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5 Possible Batting Orders for the Chicago Cubs

Mitch PetanickCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2013

5 Possible Batting Orders for the Chicago Cubs

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    It's mid-January and spring training is still about a month away from kicking off. Many will argue that it's too early to start predicting lineups.

    They may be right. We still don't even know if the Cubs are done adding players to the team in free agency.

    It's also hard to come up with batting orders before we even know who has won those last couple of position battles. However, Cubs management has probably started to kick around potential batting order ideas for 2013, and so should we.

    Keep in mind that the right field and third base positions will probably boil down to how the players perform during spring training. They are pretty much wide open, but here are five potential batting orders for the Chicago Cubs in 2013. 

The Safe Batting Order

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    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Nate Schierholtz, RF
    3. Starlin Castro, SS
    4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    6. Ian Stewart, 3B
    7. Welington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    This is considered the safe batting order because it was simply devised by looking at the roster and picking the guys most likely to win the respective jobs out of spring training.

    The problem is, the jury is still out as to whether or not Schierholtz can be an everyday player. He has spent his entire career as a platoon player, so having him in the No. 2 hole may not be optimal. The same goes for Ian Stewart.

The Bold Batting Order

3 of 7
    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Junior Lake, 3B
    3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    5. Starlin Castro, SS
    6. Welington Castillo, C
    7. Dave Sappelt, RF
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    This lineup is a little bolder than the last one. With the third base job wide open, could it be an opportunity for Junior Lake to sneak in and steal the job in spring training?

    If Lake carries his stellar winter ball play into spring training, he could definitely find himself in the Cubs' lineup as an everyday player in 2013.

    This lineup also includes Dave Sappelt who should be in the mix for a job in right field this spring. However, it's still more than likely that Schierholtz wins the job. Whether or not Schierholtz hangs on to the job is another story.

The Logical Batting Order

4 of 7
    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Junior Lake, 3B
    3. Starlin Castro, SS
    4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
    7. Welington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    This batting order probably gives the Cubs the best on-field product. The team can take advantage of the athleticism of Lake at the top of the order, and at the same time strengthen the bottom third of the lineup by having Schierholtz hitting out of the No. 6 hole.

    In the lineups proposed thus far, Castro, Rizzo and Soriano have been hitting 4-5-6. That probably won't change, considering that it handcuffs the team in the No. 5 hole if you start moving those guys around. You will see how moving these guys around affects the lineup in the next slide.

The Illogical Batting Order

5 of 7
    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Starlin Castro, SS
    3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
    6. Ian Stewart, 3B
    7. Welington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    I have heard fans who want to see Castro hitting out of the No. 2 hole instead of the middle of the lineup. But you can see how sliding Castro up in the No. 2 hole completely changes the dynamic of the entire lineup. By doing this, it creates a void in the No. 5 hole.

    The verdict: without Castro-Rizzo-Soriano hitting 3-4-5 in the middle of the lineup, the Cubs don't have a No. 5 hitter. The lineup is much stronger having Castro hitting third. It also allows Dale Sveum to do more creative things in the lineup around those guys (like have Junior Lake play third base).

The Opening Day Batting Order (Prediction)

6 of 7
    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Junior Lake, 3B
    3. Starlin Castro, SS
    4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
    7. Welington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    This lineup is certainly more exciting than the one in the first slide.

    Junior Lake would bring incredible athleticism to the top of the lineup, the middle of the lineup is solid, and the back end of the lineup is strengthened by sliding Schierholtz down to the No. 6 hole.

    With third base wide open, there really isn't any reason why this can't be the lineup come opening day. How would the fans feel if this were the lineup on opening day?

Bonus: The Midseason Batting Order (Prediction)

7 of 7
    1. David DeJesus, CF
    2. Junior Lake, 3B
    3. Starlin Castro, SS
    4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
    5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
    6. Brett Jackson, RF
    7. Welington Castillo, C
    8. Darwin Barney, 2B

    Brett Jackson should be up with the team by the All-Star break. This lineup reflects his likely call-up, which will ultimately be determined by his performance in Triple-A. Vitters may also steal some at-bats playing third base at some point, but the Cubs ultimately will make Lake the everyday third baseman.

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