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As we’ve discussed, you always have to take Spring Training numbers with a grain of salt. You never know exactly what veterans are doing with their Spring time – maybe they’re working on particular pitches, focusing on defense, or working on taking pitches at the plate. Sure, when a guy is actively competing for a spot on the roster, then it’s fair to judge him by the numbers. But for veterans and guys who are locked into the roster, you read too much into statistics at your own peril.

That’s why you’ve read very little from me about Kosuke Fukudome’s rough Spring at the plate or Starlin Castro’s sparkling one. Neither is in a meaningful competition for playing time (yes, you could argue that Fukudome is competing with Tyler Colvin, but the truth is, at this point, Fukudome is going to get his at bats, and Colvin will get his), so there isn’t a whole lot of value in focusing on their numbers.

But, given that the two are expected to bat at the top of the order, I can understand the interest in how they’re doing at the plate this Spring. Specifically, folks are interested in whether Castro should be considered for the leadoff spot (the marketing department appears to think so, after comparing Castro to Derek Jeter in a recent campaign), and point to Fukudome’s .194 Spring average (and .324 OBP) and Castro’s .444 Spring average (and .459 OBP).

Manager Mike Quade, however, is unmoved. He has decided, despite the Spring numbers, to stick to his original plan of a Kosuke Fukudome/Jeff Baker platoon in the leadoff spot on most days, with Starlin Castro staying in the two-hole. For now, it’s the right decision.

Talk to me in late April if you think a change is appropriate – then we’ll have some real numbers to look at.

  • Dingo

    Castro
    Byrd
    Soto
    Ramirez
    Perez
    Soriano
    Colvin
    DeWitt/Baker
    Pitcher

    Thats probably how I would structure it.

    Why they always put Soto at 7 is beyond me…

    • Dingo

      I meant Pena, but all should have figure that out

      • Ace

        Nope. You said Perez, and now you’re stuck with it. Let’s all laugh at Dingo.

  • wax_eagle

    Have to say I would be a bit worried about Castro’s OBP I realize its high, but 15pts above BA is not great….Especially at the top of the order.

    • Hogan

      Its spring stats. When you are getting a hit in half of the 30 or so at bats, it doesn’t leave much room for walks. Look at his numbers from last year and those 15 points go up to 47, still not amazing, but solid.

      • wax_eagle

        True enough. Plus he is a kid, he will learn patience…

  • Willis

    Against Lefties:

    Baker
    Castro
    Byrd
    Ramirez
    Pena
    Soto
    Soriano
    Colvin

    Against Righties:

    Castro
    Byrd
    Ramirez
    Pena
    Soto
    Colvin
    Soriano
    DeWitt

  • KB

    Quade was quoted as saying that Geo Soto, while not fast, is perhaps the team’s best/smartest base-runner.

    That’s just one more good reason to bat him in the upper third of the order.

    • jeff

      I agree KB. While I think Castro may eventually become a leadoff guy, he could also become a very good number 3 hitter if he develops some pop. I think Soto makes a pretty good number 2 hitter, good OBP, doesn’t strike out much, puts the ball in play, smart baserunner. As long as he stays off the chronic, he has the smarts and patience to be a great number 2 guy.

      • Ace

        I definitely see Castro’s long-term future as more of a number 3 type than a number 1.

    • Ace

      Seeing him getting fewer at bats than almost any other Cub regular is going to stick in our craw once again this year…

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