There are numerous amounts of questions that surround the Cubs going into 2013. For a team who lost 101 games last year, management did not do much to upgrade the current roster.
Though there are some nice prospects coming up in future years, it’ll be interesting to see if this Chicago team has improved and matured when the season gets under way in a couple months. If Opening Day were to start tomorrow, let’s look at what the lineup would look like.
Catcher: Welington Castillo
Castillo played 52 games for the Cubs last year after playing sparingly in 2011 and 2010. He is a young player who should be an upgrade from what the Cubs have put on the field in past seasons.
According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, manager Dale Sveum said, “He’s made probably the biggest progress I think of anybody on the team right now.”
Cubs fans need to be intrigued by this, as Castillo could provide some stability behind the plate.
First Base: Anthony Rizzo
After getting called up in the middle of last season, Rizzo took the first base job by storm and didn’t look back. Providing instant success to the offense, Rizzo has cemented himself as one of the best young players in the league.
Rizzo did start to cool off as the year came to an end, but with a full year in The Show coming up, I expect Anthony Rizzo to be near the top of the offensive categories for the Cubs.
Second Base: Darwin Barney
Darwin Barney has been a serviceable second baseman for Chicago during his three-year tenure. Earning a Rawling’s Gold Glove award in 2012, it’s his hitting that needs to improve if Barney wants to be considered one of the best in the Major League.
Barney will be going into his fourth year as a Cub, and you would have to think that his hitting would come around and would improve upon his .252 average he posted last season.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro
It’s been interesting to follow Starlin Castro since his rookie year in 2010. After putting up back-to-back .300 averages in ’10 and ’11, his average took a dip last season.
Though .286 isn’t anything to be ashamed of, the consensus opinion among Cub’s fans is that they expect more from their 22-year-old shortstop. In order for the Cubs to turn the corner, Castro needs to start consistently playing with the All-Star potential that he has.
Third Base: Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart adds a left-handed bat to the Cub’s lineup. When you look at the third base position last year, it was a disaster for everyone who played it.
Stewart started on Opening Day, but performed below average before he was replaced by Luis Valbuena for the remainder of the season. The Cubs need production from third base this year. I mean, it can’t be worse than 2012, right?
Left Field: Alfonso Soriano
As Soriano keeps getting older, most expect his production to lower as well. However, last season, Alfonso Soriano had one of his best seasons as a Cub.
With Soriano signed through 2014, it appears that the Cubs will rely on the duties of Soriano for a couple more years. If Soriano, at the very least, can produce like he did last season, it would have to be viewed as a success.
Centerfield: David DeJesus
David DeJesus is another veteran on a young Cub’s roster. DeJesus will be in his second year in Chicago and qualifies as a solid all-around player. He's not a flashy player, but he gets the job done in most facets of the game.
Though DeJesus isn’t the prototypical All-Star outfielder, he’s a guy who will provide leadership and should improve upon last season’s numbers.
Right Field: Nate Schierholtz
Nate Schierholtz will be the lone newcomer in Chicago for the 2013 season. Schierholtz ended last season in Philadelphia, where he batted 66 times for a .273 average. The Cubs could still be looking to add another outfielder, but if the season were to start today, Nate Schierholtz would have to be the starter in right field.
With a few months until the season starts, more moves could be made on the Cubs' roster. Currently, the Cubs lineup will look almost identical to 2012, just with more experience.
Manager Dale Sveum will have his work cut out for him when spring training rolls around, as the Cubs will be looking to field a more competitive team in 2013.