This is a different kind of "Fight Club." This is the fight for the final position on the depth chart. Center field. The battle: Kosuke Fukudome vs. Reed Johnson. Like all Cubs fans can agree upon, Reed Johnson is the better fit. But in this article, I will analyze both objectively and then give my final opinion at the end.
Last year, Reed Johnson was definitely a favorite at the Friendly Confines. He played hard and hit decently all year. He was a good defender and got along well with the loud and annoying Cubs faithful in the bleachers.
He ended the year batting a very solid .303 with a .358 on base percentage. Johnson was good for 102 games and all 102 games he played, he played hard. That is all I'm going to say about Johnson for now. I don't want to give away the surprise at the end.
I remember when the Cubs signed him how pumped I was. I was in Chemistry class, and I was jumping for joy. Opening Day came and Fukudome lived up to the expectations hitting a home run. Things went south from there.
Fukudome ended the year hitting a mediocre .257 with a .359 on base percentage. Fukudome sat on the bench a lot near the end of the year because he was very inconsistent. His inconsistency lead to a lot of down time for the Japanese native ball player.
For now, Reed Johnson. Fukudome was WAY too inconsistent to be even considered a starter in my book. He had no balance in the box and would try and run before he hit the ball like Ichiro, except Ichiro is good at that. Fukudome was a very good fielder this year. He had an awesome arm, being a natural right fielder, and could field his position with ease but his hitting and lack of offense cost him his job near the midway point of the season.
In the long run, neither are the answer. Michah Hoffpauir could be the answer. He is young and as us Cubs fans saw last year, he can hit the ball as well as anyone on that team. Hoffpauir should definitely be in the running for the job but as a starter, he is a long shot.
In the end, Reed Johnson can stay there until Hoffpauir really develops. Once the Cubs get the young gun going, look out. Here comes our new center fielder.