|C||Geovany Soto||SP 1||Carlos Zambrano|
|1B||Derrek Lee||SP 2||Ryan Dempster|
|2B||Mike Fontenot||SP 3||Ted Lilly|
|3B||Aramis Ramirez||SP 4||Randy Wells|
|SS||Ryan Theriot||SP 5||Tom Gorzelanny|
|CF||Marlon Byrd||CL||Carlos Marmol|
|RF||Kosuke Fukudome||RP||John Grabow|
|IF||Jeff Baker||RP||Sean Marshall|
|OF||Xavier Nady||RP||Carlos Silva|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|CF||Marlon Byrd||Free Agency||RF||Milton Bradley||Trade (SEA)|
|SP||Carlos Silva||Trade (SEA)||IF||Jake Fox||Trade (OAK)|
|RP||Kevin Gregg||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Starlin Castro (SS), Josh Vitters (3B), Esmailin Caridad (P), Brett Jackson (OF)
The Cubs came into 2009 expecting to be the class of the NL Central. Injuries to key players (Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez), and poor production by others (Geovany Soto, Milton Bradley) led the team to an 83-78 record, finishing 7.5 games behind the rival Cardinals. The season really was a bit of a mess, as drama surrounding Milton Bradley hung over the team for a majority of the season, leading to his suspension in September, and eventual trade in the offseason.
The Cubs did have a few bright spots though. On offense, 1B Derrek Lee (.306, 35 HR, 111 RBI) led the way, and SS Ryan Theriot performed well also (.284, 21 SB, 7 HR). In the rotation, Ted Lilly (12-9, 3.10), and Ryan Dempster (11-9, 3.64) both pitched very well. The surprise of the season was probably rookie pitcher Randy Wells, who posted a 12-10 record with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts.
Team Outlook for 2010
The Cubs spent most of their offseason trying to rebuild their clubhouse culture. They were able to rid themselves of RF Milton Bradley, but were forced to take back the equally bad contract of SP Carlos Silva. They signed good-clubhouse guy Kevin Millar to a minor league deal, and could have him on the team as a backup for a few positions. Overall, this team is expected to perform this season. Their pitching, led by Carlos Zambrano, will be solid once Ted Lilly returns from his injury (mid-April is the current ETA). They will be looking for bounceback seasons from both C Geovany Soto and LF Alfonso Soriano, as well as a full season of performance from 3B Aramis Ramirez. The NL Central is not a particularly tough division this season, as neither the Astros or Pirates are expected to be particularly competitive. But the Cubs are getting older, as 6 of their everyday players will be over 30 during this season. They could be looking at a rebuilding effort in the coming seasons if they are not performing to expectations.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
The best of this group is probably SP’s Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells, and 1B Derrek Lee. 3B Aramis Ramirez should be fine now that he returned from his injury, and should also be a top-10 3B. OF Marlon Byrd had a great season last year, although I’m not 100% sold he can repeat that again. In deeper leagues, I would look at both SS Ryan Theriot, who will provide some runs and steals, and 2B Mike Fontenot. If Fontenot can successfully hold onto the job, he should provide some solid stats for deep leagues.
Prediction for 2010
The Cubs are hoping that this is the season they are finally able to win a World Series, and I think that the team they have built can at least compete for that. They may need a little luck, as the top of the division is kind of bunched together, but I think that they have the pitching to sustain.
87-75, 1st in the NL Central