Saturday, March 12, 2011

Updated Opening Day Roster Predictions

We're about half way through Spring Training, so it is time to do another update on my Opening Day roster predictions!

Starting Rotation
1. Ryan Dempster: Demp is having a good spring, looking ready for his first Opening Day start as a Cub.
2. Carlos Zambrano: Big Z is off to a good start this spring. He suffered a minor injury, but he is on schedule now. He will start tomorrow in Vegas.
3. Matt Garza: Garza has struggled more than any other pitcher that will actually make the team so far this spring. Matt is trying to adjust to pitching in Arizona and is trying to ease into throwing different types of pitches. Nobody is overly concerned about his slow start.
4. Randy Wells: The Sun-Times has reported that Wells is a lock to make the rotation. He has been a fixture in the rotation for the last three years, so I would be shocked if he doesn't get the fourth spot.
5. Andrew Cashner: In my mind, the fifth spot is up for grabs between Carlos Silva and Cashner. With Silva's struggles, which continued today, and his dugout incident with Aramis Ramirez, there is no reason that he should be on this team. Although Cashner was valuable to the bullpen last year, I expect him to do a great job moving into the rotation.

Closer- Carlos Marmol: got roughed up in Vegas today, but his stuff has looked as nasty as every despite the climate in the valley.
LH Setup Man- Sean Marshall: was dubbed the Cubs MVP by some experts last season. After years of bouncing back and forth between the pen and the rotation, he has finally settled in to a relief role.
RH Setup Man- Kerry Wood: He will get a warm welcome back to the Windy City this year. Let's not forget, this man can still pitch.
LH Middle Relief- John Grabow: He has said that he was embarrassed by his performance as he tried to pitch through injuries last season. John will be a key to the 'pen and need to bounce back.
RH Middle Relief- Jeff Samardzija: Since he is out of options and has a large contract, The Shark is considered a lock to make the team. In the final year of his contract, the ex-Notre Dame football standout needs to have a big year or dust off his helmet.
LH Long Relief- James Russell: Stuck in the bullpen last year after he was called up in April. Russell was one of the most effective young pitchers on the Cubs team. He is still in contention for the rotation, but will most likely end up edging Scott Maine as the third lefty in the pen.
RH Long Relief- Casey Coleman: After a fantastic rookie campaign in the starting five, it is possible that Casey will be sent back to Triple-A to be stretched out. I think he could give the bullpen a lift. If not, Berg or Silva will fill the final bullpen spot.

Starting Lineup
Kosuke, RF
Starlin Castro, SS
Marlon Byrd, CF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Marlon Byrd, CF
Alfonso Soriano, RF
Geovany Soto, C
Blake DeWitt, 2B

Koyie Hill: The Cubs like his defense and the way he deals with the pitching staff. Hill will return as the backup catcher.
Jeff Baker: Hammers left handed pitching. Baker could platoon with DeWitt at second base.
Darwin Barney: Barney is expected to beat out veteran Augie Ojeda for the final spot on the infield. He could see some time starting at second, and will back Castro up at short.
Reed Johnson: He is a quality leader who plays good defense and small ball. This fan favorite will most likely beat Fernando Perez out for the fifth outfield spot because Perez can be sent to Iowa.
Tyler Colvin: Colvin is expected to be in the starting lineup for the majority of the game this season. He will platoon with Kosuke in right in addition to backing up Byrd, Soriano and Pena.

Opening Day is less than three weeks away!

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