You know they're not going to lose 162 consecutive games.
In this new season many questions about the team's future have arisen. How will Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones rebound from their previous lackluster seasons? Will the rookies perform like they did in the second half of 2005? Last, just who the hell will play 2nd base; Todd Walker, Neifi Perez, or Jerry Hairston Jr.? In this latest entry, I venture to at least drunkenly stammer through something like answers.
Juan Pierre is an interesting looking guy. Even when he was having an off year he could hit circles around Korey Patterson. Juan had a .326 obp last year which is not all that great. Then compare that to the .329 obp Korey put up in his best year and you can see that Juan is going to be a lot better Mr. Patterson could ever hope to be. Juan usually hits in range of a .355 obp which makes him the new baseball Jesus compared to Korey. Juan is a run producing machine and will set the table much better than any leadoff man the Cubs have had in the past decade. Last year Juan scored 96 runs! This was on a down year folks. Korey's best year was in 2004 when he scored 91 runs, and this was the only year he would come within 20 runs of that number. Even if Juan is not able to return to his old form he will still make the Korey Patterson years look like Bush League baseball.
I hate how people say that Juan is going to be a step down in the fielding department compared to Korey. This is a myth. Juan can field just as well as Korey could. There are complaints about Juan's arm strength but I think that if you would just look at the facts Juan had 7 assists last year in center field and 6 assists in 2003. If you look at the stats of Korey he had similar numbers over the same span of time yet people never complained about his ability to throw the ball. In fact Juan's 7 assists last year was better than 13 National League center fielders and he was tied with Kenny Lofton. All while Juan played in the absurdly large center field of Dolphins Stadium. I am here to say once and for all get off the man's back for Christ's sake and be glad we have such a great player in center field. He will fill his role better than any of us could hope. He will get on base, set the table for Lee, and surprise us all with his defensive play.
Next is the odd character of Jacque Jones who I will now dub the Lumberjacque because I find it amusing and a bit ironic. If we were to take last year as the Lumberjacque's only year of playing baseball then he would be a step down in all aspects of hitting and fielding compared to Jeromy Burnitz. If we take into account all of his years and compare them to Jeromy Burnitz... Oh shit. DAMNIT HE SUCKS! I'm sorry but I am just plain pissed that the Cubs picked up the Lumberjacque. He will merely be an average player at best but he will actually be no worse than Jeromy was last year and if anything the Lumberjacque has room to grow. If you look at the numbers he was only a tiny smidgen worse than Jeromy was last year but he is 6 years younger so maybe he will be able to bounce back. If not, then Hendry can work some of his mid-year magic and we won't have to live long through the anguish of the Lumberjacque era.
On to the next question... Will the rookies Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno live up to their lofty expectations or will one of them be the next Jason Dubois. I have faith in Dusty that he will actually play our two young stars. I also have faith that both of them are going to be good players. If you look at the facts both of these young men shot up through the minor league ranks and when they got to the big show neither of them blew up like another former Cub of the same description *cough* Korey *cough*.
First, I will look at Ronny Cedeno. This young man looked great last year in his limited action. He was able to field at the difficult short stop position surprisingly well for a rookie and even made what I felt to be some spectacular plays. At the plate he was able to show a good eye posting a .300 ba and a .356 obp in 80 at bats. The 11 strike outs is a bit alarming to me but he still never ceases to impress. Ronny won the Rookie of the Year in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Matt Murton is like Todd Walker but better. Matt put up stupefying numbers in last season. In 140 ab he hit an insane .321 ba and .386 obp while posting 22 strike outs and 16 walks. His strike out to walk ratio is very good and that is something that the Cubs need badly. A man who strikes out little and walks frequently is very valuable to any club but especially to the Cubs. His power numbers are even better. Matt hit 7 homers last season and had a .521 slg percentage. His fielding is pretty shabby but it think it was a bit of the jitters. Someone once said it is easy to catch a ball in a minor league park but it gets a little more difficult when another deck is added. I would like to dub him Opie because that is what my father calls him.
On to the last question... Who the hell is on 2nd? I will tell you who I think should be on 2nd, Todd Walker period. He is the best 2nd baseman on the team and the fact that Neifi Perez is even in the race is a testament to the insanity of Dusty Baker and not the awesome skills of Neifi. Todd Walker is the best in all categories and I will now lay it out for you. Todd is the best at hitting. He is far superior to Neifi Perez at hitting and he is superior to Jerry Hairston Jr. People the man had a .305 ba and a .355 obp last year. That beats the hell out of both Neifi and Jerry by at least .020 and at most .050. In addition, Todd is the better fielder!? He has a better fielding percentage than both Neifi and Jerry and he has fewer errors over a span of 164 games if you were to calculate out the stats. This is just like people jumping on Juan Pierre's back because he has a bad reputation that he picked up from god knows where. Get the hell off the man's back and let him play superior baseball! Todd Walker is the best player and if Dusty doesn't make him the 2nd baseman and makes Neifi the man then I may go crazy. I could live with Jerry Hairston Jr. but I know that Todd Walker is the best player for the job and the only conceivable reason he doesn't get the job is because the Cubs really want to deal his ass.
Who knows I may come back to answer the questions of the pitching staff but I doubt it will happen at least not this week. I have a big ass mid-term I should be studying for right now.