Chicago Cubs: May Report Cards for All 25 Players on the Roster
The Chicago Cubs may have finished off the month of May with a three game winning streak, but overall this month was really no better than the last.
The team went 10-17, and despite scoring more runs than in April, the team allowed more runs as well.
The month of May ended with news that everybody besides Jeff Samardzija on the Cubs' roster is available via trade, which pretty much can sum up the feeling of the new front office.
The following are grades for the Cubs from this May.
All stats via Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
Things have still been rough for the Chicago Cubs top pitcher, especially after failing to receive a single win in the month of May.
Garza received two no decisions while also having two losses in his four starts for the month.
He allowed a total of 15 runs, seven of which came in just three innings against the Houston Astros on May 21st.
There is no doubt that Garza could benefit from a little run support, but his stuff also hasn't been all that great.
Part of it can be blamed on the defense behind him, but in the end he needs to make sure to keep the runs down in June and beyond.
After a solid April, Ryan Dempster came back down to earth in May allowing 16 runs in six outings.
Dempster was lights out in his first three starts this April allowing just five runs in three outings, but the Cubs offense has continued to fail to produce runs with him on the mound.
There is no doubt that Dempster could have a strong June, but just like the rest of the pitchers in this rotation, he needs solid performances from the team's bats and bullpen.
The Cubs could also benefit from a better overall performance from the team in support of Dempster as they could really use him as trade bait.
His veteran locker room presence would likely be a huge addition to any playoff team, so hopefully for the Cubs teams will get interested if his April numbers return.
The Chicago Cubs want to hold onto Jeff Samardzija, so they better hope he continues to play like he has.
This May, Samardzija continued to be the Cubs strongest pitcher, allowing just 11 runs in his six outings. He started out the month strong with just an earned run allowed per game in his first three outings, with the other eight coming in his last three.
This falling out towards the end of May should have fans worried, but luckily for Samardzija, he has been receiving a lot of run support.
The Cubs may not want to trade him, but for the time being, he may be the man of highest value.
Results for the Chicago Cubs main southpaw were mixed this May.
Paul Maholm looked solid towards the end of April, and he looked to carry that into this past month as well.
He appeared in five games, receiving decisions in three of the outings. He went 2-1 with 12 runs allowed, but nine of those runs came in just two outings.
If Maholm can keep up the solid numbers, he will be a solid No. 4 or 5 guy in this rotation—as long as he sticks around.
The Cubs need their starters to keep the runs down due to the offense and bullpen, so Maholm has done a fine job in at least doing his part.
Travis Wood was up and down this May, spending time with the Chicago Cubs and Iowa Cubs throughout the month.
He only made three starts for the club, but he did enough to be the man on this list over recently demoted starter Chris Volstad.
Wood was solid in his first two starts for the team this season, allowing five runs in 11.2 innings. He allowed six runs in his last start against the San Diego Padres, but hopefully the Cubs will see better results this June from their young lefty.
It will be exciting to see how this piece of the Cubs future will look in the coming months.
One of the more solid players in the Chicago Cubs bullpen this season has been Shawn Camp.
Camp appeared in 13 games this May, recording an ERA of just 1.35.
He struck out 13 batters while walking just six, while just allowing two runs to score in his appearances.
The Cubs need Camp to stay solid, but at 36 years old, he may just be one of those pieces that they may look to unload for some potential future talent.
After not making the Chicago Cubs initial roster, Randy Wells was called up late April to come into relief instead of his typical starter role.
Wells appeared in four games, but actually pitched 8.2 innings after doing some long relief against the Houston Astros. He pitched five innings that game, allowing just one run.
Despite the struggles of the Cubs' back-end rotation, Wells has continued to pitch in relief.
The Cubs will need to hope that Wells can continue to be a strong veteran option in the bullpen, as they need a guy to turn to if things go bad in the early parts of a game.
Rafael Dolis may be on this list because he appeared in many games this May, but as you will learn this is reason for why he was sent back down to the minors.
Dolis was looking like a solid answer to the Chicago Cubs problem for the closer role, but he soon started to fall apart towards the end of the month.
In his last seven appearances of the month, Dolis allowed 10 total runs. That is just way too much from a closer, even if it is from the Cubs at this point in their season.
The Cubs will have to hope Dolis can fix things up down in the minors, otherwise he may just not be the answer he appeared to be early on.
Carlos Marmol spent most of May on the disabled list, which gave the Chicago Cubs sometime to experiment with other options in his absence.
Marmol had a miserable April, but things changed in May when he was switched out of the closer role.
In six outings, Marmol allowed just three runs in 4.2 innings. He has looked much better in his setup/relief role, which is where the Cubs should look to utilize him for now on.
Still, teams in need of a reliever may see Marmol as an option, which would give the Cubs a chance to unload him.
Who knows, maybe a change of scenery is all he really needs to return to his dominant closer days.
There isn't much to say about Blake Parker, as he only appeared in three innings for the Chicago Cubs in May.
What there is to take into account though is the fact that Parker didn't allow a single run this month, making him look like possible solid option for the team's bullpen down the line.
Of course, this is just a small sample number, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see if the Cubs will give Parker more of a chance to prove himself in June.
Given the Cubs situation, they really should be giving guys like Parker a chance to prove themselves, as they really have nothing to lose.
Casey Coleman was lights out at the end of May for the Chicago Cubs, keeping runs off the board in his final five appearances of the month after allowing three in his first two of the month.
His ERA was at 2.31 for the month, but that doesn't really properly represent how well he did.
Coleman has really been solid in the relief role, despite being looked at as a starter during last season. This may be his role for the Cubs, something they have needed since moving Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds this past offseason.
It would be nice to see Coleman be consistent in this role, especially since it doesn't look like they will be using him as a starter anytime soon.
With the Chicago Cubs bullpen going through many personnel changes this May, one constant was left-handed pitcher James Russell.
Russell was a workhorse this May, appearing in 16 games without receiving a single loss.
He has moved to a more late inning, sometimes closer role for the club, which may be a solid role for him if he can continue to keep his numbers low consistently.
Russell presents a nice option for the club since he is a lefty, something that gives them options going into the later innings each game.
His May was strong, but he will need to keep that going into June if he wants to continue to be the guy the Cubs turn to each game.
After storming out of the gates this April, Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair came back down to Earth this May.
LaHair's batting average at the end of April was .390, and despite still being at a solid .308 at the end of May, his numbers did drop significantly due to his .253 average for the month.
LaHair has still been a bright spot of the club, but if his numbers continue to slide like they are, they may have no other choice than to try and move him in favor of young up and coming prospect Anthony Rizzo.
As the Cubs look to unload their players, they should try to trade LaHair while his stock is still high.
Without any real competition, Darwin Barney has been able to stay atop the second base position this season without any worry of being replaced.
Barney is doing fine, but nothing really spectacular.
For the month of May he batted .284 with eight RBI and 25 hits through 25 games. Barney has also been solid defensively, which is why he has been so solid for the Cubs this season.
Barney is just getting it done, but the Cubs could really benefit from seeing a little more consistency at the plate from him.
The star of the Chicago Cubs has been playing like the star he is, as Starlin Castro has been playing solid yet again.
This May, the young shortstop batted .304 with four home runs, 18 RBI and 35 hits through 27 games. His batting average did slide from his .333 in April, but nonetheless he has still been consistent despite the team's offensive woes.
Castro has still been a bit of a mess on defense this season, being prone to errors once again.
If he can work on polishing the defense, Castro will turn into complete star that he should develop into.
While the Chicago Cubs were not going to get similar production from Ian Stewart after losing Aramis Ramirez, the former Colorado Rockie is just not cutting it.
Stewart once again had a poor month, batting .225 through 71 at-bats, which included 16 hits, 15 strikeouts and nine RBI.
He has been a positive contributor on defense, but his offensive woes are just too much to bare with. The Cubs started to use him more sparingly, which will likely continue if he continues to flounder at the plate.
Stewart will continue to get his chances, but his future isn't too bright.
Unfortunately for Wellington Castillo, his call up to the majors was cut short by a MCL injury.
It will remain to be seen how long Castillo will be out, so for now all we can do is observe his five games he played in May.
Castillo batted .250 with a home run and four RBI. He was also solid behind the plate, but the Cubs definitely need him to get healthy to see if he can be their fixture behind the plate for many seasons to come.
Geovany Soto has been out as well with an injury, so Steve Clevenger was brought up late in the month to fill the void.
The Cubs definitely have a mess behind the plate right now, so hopefully their designated starters for now and the future will be ready to place soon.
When the Chicago Cubs lost both Geovany Soto and Wellington Castillo for the time being, they decided to bring back Koyie Hill, who was with the division rival Cincinnati Reds.
Hill was a staple with the club for the last five seasons, so his return was a good move for the struggling team. There was no reason to throw an inexperienced catcher, or even just the fact that any young catcher wasn't ready since Castillo is the next guy in line.
He hasn't done much—batting just .185—but his defense is solid. More importantly, the Cubs just needed a veteran and a guy who could work with their current pitching staff, which is what made Hill and ideal pick up.
While his fielding has still been quite questionable, Alfonso Soriano had a much better May at the plate than he did April.
The Chicago Cubs overly paid outfielder batted .290 this past month, knocking out seven home runs with 17 RBI.
His strikeouts were still ridiculously high, whiffing 22 times compared to his 27 hits. Still, .290 is solid for Soriano.
If he can keep his batting numbers up, maybe, just maybe, the Cubs will finally be able to get his huge contract off their books.
Talk about a turn around!
After looking like a mistake this April, Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus made the Windy City understand why he is here.
DeJesus batted .317 this May, which was a drastic increase from his .250 he had the previous month. This was a good sign for the first year Cub, but there is still a need of consistency here.
Given that he is a left-handed bat, DeJesus could be a very valuable veteran option for this team in the future. He just needs to keep hitting like he is.
If he can, the Cubs may have one less position to worry about for the time being.
Tony Campana comes with mixed feelings.
While the guy can be a force to be reckoned with on the base paths, the fact of the matter is he just hasn't been getting on enough to make such noise.
Campana stole eight bases this past month, but his on base percentage was .323 with a batting average of .267. He also struck out 14 times in comparison to his five walks, a margin he much make much closer.
Still, Campana has been solid in the outfield, and is a good option for pinch running when the opportunity presents itself.
The guy can be a dangerous man on the base paths, but the Cubs must find a way to get him out there consistently.
Jeff Baker wasn't great with his bat this May, which doesn't bode well for him considering he is mostly used in pinch hitting situations.
Actually, in pinch hitting situations Baker has failed to get a hit, receiving just one pass from the pitcher in the meantime.
Baker is a solid fielder though, and that is why he will continue to bring backup value to this team going into June.
He won't surpass Darwin Barney anytime soon, but if Ian Stewart continues to struggle, Baker may have to take on some third base duty.
Speaking of replacement third baseman, Joe Mather has slowly been taking the reigns from Ian Stewart over the course of this May.
The problem? He isn't much better.
Mather was a promising player this spring, but his numbers at the major league level are not reflecting that type of play.
He batted .245 in 53 at-bats, knocking in just three RBI. Mather is getting his chance, but if he doesn't start to produce, the Cubs may need to start giving the duties to a guy like Baker or someone down in the farm like Josh Vitters.
Perhaps June will be kinder to Mather, but only time will tell.
Reed Johnson may not be the everyday starter, but everyone's favorite Chicago Cubs journeyman is putting up solid numbers when given the opportunity.
For the month of May, Johnson batted .289 in 45 at-bats. He hasn't been given a ton of time on the field, but between pinch hitting and a few occasional stars, Johnson has continued to just do his job.
Johnson may be one of those guys that some teams may look to grab, as he is a positive veteran contributor who you can't go wrong with.
Adrian Cardenas may be one of the first young guys to be brought up this season, but don't let his numbers truly represent his fellow farm stars still waiting for the call.
Cardenas didn't add much to the table this May, hitting a mere .160 in 25 at-bats. He really didn't play a whole lot, but look for the Cubs to give him a few more shots here and there since they really have nothing to lose.
Until the Cubs call up Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson, it looks like Cardenas will be the young minor league player to occupy Wrigley.