Chicago Cubs: Assembling Their Best Lineup at the End of Spring Training
1. David DeJesus, CF
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David DeJesus is perhaps the most versatile player on the Cubs roster. As a line-drive hitter with good speed and range, DeJesus can be used anywhere in the outfield. He also has great plate patience, tallying a career-high 61 walks in 2012. He will make the switch to center field from right this season to accommodate newly acquired Nate Schierholtz.
2. Stalin Castro, SS
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Starlin Castro will be the deuce hitter for the Cubbies and start at shortstop. Castro is another speedy line-drive hitter, although he has to develop his plate patience. The young star walked only 36 times last season and struck out exactly 100 times. Castro works great in the two slot to set up the power hitters.
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
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Set to launch his first full MLB season, Anthony Rizzo looks to continue and improve on the stellar start to his career. He works great in the three spot as a high-average hitter with average speed. Rizzo could eventually turn into a cleanup hitter, but with Alfonso Soriano hitting in the four spot, Rizzo works perfectly batting third.
4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
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Alfonso Soriano will continue to hit cleanup, but he needs to do more cleaning up and a lot less striking out. He whiffed 153 times in 2012, although he knocked out 32 home runs. Despite the fact that his speed has declined over the years, he is still quite fast for a number four hitter.
5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
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6. Wellington Castillo, C
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Wellington Castillo will start behind the plate for the Cubs and bat sixth to start the season, but he is far from guaranteed to stay there. Newly acquired Dioner Navarro is knocking at the door; expect him to take over the starting role from Castillo at some point during the season.
7. Luis Valbuena, 3B
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Luis Valbuena will be in the lucky number seven spot, and hopefully that seven will bring him more luck than last year. He hit a pitiful .219 last season, and will almost certainly only be starting at the hot corner for a brief time while Ian Stewart is on the DL. He fits well at the seven in order to force the opposition to pitch to him in front of Darwin Barney.
8. Darwin Barney, 2B
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Darwin Barney has proven that he can hit well in the 8-spot. He provides a decent, though far from spectacular, bat at the bottom of the order. Barney is known more for his glove than his bat but he can still bring a decent number of hits, as he had 139 last season. Depending on his performance throughout the season, he may be moved up a bit in the batting order.