CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (01/23)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (01/22)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (01/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (01/23)

January 23, 2014

Fantasy Team Preview

Chicago Cubs

by Craig Goldstein


Last year was yet another tough one for Cubs fans, even if the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod-led front office continues to stockpile assets. The win-loss record is a nagging source of frustration for the fans, and the on-field lineup might just be as frustrating for fantasy owners. With the potential to sport a platoon in the outfield and a defensive specialist in the infield, as well as a patient front office that will keep its drool-worthy prospects at bay, this Cubs tree isn’t likely to bear much fruit in the early going.

Projected Lineup

1. SS Starlin Castro
2. 2B Luis Valbuena
3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
4. RF Nate Schierholtz
5. LF Junior Lake
6. 3B Mike Olt
7. C Welington Castillo
8. CF Ryan Sweeney
9. Pitcher

There’s not a ton going on here, though I did try to inject a little more by inserting Mike Olt into the starting lineup, as I think there’s a chance that he emerges with that job. Castro has been harangued (not to be confused with Haranged) plenty for his poor play. The fact remains that he’s 24 years old, with a track record that would imply a rebound despite some unnerving trends. It was not that long ago (2012) that he posted a 102 OPS+, which, at SS, is nothing to sneeze at. The OBP is never going to be pretty if the average isn’t but he’s worth taking a chance on if everyone else is wary. Rizzo is most productive member of this lineup when it comes to fantasy, but I do think he gets overrated just a tad, as people combine his batting average from 2012 (.285) with his home run total from 2013 (23), and then project growth from there. I’m not sure that’s a fair thing to do to a young player like Rizzo. Growth is obviously the name of the game, but if he’s going to be a 30-home-run threat, I’d anticipate a batting average closer to the one he produced in 2013 (.233), because if he’s a .285/30 HR type, he’s one of the best first basemen in the league. I think a fair expectation is something in the .265-.275 range on the batting average and 20-25 home runs. Unfortunately, the lineup surrounding him is going to make it hard for him to produce much in the way of context statistics, so that’s going to ding his value a bit as well.

Outside of those two, your best chance for fantasy value comes from Junior Lake, who I mentioned in an article shortly after the season ended. There are some impact tools there and I actually like him as a late flier just in case something clicks, but he’s more likely to be exposed over a full season than anything else. As far as catchers go, Welington Castillo is an interesting one. He’s not someone you want to count on, but for a $1 backstop, a .269 career average is potentially helping you, and while he doesn’t feature a ton of a pop, he might be able to clear the double-digit mark with a full season behind the plate. He does strikeout a lot, so be aware of that if your league penalizes batter strikeouts. As mentioned above, I think Olt is the other interesting name here. It was a bad year for him in 2013, and there’s no way around that. He’s still someone who can play quality defense at third base while providing a dose of power if he’s right, which of course remains to be seen. The Cubs though, have every incentive to find out if he can be even 80 percent of what we thought he was going to be in Texas, and if he is, that is a boon to this lineup and fantasy owners alike.

Projected Bench

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

6 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (01/23)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (01/22)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (01/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (01/23)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Daily League Strategy: "Prado of the Yankees...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, August 22
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Era
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, Augu...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 22, 2014
Premium Article Raising Aces: Police and Thieves
Premium Article Painting the Black: A Marlins Fastball, A Tw...

MORE FROM JANUARY 23, 2014
Premium Article Perfect Game Presents: Before They Were Pros...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Dude (Looks Like a Gra...
Premium Article Skewed Left: Bobby Abreu, the Phillies, and ...
Premium Article Minor League Update: International Winter Le...
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 F...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Target: First Basemen
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Freddie Freeman vs. Eric H...

MORE BY CRAIG GOLDSTEIN
2014-01-28 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Tier Rankings: Second Basemen
2014-01-24 - Fantasy Article Get to Know: First Base Prospects
2014-01-24 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 3: There A...
2014-01-23 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Chicago Cubs
2014-01-22 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
2014-01-21 - Fantasy Article State of the Position: First Basemen
2014-01-17 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 2 -- I'm a...
More...

MORE FANTASY TEAM PREVIEW
2014-02-05 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates
2014-02-03 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Cincinnati Reds
2014-01-29 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers
2014-01-23 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Chicago Cubs
2014-01-22 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
2014-01-17 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks
2014-01-15 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: San Francisco Giants
More...