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- David DeJesus was a decent leadoff hitter for the Cubs for most of the last two years, but with him shipped out (and, if he returns, it would likely be as a fourth outfielder), the Cubs will have to find an option for 2014. Starlin Castro has been doing the job this year, but that seemed to be less about his aptitude there than about getting him as many at bats as possible this year where he feels comfortable. But Dale Sveum told Cubs.com that he actually is thinking about Castro as a leadoff hitter next year, in part because that’s where he seems to hit best (says Sveum). Unless the Cubs add someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, they may not have an obvious leadoff hitter going into 2014. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t hate Castro batting first. If he’s back to hitting .300, then his OBP would probably be enough not to kill you in the top spot. For what it’s worth, Castro’s .350 OBP in the leadoff spot in his career is his best OBP at any spot where he’s amassed more than 300 plate appearances. (Castro’s best spot with more than 100 plate appearances? 8th – .392 OBP.)
- All that said … I think the Cubs’ lineup would be dramatically improved with a higher OBP threat at the top, and Castro hitting further down in the order.
- Baseball America revealed its minor league All-Star team, and the Cubs put three guys on the team: Javier Baez (DH, because Xander Bogaerts), C.J. Edwards (starting pitcher), and Kyle Hendricks (second team starting pitcher). I’ll have a bit more on the Edwards piece a little bit later, but it’s nice to see the Cubs once again well-represented.
- Dale Sveum said last night’s outing was Chris Rusin’s most impressive of the year. It was certainly vintage Rusin: no walks, just two strikeouts, and just four hits over seven innings. If Rusin is to have long-term success as a back-end starter, this is the tack he’ll have to take. He’s going to give up hits, and he’s not going to strike out too many. But if the walks remain minuscule, he can be a useful starter, even if he’ll see significant regression from his current 2.85 ERA (.270 BABIP, 82.2% LOB). With a guy like Rusin, it’s all about managing expectations.
- It has possibly been a frustrating season for Anthony Rizzo, whose production seems to be down this year, but even he recognizes that he’s hit a whole lot of balls hard that haven’t found holes.
- According to one statistical analysis, the slowest player in baseball is … Welington Castillo?