Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Cubs Preview:Defense

The defense of the Cubs was pretty bad last year, most of the problems coming on the infield. Seems as thought the defense isn't doing so good this Spring either. Here is the lineup again:

Kosuke Fukudome, LF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Geovanny Soto, C
Blake Dewitt, 2B

The defense was good in the outfield. Soriano looks foolish sometimes, but he has good range to make up for it. Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), a measure of defensive value, has Soriano as having saved 5 runs over an average defender. Byrd has been an average center fielder career, but shined as a Cub last year, 9 runs saved by UZR. It had Fukudome as a below average defender, but he's been above his other three years. The best bet is he's around average right now.

The infield will largely stay the same, with the exception of Castro being better with more experience. Pena should probably be about what Derrek Lee was last year, and Dewitt a little worse than Ryan Theriot was. Aramis Ramirez is the worst defender, missing enough to be 7 runs below average.

Overall the defense is fairly unchanged, but we can hope the same batch of guys does a better job. They are all happy with Mike Quade as their manager, and as long as they stay in contention I think there will be some improvement, however I still expect the defense to be the weakness. I'm hoping for an average performance.

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