Alfonso Soriano: A New Sixth Hitter?

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIJuly 12, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 29:  Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 29, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 10-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Is Alfonso Soriano in the sixth hole the answer the Cubs have been looking for to pull Soriano out of his slump?

I say yes.

When Soriano was moved to the sixth hole, he was struggling badly. He was striking out and was lucky if he could put a ball in play. Since the move, Soriano is batting .333 (7-21). In the St. Louis series, Soriano is hitting .333 with one RBI and two walks. A big improvement over earlier in the season.

I know this is early to judge whether Soriano in the six hole is working well. I think it is because I see a different approach from Soriano. He doesn't seem to be pressing. He seems a lot more relaxed batting six.

Soriano's season started off with a good April. He was hitting .284 with a .364 OBP. Pretty good for a lead-off hitter. He had seven home runs and 14 RBI.

In May and June he fell off big time, to say the least. In May, Soriano hit .216 with a .264 OBP. That is disgusting for the Cubs' one time lead-off man. He had five home runs and 11 RBI.

June for Soriano was rough too. He hit a very weak .198, but his OBP was a little higher but still terrible at .274. He had only two home runs and seven RBI.

So far in July, Soriano seems to be showing signs that he can turn it around. Like I said, Soriano has hit .333 since the move to six making his average in July .259. His OBP is on its way up. It stands at .310 as of July 11.

The sixth spot in the batting order is the best place for Soriano. He can relax a little more knowing he isn't responsible for starting the offense off and he will see a lot more pitches to hit. Just the thing he needs to break out of his slump.

Like Roberto Clemente once said, "You can't break out of a slump unless you swing the bat to hit the ball." Soriano definitely seems to be doing that.

Watch out for Alfonso to have a big second half of the season.

Jake Karmel