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Cubs Wed Mar 28 2012

Cubs' Batting Order Has Simple Solution

Cubs_200.pngEarlier this week, Cubs manager Dale Sveum told reporters, "I've probably lost more sleep over our batting order than anything as far as camp's gone."

If he's lost more than 18 seconds of slumber over it, then he really needs to see a doctor about a serious case of insomnia.

For a team that's struggling to put major-league caliber players at many positions on the field, a batting order shouldn't be a primary worry for Sveum. And if it is, what's going to happen when the team is talented enough to amass expectations of a playoff berth or a division title?

David DeJesus has already been penciled into the leadoff spot for the Cubs, and Alfonso Soriano will likely man the three, four, or five hole in the lineup. Other than that, Sveum claims, "Nothing's etched in stone."

To save him the $10 co-pay for a visit to the doctor, here's the order the Cubs should roll with on Opening Day (with notes).

Batting Order - Bill James' projected AVG/OBP/SLG

1. RF David DeJesus - .271/.349/.404

2. C Geovany Soto - .252/.345/.450 (Byrd will bat here to keep his trade value high, but Soto takes more pitches and draws more walks)

3. SS Starlin Castro - .312/.354/.441 (Despite his OPS being roughly .250 points lower than any other position last year)

4. 1B Bryan LaHair - .273/.335/.474 (To break up the righties)

5. LF Alfonso Soriano - .252/.308/.469 (Until the inevitable 0-for-24 slump)

6. CF Marlon Byrd - .275/.329/.412 (Would bat eight or nine in most AL lineups)

7. 3B Ian Stewart - .247/.328/.444

8. 2B Darwin Barney - .275/.317/.356 (Thankfully he's an above-average defender)

Before getting too excited, note that the Bill James projections are typically favorable to hitters.

It's doubtful a major lineup swap will occur barring a drastic change in the club over the coming days, but rumors of Marlon Byrd being shopped made the rounds again this afternoon. Though nothing new, general manager Jed Hoyer did say, "I wouldn't be surprised if we made a move [before Opening Day]."

If Brett Jackson does end up in Chicago on April 5th, he'll more than likely slide into the two or six slot just like Byrd did. It's also possible that despite a Byrd departure, the front office may decide to keep Jackson in the minors for a couple of months to hold his arbitration back a year and save money down the road.

Either way, Sveum's main job should remain developing young players and hoping he's still around when the team makes the talent leap into playoff contention.

 
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