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Batting order discussions tend to bring two strong opinions about the discussion, itself: (1) batting order doesn’t matter, this is stupid; or (2) batting order is everything, and the Cubs keep losing games because of it.

And that’s before you even get into actually tussling about the batting order.

I reckon we’ll see these disputes play out over the next few weeks, because, when it comes to the Cubs’ batting order, there are a dozen reasonable permutations. Not because the Cubs have so many great options, you see.

Dale Sveum recently the discussed the issue, through the lens of where to bat Starlin Castro:

Sveum has plenty of options for Castro, including the leadoff spot, but doesn’t seem fixated on just one role for his young hitter.

“It’s an intriguing question, and a lot of lineups are going to be out by the way guys perform in spring training because right now going in we don’t have that bona fide leadoff, that bona fide third, fourth, fifth hitter, so we’ve got some guys that have had some success but not super at the big-league level,” Sveum said. …

“You can make numbers look any way you want but there’s always that decision to make with great hitters like [Castro],” Sveum said. “When do we put him in that three or four or five spot? It comes a time where you can’t just sit there all the time like he’s comfortable in the two spot and leave him there when we need him in other spots.”

For now, I don’t see how you can justify batting Castro anywhere other than one of the top three spots in the order, primarily because you want him getting the most at bats on your team. Eventually, Castro is going to develop into a middle of the order hitter, and so I can see the reason to bat him 3rd this year (his struggles there last season notwithstanding).

  • JXH

    If I remember correctly, Marlon batted well out of the 2 hole last year (correct me if I am wrong). Therefore, I can see a lineup that looks like this:

    DeJesus
    Byrd
    Castro
    LaHair
    Stewart
    Soriano
    Soto
    Barney (or whoever)
    P

    Stewart/Soriano/Soto is really a toss up where they go.

    • TWC

      Wasn’t 2010 Byrd’s good 2-hole season?  Seemed like last year he bat third, and did a fairly blah job at that.

      • SirCub

        In the 2-hole last year, Byrd had 1 PA, 1 BB, and 1 R. In 2010 he had 50 PA’s there and put up a .404/.440/.574 line.

        Now if you average over those two years he had an OBP of .720. That’s pretty good, right?

        • TWC

          Ha.  Yeah, let’s do this again.

    • Dustin S

      This is probably the most likely lineup posted so far, at least for the 1st half of the season. They will be trying to get more ABs for Byrd/Soriano and maybe Soto before the trade deadline for mid-season deals. Campana will be in the mix with Byrd sliding over on those days, depending how good or bad Soriano is this year.

      On a side-note, Twins (and Brewers) single-game tickets go on sale Saturday. Think I may do a road-trip up for the Cubs series. Haven’t been to Target Field yet.

      • Mick

        Oh man, you’ve got to come to Target Field. I live in Mpls and my secret is, I don’t buy a seat. I go to the gate on gameday, buy a standing room only ticket for $25 and wander around the stadium between innings. They’ve got a bar behind homeplate on the 3rd level that the windows are opened up or there’s an area in right field that’s perfect to watch the game. Don’t expect to snag an open seat before the 8th inning though because every game will sell out and people actually do attend and stay for the whole games.

        • Katie

          That’s a good idea. I’ll be up there in June for the Cubs series & I’m trying to go through all my contacts & find someone with tickets and so far no dice.

  • Boog

    DeJesus
    Castro
    LaHair
    Byrd
    Stewart
    Soto
    Soriano
    Barney

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  • http://windycityweekly.com WindyCityWeekly

    How about a mid-season lineup:

    Campana
    Stewart
    Castro
    LaHair
    Byrd
    Soriano
    Soto
    Barney
    P

    • King Jeff

      How about no? You just replaced DeJesus with Campana, which is a net loss in almost all facets of the game.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    Pre Jackson / Rizzo

    DeJesus (RF)
    Barney (2B)
    Casto (SS)
    LaHair (1B)
    Soriano (LF)
    Stewart (3B)
    Byrd (CF)
    Soto ( C)

    After Jackson / Rizzo

    DeJesus (RF)
    Castro (SS)
    Rizzo (1B)
    LaHair (LF)
    Soto ( C)
    Stewart (3B)
    Jackson (CF)
    Barney (2B)

    And I have to say, I kind of like that second lineup. Left handed hitters throughout, potentially high OBP guys throughout, some nice speed and base running at the bottom of the order to maximize RBI chances for Castro… that second lineup might be pretty decent.

    • hardtop

      talk about a youth movement.  if there was any doubt that this team is rebuilding take a look at lineup two.

      castro- second full season in the majors

      rizzo- first full season

      lahair-first full season

      jackson-first full season

      barney- second full season

      5 of 8 under two years…. wow!  and considering stewarts not old and has been called-up and sent-down with injury and crappy play, hes really only in his thrid full season (though i suspect he’s run out of “upside”)

      even with soriano messing up the average age, we are a super young team.  crazy how much has changed in one off season.  we must have been one of the older squads last year with ramis and pena on the corners.

      i personally dont love lineup two it as is… i guess i should say it scares me a little.  to many unknowns, but if some potential was realized before implementing it, it could be pretty sexy.

      i have a gut feeling that byrd is going to have a nice year and is more likely to stay in the lineup than his less poweful brethren ‘the jesus’.  this is based on basically nothing stats or predictor wise, just a gut.  of course, a solid first half means he wont be with the club when lineup two possibly come around…as he likely will get shipped out to a contender… that’d be a good problem to have.

    • CubFan Paul

      that 2nd lineup does look decent but still bleek at 2B with Cardenas getting no love on his upside. no way is Barney’s defense & subpar offensive skills worth more than Adrian Cardenas’ LH batting & higher OBP (but avg defense thats fixable)

      Pre Jackson / Rizzo

      RF Dejesus
      SS Castro
      CF Byrd
      1B LaHair
      C Soto
      3B Stewart
      LF Soriano
      2B Cardenas

      After Jackson / Rizzo / Clevenger

      RF Dejesus
      3B Stewart
      SS Castro
      1B Rizzo
      LF LaHair/Soriano (cost too much trade)
      2B Cardenas
      CF BJax
      C Clevenger (makes the team out of camp as the backup & gets 1st shot after a soto trade)

      ..thats a heavy LH lineup potentially in the second half of the season

    • Dave H

      Don’t know if you would want a rookie 1b in the three hole. Veteran guy would need to be there. Would put Barney back up there if need be. I know that isn’t a REAL veteran guy but hey more experience. Try Riz somewhere in murder’s row.

      • King Jeff

        Trumbo and Freddie Freeman both hit pretty low in the order to start out last year, and I think that’s the correct course of action for Rizzo as well. As bad as it sounds, LaHair, Soriano, and probably Soto are the three best options for the 3, 4, and 5 spots, unless Stewart is absolutely killing it coming out of spring training.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Campana
    Dejesus
    Castro
    LaHair
    Soriano
    Soto
    Stewart
    Barney

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      If my hope that Campana win the CF job fails, then
      Dejesus
      Barney
      Castro
      LaHair
      Soriano
      Soto
      Stewart
      Byrd

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        You would take Campana over Byrd?

        The only way Campana is useful as a starter is if he gets his OBP up around .340-.350. Dude needs to work on how to drag bunt and slap the ball to the 3rd baseman. Make them play the 3rd baseman in 10 feet from the plate and then start slapping it past him.

        • Jay Anderson Jr

          There is nobody I’m cheering for harder then Campana. He’s working hard. I willing to bet he’s a .320 OBP guy, at which point, he becomes our best option at leadoff.

          • SirCub

            .320 OBP our best option at leadoff? Ugh. The worst part about that is that I can see it being true.

            • Myles

              I think people look at Campana the wrong way. He had a 0.9 dWAR last year, and clearly has the speed (if not the instincts, which *hopefully* will come with experience) to play +CF (the arm will never get there, sadly). He’s a threat on the basepaths, and even as a hardcore sabermetrician I have to admit he provides a benefit on the basepaths, not only through SB (around 73% is the break-even point for that, and Campana will almost certainly steal around 85-90% of his bases- he consistently gets the best jumps in the game) but the “hidden” value of getting to third from first more often than not, or even home from first or second. He also will remotely raise the OBP of anyone hitting behind him (the instances on base- this can be somewhat canceled by the damper he puts on their OBP by making outs :( ). His value right now is as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement, mostly by replacing either Byrd or Soriano, even though I shudder to think how his arm might play in LF. For the league minimum, that’s pretty good. He might develop some patience or a great bunt and get his OBP up to .320 or .330; that’s still a LONG way from leadoff, and probably plays right at the 7 hole, where he can move himself over and hope for a sac fly from the 8 or 9 to get him in.

              • King Jeff

                He’s perfect for a role player, as long as his defensive positioning gets a whole lot better. Campana might improve his batting eye, and thus his OBP, over the course of his career, but he needs to make a a large jump at some point if he is to become an effective leadoff guy.

          • ferrets_bueller

            …..320, leadoff?

          • David

            What in the world?

            a .320 OBP would be the worst leadoff option on many teams.

            Campana hitting leadoff would be a very, very bad thing, even if he can manage a .320 OBP in the majors (which is bad).

            Putting Barney in the 2 spot is terrible, too. He’s likely to be our worst everyday hitter and should be at the bottom of the order.

            • Jay Anderson Jr

              You guys are down on Campana and Barney, I’m not. Barney is not great, but he is ok. I believe Campana has a lot of value. I’m really big on him

              • David

                You said that with a .320 OBP (which is bad) he’d be our best leadoff option (i.e. the guy getting the most at bats on the team). Explain yourself.

                And name one projected Cubs regular who is likely to be a less productive hitter than Barney.

                • Kyle

                  Ian Stewart.

                  • TWC

                    And THERE’S the love.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Boo.

                    • Kyle

                      Well, I mean, Barney did outhomer him last year.

                  • David

                    I’d bet against that.

                  • hardtop

                    is that the real projection or just what you believe?  it could be both i guess: stewarts numbers have been abysmal recently and barneys numbers may have been deceivingly good, meaning better than their real life value.   im with you by the way…. ill try to have an open mind but i dont have high expectations for stewart… rockies fans are thrilled to be rid of him even with no answer ,at the time anyway, at third.

                  • TWC

                    “Well, I mean, Barney did outhomer him last year.”

                    I know.  Your distaste for him just tickles me.

                • Jay Anderson Jr

                  The fact of the matter is, on this team, a .320 OBP with that speed is our best option. Castro would be better, but him in the 3 hole. Maybe Dejesus, but if Castro hits 3, we need him at 2. That leaves Campana as the only other option at leadoff. Put Dejesus and Castro at 2 and 3 and give me a better option.

                  • Kyle

                    A .320 OBP is never the best option to give the most at-bats on the team to.

                    Better options, excluding Castro and DeJesus, include Sappelt, Byrd, Soto, LaHair and Reed Johnson.

                  • David

                    No, you don’t put a bad hitter at the top of the order just because he’s fast.

                    DeJesus, Byrd/Castro, Castro/Byrd would be a far better 1,2,3 than anything involving Campana.

                    Speed doesn’t matter much when you’re not getting on base.

                    • BetterNews

                      Agreed. DeJesus seems like a no-brainer for the lead-off position.

                    • Cubbiecop

                      Ok, I’m sure i’ll get slammed for this but I would rather see Reed Johnson bat lead off than Campana, even with the speed difference. Johnson had a good batting average last year… We could be worse. Bench Soriano and put Johnson in LF. Then we would have

                      Johnson (LF)
                      Dejesus (RF)
                      Castro (SS)
                      Lahair (1B)
                      Byrd (CF)
                      Soto (C)
                      Stewart (3rd)
                      Barney (2nd)

                      I think this will maximize our speedier players to get on base and set up our middle of the order (which sadly doesn’t excite me) Hopefully Dejesus and Stewart have career years. Thoughts anyone??

        • SirCub

          With his kind of speed and bat, he needs to try some kind of trickstery crap like that *every* time he comes up.

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        After Rizzo/Jackson/Vitters

        CF Jackson
        3B Vitters
        SS Castro
        RF LaHair
        LF Soriano
        1B Rizzo
        C Soto
        2B Stewart

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          I’d rather not lead off with Jackson yet. Eventually, perhaps, but his strikeouts are likely to go up in his first season until he adjusts to major league pitching. After he makes adjustments, it’s a different story. Long term, I think he might be best as a 2 hitter.

          • Jay Anderson Jr

            I agree, but with what we have, its him, Campana or Dejesus. I don’t have Campana or Dejesus in that lineup, so he fell there.

  • SirCub

    Over/under on the number of potential rosters posted in the comments here?

    I’ll say 20.

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      If 20 is the number, I’ll take the over by then end of the day.

      • SirCub

        Jay, no fair! You are fixing the odds!

        • Jay Anderson Jr

          If I had a wager on it, I would call it smart business.

          • SirCub

            And the over takes it! Congratulations, fellas, you will get your banana hammocks in the mail.

            • Cubbiecop

              As long as they are leopard print…

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      I’ll say over and over on the number of times a .300 OBP guy gets put into the #1 spot just because of his speed.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Lead off definitely needs a high OBP with a patient approach with low power. Your 8 spot needs to have decent speed so your pitcher doesn’t have to put down the perfect bunt (insert a non-Soto player here). Starting with about your 3 spot start inserting a little power. Your 4 spot needs to be your high RBI guy since he will have a person on base half of the time.

        Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of Clubhouse Confidential lately.

        • DocWimsey

          THere is nothing wrong with power in the leadoff batter. In fact, it’s a good thing: part of why Ricky Henderson was so deadly was not just his high OBP, but all of the immediate (or near immediate) runs he generated with HR and doubles.

          Power can be even more valuable in an NL leadoff hitter because most pitchers are slow runners and it’s best to have extra base hits with slow runners: you’d rather have the pitcher jog from first to third on a double (or keep jogging on an HR or triple) than have to sprint there on a single.

          As for the #4 hitter being a “high RBI guy,” that’s just a guy with pop who bats with men on base. It’s not an actual property of a player beyond having high slugging.

          • SirCub

            If you could get one guy on your team an extra dozen PA’s in a season, wouldn’t you want it to be somebody that can hit bombs? Power in the leadoff spot is perfectly okay with me.

            • hogie

              You guys were big fans of Soriano in the leadoff then?

              • DocWimsey

                Here is a simple exercise. Plot the number of HR hit by a teams leadoff man vs. the runs created by that offense over the last few years. It’s a strong, positive correlation. Teams like the Yanks and the Sox routinely put guys with a bit of pop at the top of their order, and they score a lot because of this. Remember, a leadoff home run is a leadoff hit that is not stranded.

                • hogie

                  Slightly unfair. The Yanks and Sox routinely have guys up and down thier lineup with considerable pop, they score a lot because of that fact. I am not saying that the strategy is unsound, but on team with very few power options, like the one the Cubs are going to field, I would like to see that power in a more productive spot in the order.

              • ferrets_bueller

                No, because thats looking at just one stat- HRs.

                The biggest stat for leadoff men is OBP.  HRs are nice, but no matter how many Soriano hit, he’d still be a horrible leadoff man, because he couldn’t get on base.

              • SirCub

                Nope, not because he was hitting 30 bombs a year there, but because is OBP wasn’t high enough.

                It’s like the difference between saying, that guy is 250 lb., he can’t play QB, he should be a LB. The added weight can actually be a good thing for the position, as long as he can still throw. Same way with leadoff hitters and power, as long as they still get on base at a high clip.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Would you rather have a solo HR or to see a HR hit with someone on? There is nothing wrong with doubles power in the lead-off.

            As for the #4 hitter, I agree with high slugging.

            • DocWimsey

              I think that this view of HR is backwards. The goal of a batter is to score. An HR gets him home immediately. Any guys on base at that time should be viewed as gravy. One trait of good offenses is not just high OBP leadoff men, but high OPS leadoff men.

              Now, if you have two high OBP guys and B has higher slugging than A, then bat A before B.

              If you have only one high OBP guy in your lineup and he happens to be a slugger, then the whole discussion is moot anyway: your team is going to be like the Mariners.

              • Cubbie Blues

                If a guy is going to hit a HR wouldn’t you rather have someone on base? The 4 hole on average is going to have someone on base half the time.

        • ferrets_bueller

          There is no such thing as a “high RBI guy.”

           

           

          • Cubbie Blues

            Your right I should have used slugging.

        • KidCubbie

          Same here with the CC. Great show. Thats why i would like to see Dejesus leadoff at the beginning of the year. He has a decent OBP and average. Hes more patient and will take his walks. That way guys like Castro and Lahair will have him on base to knock him in.

      • DocWimsey

        Sadly, it will be falling on deaf ears.

        If you have to play a guy like Campana, then: a) your team stinks and b) bat him #8. On the rare occasion he gets on base with less than 2 outs, he can steal in front of the pitcher and then get bunted to 3rd. You might get an extra 7 or 8 runs a year that way.

        Of course, the problem is that “the book” says don’t steal with the pitcher batting….

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          In the case of a guy like Campana batting eighth, I think the book can be revised slightly.

        • Cubbie Blues

          If you are going to put Campana in the lineup I do like him at #8.

  • Edwin

    What about having Castro hit 2nd, and batting the pitcher 8th? It gives Castro a large number of at bats, with 2 hitters in front of him to get on base for RBI chances. I think the penaly of batting a pitcher up in the lineup is offset by increasing the chances that Castro will be hitting with runners in scoring position.

    • SirCub

      I wouldn’t mind that. Then you could hit Darwin Barney 9th, where he belongs!

      • DocWimsey

        You actually would get about 5-10 more runs a year that way. However, managers always give up on it after a few weeks because 5-10 runs a year means 1-2 a month, which does not look dramatic: indeed, you often just don’t notice it because those runs (probably) come in a game where individual runs are not that distinctive.

        • Edwin

          I think the problem is many people overreact to lineups. The first dry spell a team encounters, everyone will blame the batting order. Batting order is such a minor thing, but becasue it’s one of the few things that a manager can change consistently, it gets over scrutinized.

          • BetterNews

            Yes, I agree. The most important thing about the lineup is that it “clicks.” This is one thing I could not stand about Quade, and Piniella too. Seems like everytime they found a lineup that worked, they would change it around. And the platooning crap really drove me crazy. “Platooning” does not work!

            • ogyu

              There have been many successful platoons in the history of baseball and many unsuccessful ones. “Platooning does not work,” is a ridiculous overgeneralization.

              • BetterNews

                O.K., platooning doesn’t work 80% of time. In my book, if something doesn’t work that often, you don’t abide by it.

              • SirCub

                I would’ve platooned Carlos Pena and Jeff Baker last year in a heartbeat.

                • BetterNews

                  SirCub-What would be your rational for having platooned Baker and Pena. Pena had an OBP of .357 last year while Baker’s was a lowly .302.

                  • SirCub

                    Pena against LHP: .133/.260/.333
                    Pena against RHP: .255/.388/.504

                    Baker against LHP: .314/.349/.463
                    Baker against RHP: .200/.229/.263

                    Which one would you start against lefties?

                    • BetterNews

                      That’s tough to answer! First lets remember 75% of the starting pitchers in MLB are right handed. Pena wins that by far. Second, Pena is superior defensively. Third, Pena was paid way more. And fourth, continuity in the lineup. I once read that platooning costs a players batting average about .020-.030.

                    • Sircub

                      Well go ahead and give them the 30 points and you’re still talking about a .600 OPS guy (Pena) versus an .800 OPS guy (Baker). Not enough defense in the world to make up that difference.

                    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

                      Even if it cost that amount across the board the platoon is still more-effective in getting on base. The reason platoons dont work is that managers give up on them as soon as one of the players goes on a hot or cold streak and you then lose all of the benefits of having the platoon.

          • SirCub

            This is very true. But it’s way more important who you start, than where, IMO.

          • DocWimsey

            Yeah, a friend of mine’s master’s thesis was on optimal lineups. (He is a statistician and he did it for a lark while earning his PhD: his advisor said: “write it up and that’s worth a Masters: then get back to work on your dissertation!) Basically, he found that the variation between possible lineups for teams A, B and C was much less than the variation BETWEEN those teams due to the basic players involved.

            Although managers were generally using “suboptimal” lineups, it was rarely worth more than 10-20 runs a year. (That is 1-2 victories, however.) The really bad lineups involved things like leading off with guys who hit like pitchers.

            • SirCub

              Let me revise my earlier statement to:

              It’s more important who you start, ISO (in science’s opinion).

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      Riggleman, I believe, did this when he moved Sosa into the 3 hole in 1998. It was still like Sosa was hitting cleanup, because he had 3 good hitters in front of him. I believe he had 156 RBI that year.

      • Dante Hicks

        Don’t you mean the ‘roids had that many RBIs? Sorry, couldn’t resist. Good point about the three hole.

        • King Jeff

          Or the cork.

  • Edwin

    Putting together a good batting order is all about making up cool sounding rules, and then following those rules no matter what they lead to. Without rules, there is chaos.

    Good alliteration is a key to any offensive success, so make sure to group like sounding names together. Being able to call your offense “The killer B’s” can really make a season something special. The Astros former success was no coincidence.

    If a player shares a name with a former hall of famer, bat that player high in the order to try and confuse the oppenent into thinking you have risen the dead corpse of that player and he is now back from the grave to take vengence. This is why many teams draft the sons of former big league stars.

    Doing a lineup Alphebetically is also an option, just make sure that you’re also putting names starting with “I” before names starting with “E”. Unless after “C”.

    Sometimes it is advisable to bat your pitcher leadoff, to try and trick the other team into thinking it is backwords day, forcing them to make terrible last minute changes to their own lineup.

    • SirCub

      The Killer B’s, the Crafty C’s, and the So-so S’s!

      Baker
      Barney
      Byrd
      Campana
      Castro
      Clevenger
      Soriano
      Stewart

  • Jb

    These line ups aren’t that much worse than

    Walton
    Sandberg
    Grace
    Dawson
    Smith
    Salazar
    Dunston
    Girardi

    We know this is the 89 team but this team looks terrible compared to what the mets and cardinals were running out there in the division. I don’t think this team is going to be that terrible as long as we don’t fall in love with over achieving players. That has been the down fall of the cubs falling in love with these players and holding on with them a season too long. Castro is the only long term piece to this puzzle of all the position players expected to break camp

    • TonyP

      There are 2 HOFs and 1 with the most hits in MLB in a 10 period batting 2,3,4.

      • ferrets_bueller

        and Joe Girardi!

        still wish the Cubs had hired him instead of Lou…

    • Andrew

      That lineup does have 2 hall of famers in it. I dont see 2 hall of famers in this years lineup.

      • JB

        I am not disagreeing with that…but compared to what the Cardinals and Mets were running out there…

        Mets had

        Darryl Strawberry
        Keith Hernandez
        Kevin Jefferies
        Howard Johnson
        Kevin McReynolds
        Gary Carter

        With a pitching staff of Gooden, Fernandez, Tapani, and Viola…a fantastic rotation with Aguleria in the bullpen

        The Cards had
        Pedro Guerro
        Ozzie Smith
        Tom Burnasky
        Vince Coleman
        Milt Thompson
        Oquendo

        With a pitching staff of Magrane, Tewksberry, Ken Hill Deleon

        In the day, two much superior teams than the Cubs had…much more superior

  • BFiddy

    For me, it’s…

    1. DeJesus RF

    2. Castro SS

    3. LaHair 1B

    4. Soto C

    5. Stewart 3B

    6. Soriano LF

    7. Byrd CF

    8. Barney 2B

    9. Pitcher

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That looks as good as any other, frankly.

      • MightyBear

        I like that lineup but I would bat Byrd in front of Soriano.

  • OHBearCub

    In some way their has to be protection in front and behind of LaHair. He is the only serious power guy in this lineup. That being said I think you bat Castro in front of Lahair and Soto and Soriano behind Lahair. Unless Marlon Byrd can do a flip flip and drive in runs he doesn’t belong anywhere in the lineup where runners are going to be in scoring position. He clearly fails in this situation all the time. He would be a good bottom of the lineup hitter to be on base for Dejesus and Castro. I really don’t envision Byrd being on this team for very long. The Natty’s need a center fielder now that Mike Cameron has retired. Byrd is a perfect fit for the Nat’s. Then you move Campana into CF for a month or so until Jackson can come up from Iowa. There is also Sappelt who could be a factor. I think if you are going to have Soriano in the lineup he has to be at place in the order where he can drive in runs. He still drives in run and hits home runs. With this sense of purpose and him knowing he is being relied on, he will step and have his best year as a Cub.

    My lineup:

    DeJesus – table setter he gets on base via singles or walks and occasional doubles
    Castro – drives Dejesus from 1st to 3rd with singles and doubles and gets into scoring positon
    Lahair – drives in the top of the order from scoring position with extra base hits and homers
    Soriano – picks up Lahair if he is unable to drive in the top of the order. gets on base or HR’s
    Soto – picks up the slack and drives in runs cleaning up the middle of the line up
    Stewart – starts the chain over again by getting on base and hopefully many multi-base hits
    Barney – He is the second lead off hitter getting the bottom of the order in position to score
    Byrd / Campana – moves runners into scoring position and has a decent on base percentage
    Pitcher – Bunts and hits behind runners hopefully their will be some discipline here.

    You have to put it together like mini run scoring opportunities and set guys in the lineup to fulfill their role.

    • MightyBear

      No way do I bat Soriano 4th. Strikes out too much. Bases loaded nobody out, Soriano K’s, Soto hits into DP. Haven’t we seen enough of that?

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Tony Campana

    .340
    .336
    .378
    .383
    His OBP each year in minors.

    .267
    .284
    .319
    .342
    His BA each year in monors

    He had 143 ab in 95 games. Inconsistent playing time = inconsistent results.
    He had more success then Rizzo in similar ab and yet we are big on Rizzo and down on Campana. I don’t think he is better then Rizzo, but he can be a very good leadoff man. Play the man everyday, you’ll get good results. It’s not out of the question he becomes a .290/350

    • David

      On what planet did Tony Campana have more success than Anthony Rizzo?

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        In the majors, Campana has had more success.

        • ferrets_bueller

          Lmfao.  Neither of them has had any.  0=0.

    • SirCub

      This was meant to be a reply to this.

      So basically, his isoD has been trending downward? Great.

      • DocWimsey

        Yes, but none of those are significant: his isoD fits what you expect given a general rate plus some variance.

        However, that general rate is bad: and it’s very rare for someone’s walk rate to improve significantly.

  • CubSouth

    Does anyone know if Sveum, when having a team he’s put together, likes to shuffle the lineup on a daily/gut feeling basis? Or is he the type to keep guys in that same spot in the batting order so they can know what to expect and be comfortable there?

  • OHBearCub

    I think Campana is becoming the next Murton. Love him or not Love him. Cubs fans are getting emotionally attached. He is a role player. Sometimes his role might be that he starts a game because Sveum needs to play small ball. Other times his role is defense and stealing bases.

    • Andrew

      He might be matt murton in that hes liked by a lot of fans, but as a player, theyre worlds apart. Murton was slow, Campana has blazing speed. Campana can play center, Murton could almost play a corner outfield position. Campana should be much more valuable than murton ever was.

  • SirCub

    So basically, his isoD has been trending downward? Great.

  • Edwin

    If the Cubs had Koyie Hill and Bill Hall in the lineup they could be referred to as “the hitless Hillbillies”.

  • K Rock

    Opening Day

    Dejesus (RF)
    Byrd (CF)
    Castro (SS)
    LaHair (1B)
    Soriano (LF)
    Soto (C)
    Barney (2B)
    Stewart (3B)
    Garza (P)

    Could see Jackson getting nod at LF though

    • DannyBallgame

      I like this one.

  • DowntownLBrown

    Problem with this team is we have no true Leadoff or #3 hitter. (assuming that Lahair can be an average #4).

    the way I see it you have to bat Castro 1st (did Have 22 SB to Dejesus’ 8) or 3rd because that is the role we want him to grow into.

    I dont think we want to see Him advancing runners in the #2 position, we want him onabse or getting RBIs.

    as for #5, that has to be either Soto or Soriano (if he can get his crap together…Ill wont my breath)

    If Stewart somehow has a bounce back good season he could hit 3,4 or 5.

    Ultimately I agree with many posters on one thing. If Rizzo comes up and Lahair can play OF, that solves some big time problems with potential 3,4, and 5 spots in the lineup.

  • SirCub

    Do you think Theo & co. would weigh in on this issue? Like, tell Dale who should bat where. I mean, I remember hearing before that they like to be hands-on with making these kind of baseball decisions.

  • ferrets_bueller

    bahaha, I love the message from the sponsor of Campana’s page:

    “Brett Gardner ain’t got nothin’. Well, except the ability to get on base.”

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/campato01.shtml

    His minor league OBPs are BA driven, and thats a serious problem…as there is very little chance that he manages to put up the same averages in the majors, when he cannot hit the ball out of the infield, and the defense is going to take those singles away from him…

  • BleedBlueinWNeb

    i’ll throw my lineup in the ring…

    rf dejesus
    cf byrd
    ss castro
    1b lahair
    lf soriano
    3b stewart
    c soto
    2b barney

    after bjax and rizzo are called up

    rf dejesus
    ss castro
    1b rizzo
    lf lahair
    c soto
    3b stewart
    cf jackson
    2b barney

    i know those have already been posted but i like the look of those heading in…

    1 garza
    2 dempster
    3 maholm
    4 wood
    5 volstad

    • ferrets_bueller

      I definitely like that first one.  The second one could be later int he year, but i seriously doubt that Rizzo gets anywhere near the 3 hole for a while after he’s called up.  I’d guess 6 or 7 to start.

  • cody

    RF Dejesus
    SS Castro
    CF Byrd
    1B Lahair
    3B Stewart
    C Soto
    LF Soriano
    2B Cardenas

    Opening Day Lineup

  • Jeremy

    My ideal lineup
    RF Dejesus/Campana
    CF Byrd
    SS Castro
    1B Lahair
    C Soto
    LF Soriano
    3B Stewart
    2B Barney/Cardenas
    Pitcher

    Im really hoping Campana put some work in on his contact and added some muscle which I think he did if I remember correctly. He could be electric at the top of the lineup but if not Dejesus will be there. He will start in right on opening day. I just threw Campana there because Im hoping he can breakout. I think the 2B job depends on who plays better in spring training so I put both in. I still think Barney and Cardenas platoon at 2B at the beginning of the year. Castro, in my opinion needs to bat third. He is our best hitter and and run producer and he will just need a bit of time to adjust to the spot and learning how they will pitch to him there. Thoughts?

  • IvyBlues

    Opening day

    1. Castro SS
    2. Dejesus RF
    3. Lahair 1B
    4. Soto C
    5. Soriono LF
    6. Byrd CF
    7. Stewart 3B
    8. Pitcher
    9. Barney 2B

    I dont know…maybe putting someone other then the Pitcher in the 9 hole will make a difference on a team like this….Cuz Dave is going to have to be creative in finding ways to score runs….Small ball in Wrigley??

  • MichCubFan

    I have heard some guys on the score talking about lineups and i haven’t been impressed with their analysis. Darwin Barney is the worst hitter in the starting lineup…if he wins the second base job. Do not hit your worst hitter second. And we now know that the 3rd hitter should not be the team’s best hitter. He hits with 2 outs and nobody on more than anybody else on the team. And the most important aspect of a good leadoff hitter is not speed. It is on base ability. I see two different good possibilities for our starting lineup…before taking into effect who actually wins each spot.
    1. DeJesus, 2. Castro, 3. Soriano, 4. LaHair, 5. Soto, 6. Stewart, 7. Byrd, 8. Barney
    or
    1. DeJesus, 2. Castro, 3. Stewart, 4. Soto, 5. LaHair, 6. Soriano, 7. Byrd, 8. Barney

    DeJesus get on base a decent amount, Castro is a good hitter who will hopefully develop some more patience. Soriano or Stewart could each profile as our 6th best hitter or so…so they could fit in the third or 6th spot. LaHair and Soto both have something to prove but each have some power and a good approach so they are probably our best options for the 4 and 5 spots. Then Byrd has some good streaks and some bad ones and fits well in the 7th spot. He could also hit further up if necessary. Then Barney is Barney…lets see how he does in his second year. I am also interested to see Adrian Cardenas. He has not yet had an opportunity to show what he can do in the majors…but looked pretty good in the minors. He had a decent average and took a great amount of walks, too. He is a guy that could be an awesome leadoff hitter if he can translate what he did in the minors to the major league level…but we don’t know the chances of that yet.
    All in all i like the depth we have even though we are a little short on sexy talent.

  • Edgar

    dejesus castro byrd lahair soto soriano stewart cardenas

  • Papi

    As I recall last year Byrd was absolutely AWFUL hitting RISP (even before the pitch to the face) and if he really is leaner and more agile with his Muai Tai bat him 2 and Castro 3. I can see DeJesus struggling in the leadoff spot and would love to see Stewart or even Baker tear the cover off the ball in Spring Training to take over the #1

    • DocWimsey

      BAwRiSP is a meaningless stat: it is always just BA +/- sampling error. Performance in one year never predicts performance the next year. (Well, slightly better than 50% of the time, guys who did “better” in the clutch in 20XX also do better in the clutch in 20XY and slightly less than 50% of the time, guys who did “worse” in the clutch in 20XX also do worse in the clutch in 20XY).

      Overall, the Cubs BAwRiSP might go up a little this year by changing tactics. Hendry’s Cubs were big on “situational” hitting, which meant grounding out to second a lot with men on 2nd. This was verboten on the Sox (Moneyball is Weaverball, after all!), and hopefully Theo will put an end to it here. However, that won’t turn the Cubs into the Sox all by itself.

  • gocubs

    DeJesus
    Byrd
    Castro
    Soto
    LaHair
    Soriano
    Stewart
    Barney

  • mpope30

    Can we be honest with ourselves for a minute??? The lineup is almost exactly the same as it was last year. The only differences: Ramirez/Stewart – downgrade for sure, Pena/Lahair – not sure upgrade or downgrade, Fukudome/Dejesus – probably upgrade. My point is IT DOESN”T MATTER. Just let Castro hit 3rd and draw straws each day for the other spots. Anyone honestly disagree???

    • Dante Hicks

      I gotta say Amen on many levels. It may for some guys we want to put up good stats to enhance mid-season trade values, but not much else. Personally, as I’ve said before, I can’t wait to get to the point where these debates are rendered academic. A lineup that Sveum (assuming he still around by then) can do in his sleep. And, finally, won that wins consistently. Is that still too far away?

    • BetterNews

      Yes, I diagree with a couple of things. First, I was never a big Ramirez fan. I think he always “padded” his stats in games that didn’t mean anything. Under the gun he never did anything(Playoffs). Having said that, if Stewart does bounce back offensively, I don’t think we lost anything at third.(Again, if) Secondly, I think LaHair is definitly an upgrade at first, offensively. Third, Zambrano is gone and the starting rotation will be much better. Add all that up and a real “manager” at the helm, I think you see a big difference this year!

      • DocWimsey

        The Cubs have lost a ton at 3rd. Sorry, but the “padding” myth is never true: and ARam’s “clutch” stats (BAwRiSP, close and late) always have been entirely within expectations given his overall performance.

        As for ARam “choking” during the playoffs, well, his 0.250/0.365/0.591 line with 4 HR in the 2003 playoffs (both series) was pretty awesome. Yes, he fared poorly in 2007 and 2008, but the Cubs faced pretty dominating pitching in both series: nobody hit. However, ARam’s 0.287/0.363/0.594 September line (including 8 HR) had a lot to do with the Cubs being the DBacks’ victims in ’07 instead of the Brewers!

        Now, of course none of those numbers mean anything in terms of deviation from expectations: just like every other player, ARam was “up” on big occasions and “down” on big occasions.

        • BetterNews

          Doc-I disagree. The 2007 D’Backs and 2008 Dodgers didn’t have dominating pitching. Neither team won the WS. The Cubs just plain stunk.

          • DocWimsey

            Since when does dominant pitching equal winning the WS? After all, more than one post-season team can have dominant pitching: some years, 2 or 3 do. Obviously, not all of them win.

            The Dodgers in particular had great starting pitching the last month of 2008 (and a great offense, too): they had one of the best Septembers of playoff teams of the last decade. Too bad the Phils had almost as good a September! (The DBacks had good pitching, but it was great against the Cubs.)

            • BetterNews

              Doc-Using the 2007 playoffs as an example. The Cubs statistically had the better pitching staff and the better hitting team by far. Can’t see how you can conclude the D’Back’s had dominant pitching. The Cubs bats went silent(Ramirez leading pack) and made Arizona look dominant.

  • Joe

    Dejesus
    Castro
    Soto
    LaHair
    Byrd
    Soriano
    Stewart
    Whoever wins 2B job
    Pitcher

    • Andrew

      I agree with that lineup with byrd and soto switched around

      • coby

        Agreed

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