Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chicago Cubs Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs:  78-84 (1st), lost in first round to Pittsburgh
Offense:  778 runs (4th)
Pitching:  4.76 ERA (14th)

Major Changes
FA departures:  2B Greg Frye,  1B/OF Donn Stafford, SP Vince Borbon, SP Al Amezaga,  1B Dean Darensbourg, LR Wendell Coveleski

Promoted:  IF Mel Frascatore (Sea 17 #11 overall), SP Jesus Francisco (Sea 17 IFA), LR Ross Stewart (Sea 16 #12 overall), RP Tony Blanco (Sea 18 IFA)

Season 21 Outlook
Rico Uribe (270 HR's in his 1st 6 seasons) has been one of the top hitters in the NL since he came into the league.  He and top-of-the-order CF Julio Osoria form the core of this offense.  The Cubs would benefit greatly if Luke Gleason would start fulfilling his immense promise...he looked like he was off to a brilliant career in Season 19, but regressed in only 359 AB's last year.

Adrian Tipton is solid at C, and Mel Frascatore will step into an infield spot and could well show up on the ROY ballot at yearend.  The rest of the lineup is a work in progress, and could really use one more solid bat at 3B or LF.

Midre Johnson is the rotation #1 - he's been good in his first 3 seasons, but I think his best years are still ahead.  Horacio Hernandez has been a solid #2, and rookie Jesus Francisco gets a shot at #3 (watch out for that short pitch selection, though).  Morrie Easton, Ross Stewart and Rafael Olmeda are battling for the last 2 spots.

Bailey Mercedes still has a tenuous hold on the closer's job(10 blown saves last year).  Watch for rookie Tony Blanco to take over that role shortly.  Overall the bullpen is better than many but far from Mets-like.

Can these guys make a big move and get to 90 wins?  Absolutely - they won 95 (and the WS) in Season 18 and 97 in Season 19 with some of the same roster.  But they still have some work to do to make that happen.

No comments: