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Mike Quade has announced the Chicago Cubs’ lineup for Sunday’s Spring Training opener:

Kosuke Fukudome, RF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Geovany Soto, C
Blake DeWitt, 2B
Pitcher

Obviously, it’s just a Spring Training lineup, but, given that these are the presumed starters, the tea leaves are screaming: as of right now, this is how Quade likes the lineup. It’s not horrible, but I have two beefs: (1) Marlon Byrd, God love his attitude and effort, should not be batting third, and getting more at bats than Ramirez, Soto, Pena and Soriano – his production simply doesn’t support it; and (2) how much longer must Geovany Soto be one of the best hitters on the team and yet toil away in the bottom third of the order? I’d like to see him and Castro swapped.

  • steve

    This is how the order should be:
    1. Fukudome
    2. Castro
    3. Pena
    4. Ramirez
    5. Soto
    6. soriano
    7. byrd
    8. dewitt
    Ramirez and pena can flip flop. but youre right, byrd shouldnt come close to batting third. maybe second, but quade has already said castro is #2

  • Chuck

    This is what I would do:
    1. Fukudome
    2. Byrd
    3. Soto
    4. Ramirez
    5. Pena
    6. Soriano
    7. Castro
    8. dewitt

    Could be tough with high K guys Pena and Soriano back-to-back though..

  • Jeffrey Gross

    Disagree with all

    The most important positions in the lineup are 2, 1, 4, 3, 5 (in that order). I would make the lineup thusly:

    1. Fukudome
    2. Soto
    3. Ramirez
    4. Pena
    5. Soriano
    6. Castro
    7. Byrd
    8. dewitt

    • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

      Soto is way too slow to be batting 2nd. Too much risk of double plays. I see him 5th or maybe 3rd

      • Ace

        Better to have a double play to risk than to not have a baserunner at all.

        • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

          What’s so bad about Castro batting second where he hit .307? And, he can bunt.

          • Ace

            Without going into a rant on batting average as a useful stat, I’ll just say that I didn’t say it was bad – I just said Soto would better.

            Also, sacrifice bunts by anyone other than a pitcher are dumb.

            • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

              I’m not talking about sacrifice, which I agree is dumb. I’m talking about the ability to bunt for hits, which draws the infield in, gives them more to think about and increases the chance of a stolen base.

              • Chris

                bunting is just a no no. If that is the qualifier for who is chosen to bat second, then I just give up on life.

                • PFK

                  As I said subsequently, i’m not at all for bunting to sacrifice. A player who can bunt for hits in addition to other hitting abilities, is very dangerous because the infield has to be aware and play for the possibility of a bunt. That opens things up and actually increases the ability to get a regular swinging hit. If there is someone on base it increases the pressure on the defense and gives them that much more to think about. Which is why, ultimately, Castro will probably be a leadoff hitter. The great leadoff hitters had the ability to bunt for hits. Most people, for some reason, have forgotten about that ability and all they think about is sacrifice. Castro is also good about hitting to the opposite field, another good trait and especially valuable for a number 2 hitter.

                  • Ace

                    One point on which I disagree – longterm, I don’t see Castro as a leadoff hitter. With his frame, he could (and should) fill out into a very nice middle of the order type.

                    • PFK

                      Yea, you’re probably right about that. He could even be a number 3. My concern is that the Cubs try too hard to make him a power hitter and screw him up in the process. He’s still so young and alot of developing to do. Unbelievable potential for this guy.

                  • Bric

                    I agree. One of the biggest mistakes Lou made was not letting Fuke try to bunt for a hit more when he led off. Occasionally he’d square around as if to try it but since the infield knew it was just a ploy (Lou wouldn’t actually let him do it), they wouldn’t even move an inch in. Result, a wasted called strike.
                    If Fuke is ever going to be an effective lead off hitter he’s going to have to be given the oportunity to take more walks and try to bunt for hits. He already uses all fields, which is good, and is a good baserunner but doesn’t have enough contact to be expected to hit everything thrown at him until he puts one in play.

    • Tex

      Mike- Those are some plodders you have at the top of the lineup. I don’t think you can take Castro out of the top of the lineup since the Cubs have 0 team speed as it is. I like Ramirez in the 3 spot though. If Fuko is starting…I would go this way..

      1 Fuko
      2 Castro
      3 ARam
      4 Pena
      5 Byrd
      6 Soriano
      7Soto
      8 DeWitt

      Against a lefthander see below

      1. Byrd
      2. Castro
      3. ARam
      4. Pena
      5. Soriano
      6 Soto
      7 Colvin
      8. Baker

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Castro
    Fukudome
    Soto
    Ramirez
    Pena
    Soriano
    Byrd
    DeWitt

    • Hogan

      If Castro can handle leadoff duties, and Soo keeps improving, then this is the best lineup. Except I like Colvin rotating with Byrd and Soriano until Fukudome hits his swoon.

  • jh

    Well since we are suggesting what SHOULD happen and not necessarily what will happen, I am curious everyone’s thoughts on the ideal lineups should Q go with the logical but unlikely platoon approach….

    Vs. Lefties

    1. Baker
    2. Byrd
    3. Ramirez
    4. Soriano
    5. Pena
    6. Castro
    7. Soto
    8. Colvin
    9. Pitch

    Baker rakes against lefties and can run (technically). Byrd is a good situational hitter and will shorten up to drive in a quick run. Rami/Sori/Pena no surprises here. Castro/Soto/Colvin as the 6,7,8 compares favorably to a lot of NL teams. Just enough left handed presence to keep the pitcher honest.

    Vs. Righties

    1. Fukudome
    2. Castro
    3. Ramirez
    4. Pena
    5. Soto
    6. Colvin
    7. Byrd
    8. DeWitt
    9. Pitch

    Fukudome is great against righties as everyone knows (OBP is .50 higher). Castro can hit 2nd where Q has said he likes him. Rami/ Pena could be flip-flopped. Soto isn’t phenomenal against righties but I’d rather have him even ripped out of his mind before Hill. Colvin & Byrd pack some punch at the end and there is a night R/L mix throughout.

    • Gyeva

      You would want fukudome 1 against lefties cause of his average and to create an average

  • Mike S

    Byrd
    Castro
    Ramirez
    Pena
    Soto
    Fukudome
    Soriano
    Dewitt

  • Mark

    Soto batting second, that’s just weird. More importantly, why is there no comment on Colvin?

    • terry

      Right, I was afraid of this. Colvin should be in the lineup at least against rightys and we still dont have a legit leadoff man.

  • Bric

    Spring training is for seeing what works. I don’t doubt there’s optimism because for the first time in five years there are no big expectations, a new manager, and alot of fresh faces. We’ll get a real sense of how this thing is going to work in the next two weeks by answering 2 simple questions: is the starting rotation going to live up to hopes and expectations and is Quade going to let the batters think for themselves.
    As much as Lou was a good coach, he tended to micromanage too much, which put too much stress on the players, especially in the late innings. He’d automatically call for a bunt in the seventh inning, automatically put in Marmol, automatically pull Soriano, etc. We’ll know what kind of a coach Quade is (last years’ wins aren’t a good indicator), if he lets Fuke walk, bunt, and strike out looking more without dropping him in the order. Hopefully he will. I’d rather him strike out on a border line call then automatically ground out to the 2nd basemen on a pitch he didn’t feel comfortable swinging at.

  • Art

    I never was a Louie fan, but he didn’t stop any leadoff man from bunting to get on base. no manager would. maybe if Soriano tried bunting it would have surprised Louie, but no I don’t believe he stopped Fukudome.

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