Based on the spring lineups we have seen, The Cubs will go with something like this:
Kosuke Fukudome, LF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Geovanny Soto, C
Blake Dewitt, 2B
When a lefty is on the mound Jeff Baker will lead of f and play second base. I suspect Reed Johnson will be in left field.
I very much like this lineup, and you should too. It’s good. There are a lot of bad reputations here that are undeserved. Fukudome is a well above average OBP guy vs righties. I hope Castro stays out of a sophomore slump. Byrd is actually a bit overrated but still productive. He probably shouldn’t be in the #3 hole but that’s ok. Career numbers indicate that the first part of 2010 was a fluke for Aramis Ramirez, and he will be quite good this year.
Pena is a wild card. Battling Plantar Faciitis he put up a .196 average last year. Quite terrible, but his OBP was a bit better. The average probably won’t be stellar but the 35-40 HR should come back and the OBP should get back above .360. Wrigley is a much easier place to hit homers than Tampa.
Soriano is thought of as a bad hitter. It’s true he’s lost a lot and is overpaid but he’s still a good hitter. Soto is one of the game’s best hitting catchers. I’d like to see him in the 2 hole actually, but catching is already a big workload so I don’t mind him at the bottom. Last year he was underused in favor of more games for Koyie Hill. Let’s hope that’s over. Dewitt is decent, better than most 8 hitters. Wrigley will help his numbers a bit to.
While this team lacks a 3-4 punch like the Cardinals or Brewers, it’s better 5-9 and maybe 1-2 than any other team in the division. OBP appears to be a big strength, which I like. More guys on base means a lot of good things, and it’s accepted that hitters perform better. There’s a lot of home run pop here too, so many of those base runners will be cashed in.