With just one month remaining of the misery that has been the 2010 season in Lakeview, the Chicago Cubs are 20 games below .500. On Monday night, despite holding a special ceremony to honor newly-inducted Hall of Fame outfielder Andre Dawson, the team played to the emptiest Wrigley Field in nearly three years: A crowd of less than 30,000 fans.
In truth, it is not only the losing that has driven the fans away, but the fact that the team plays a sloppy, often unwatchable brand of baseball. No team in baseball has committed more errors; no National League team has stolen fewer bases. Cubs hurlers have walked the fourth-most batters in the league, and have allowed the fifth-most home runs on the senior circuit.
For those too dedicated to turn away, however, there is plenty yet to be gleaned from the team's 30 remaining games. It has often been said that September rarely gives a fair picture of a player's abilities.
Still, the Cubs will use the last month of the 2010 campaign to find out as much germane information as possible about the best options for 2011. Here are five members of the organization upon whom it would be wise to keep the closest eyes.