Chicago Cubs — Predicted Finish: Fifth Place, NL Central
Oh Theo, are you regretting the move to Chi-town yet?!?
Your best…well…at least most recognizable player, Starlin Castro, is the antithesis of your batting philosophy exercised in Boston. YET if you trade him, you’ll need to get an ABSOLUTE haul or you’ll get chased out of town.
However not all is lost since Anthony Rizzo is on the rise! You also have some nice complimentary pieces in Darwin Barney, Nate Scheirholtz and David DeJesus. Also if, and that is a big IF, Alfonso Soriano still has some missiles in the silo you might even be able to compete in your division, although that is not too likely.
The Cubs just need to rely on good old fashioned defensive baseball, especially considering their pitching. To call this staff mediocre is an insult to mediocre pitchers such as Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden, and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately good old fashioned baseball does almost nothing for you or my fantasy squads, so let’s get to the real details that matter.
Overall this team has a few solid fantasy options with some upside, but only a few.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Castro, Rizzo
Castro and Rizzo are the guys on this squad to target, that’s a given, they both will be more than productive enough to draft relatively high. I would also look at Barney and Soriano in deeper leagues as they can provide enough to make enough impact. I might also take a flier on Castillo in super deep leagues or if your catcher hits the DL, however he is a very last resort. Also be aware of a potential platoon situation with Scheirholz, his numbers don’t grade out all that well even if he is the everyday right fielder but you certainly don’t want to grab him in a pinch if he ends up splitting time with Scott Harriston.
|1 Starter||Matt Garza||29||R||195||65||10||164||0||3.78||1.31|
|2 Starter||Jeff Samardzija||28||R||190||61||11||169||0||3.65||1.25|
|3 Starter||Edwin Jackson||29||R||200||62||10||155||0||3.56||1.28|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Jackson, Samardzija
None of these pitchers are sure things, they aren’t even solid every start options to me. I would draft these guys knowing that I am going to use them at home and in good road matchups, at least for starters. The starters here have some strengths that would make me feel okay about drafting them.
I would draft Jackson and Samardzija because they are just work horses on the mound. Nothing stellar, just grinders. I would ambivalently take Matt Garza. He is a little less consistent than the other two BUT can have some killer games that would really help your fantasy staff. The trick is avoiding the really bad games he has. No other pitcher on this squad will end up on my fantasy teams, not even Marmol, but more on him later.
Fantasy Star: Castro
Castro is a terrific contact hitter from a shortstop position, and who doesn’t need a solid SS?! He can hit for above .300 average, double-digit home runs, and around 30 steals. He is worth a fourth or fifth round, pick or about 15-20 auction dollars, easy. Castro is my fifth ranked shortstop and really he is probably better than Elvis Andrus, but I just have taken a liking to Andrus so I can’t jump him with Castro. If you have Castro as your SS for next season, you should be more than happy with your production from a thin position.
Fantasy Bust: Marmol
He is just not worth the risk any longer. His K:9 rate is sliding rapidly, and he continues to walk more and more guys every year. He is also nowhere near a safe bet in the ninth inning. In fact, if baseball were high school he would be voted “Most Likely to Lose his Closer Job by June.”
Fantasy Sleeper: Rizzo
Okay, I admit, this is a cop out. Rizzo is not a “sleeper”, but he is CERTAIN to out preform other guys you will draft around his value at his position. I will go out on a limb and say that he will finish as the fifth most productive first baseman by season’s end. Just imagine if he was in a legit lineup, he could post some elite numbers. As it is now I would expect 90-35-105-5-.290 if he has the season I would hope for!
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