy once again last night, hitting a bomb to the opposite field a day after being benched to let his shoulder heal up.

Another guy that obviously wants to be in Chicago is Ryan Kalish (YES I GET IT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A BIG LEAGUER BUT JUST LET ME HAVE THIS ONE WRITING DEVICE PLEASE). Kalish has a slightly different strategy from Olt's; his plan is to get on base a frickin' bunch. Guy has eight hits and five walks in 30 plate appearances, good for a .433 on-base. He smoked a double last night.

I agree with you that, in general, spring stats don't mean a damn. But when I tweeted that generalization out last night, @spncrpatterson astutely argued that spring stats *can* matter -- particularly for guys on the edge of the roster. And I think he's right.

So with Olt and Kalish both hitting pretty well* as of right now, let's go ahead and guess on the 25-man roster, as well as the Opening Day lineups (yes there will be two because this team has a lot of potential platooning going on).

(*Olt's OBP is actually just .273 right now, with 11 K to just 1 BB, but I think he thinks that he doesn't think he can get to the bigs by walking a bunch, and I think that's probably right.)

OK, let's do this; lefties get stars:

C: Castillo, Kottaras*

IF: Rizzo*, Castro, Valbuena*, Barney, Olt, Murphy

OF: Schierholtz*, Lake, Ruggiano, Sweeney*, Kalish*

SP: Samardzija, Wood*, Jackson, Hammel, and I'm gonna go with Rusin* until Arrieta comes back

RP: Veras, Strop, Wright*, Russell*, Villanueva, Rondon, Parker

I think that's actually not a very controversial guess. The only real glaring omission is Emilio Bonifacio, but let me remind you that the "versatile" speedster has a .662 career OPS in the major leagues -- 23 points worse than Donnie Murphy. So you can fret about that if you want but I don't think it's a big deal.

Lineup vs RHP might be:

Valbuena*

Castro

Rizzo*

Schierholtz*

Olt

Castillo

Kalish

Sweeney

That is totally made up and based on the comments of no one. Now let's address all the problems you have with it.

If Olt plays third, I think you have to strongly consider putting Valbuena in at second over Barney. Batting Castro second splits up the lefties a bit. And I realize Junior Lake is young and exciting and all that but I don't know if he's THAT exciting.

In reality, the Cubs will probably use a gazillion different lineups to start the year to see who can hit and who can't. So Lake and Barney fans can cool their jets.

Lineup vs LHP might be:

Castro

Lake

Rizzo*

Olt

Schierholtz*

Ruggiano

Castillo

Barney

It's probably too much to ask for Olt to bat fourth or fifth, but, like, where else are you going to put him?

OK, I'm done. Please commence with the complaining.

@AJWalsh08

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Comments

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  • Bonifacio has made the team.

  • I think Cabrera makes it over Rondon. I agree with rest of picks as of now.

  • In reply to Craig:

    Agree on Cabrera. There is no way they risk losing him for nothing when Rondon can be sent down freely at this point.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Cool, you've convinced me.

  • In reply to AJ Walsh:

    I'm that convincing all the time.

  • Probably pretty close but I think Bonafacio gets a spot and plant time as well.

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