Spring 2011 Mega Preview: Jeff Baker

When used properly, Jeff Baker absolutely can be an asset to a big-league club.  Unfortunately, that wasn't always the case last year.  Coming into 2010, some were expecting a big break-out season from Baker.  After being discarded by the Rockies early in 2009, the Cubs picked him up and he posted an OPS of .810 in part-time duty the rest of the season.  With Theriot starting at SS when last season started (biding his time until Starlin Castro was to be called up) - the everyday job was there for the taking for Baker.  It didn't happen.

Baker batted just .214 in April, and it was around this point that Lou Piniella seemed to lose confidence in him.  He only got 28 plate appearances in May, a month that coincided with the arrival of Starlin Castro - pushing Ryan Theriot to 2B, and pushing Baker firmly to the end of the bench.  When Theriot was traded, the Cubs got another 2B in return (Blake DeWitt), and Baker never could get full-time duty at the keystone.  He was asked to fill in for Aramis Ramirez due to injuries, however.

What I'd like to see happen in 2011 is simple:  When left-handed pitchers start, Baker plays 2B and bats 7th or 8th.  Last year Baker hit .350 and slugged .550 against southpaws in 152 plate appearances.  It's that simple, just fill him into the lineup every single time.  Against righties he should come off the bench (unless its a pinch start for someone who's banged up) and be used as a late inning bat off the bench.  What's better is fellow 2B DeWitt hits righties better.  Pure platoon at 2B.  SIGN.  ME.  UP.
Unless of course Darwin Barney just blows us away this year... 

Filed under: Cubs, Jeff Baker, Season Previews

Tags: Jeff Baker

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  • Another nightmare outing from Silva.

  • Just awful!

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