Now we know that the Cubs were going to be pretty bad in 2012, because they don’t have a true superstar (Matt Garza and Starlin Castro are good but they’re closer to B-listers, unfortunately) and they’re average at best in some categories while atrocious at others. But take heart, Cubs fans, there are things to be thankful about. No, I’m not smoking weed, I’m being sort of serious. Even in the darkest of times there are positives to brighten our outlook, and so let’s have another edition of the Top Ten List as we look at the Cubs after their first ten games.
To recap, the Cubs are now 3-7 and lurking towards the bottom of the National League Central. Ivy will have a recap for the first ten games as well from her perspective, but without further ado…
Things that we can be happy about over the first ten games even though the Cubs are sucking
10. The Cubs can still score runs.
Anno and I have a gentlemen’s bet going where I think that the Cubs can score 70 runs or more and he thinks I’m crazy. So far the Cubs have scored 40 runs in these first ten games, for a rate of four runs per game. They have 13 games left to score 30 runs. Doable? Depends on whether you think they will get shut out or not in a few of those games. 70 runs in 23 games is a smidge over three runs per game, just for reference. Which brings us to…
9. The Cubs haven’t been shut out yet.
You’d think with this bad of an offense that it would happen at least once, but thanks to a few hits here or there, a defensive miscue or two, and the Cubs refusing to believe they suck that bad, they’ve been able to score at least one run in each of the ten games. They’ll probably be shut out at some point, but not yet. Moral victory!
8. David DeJesus is doing leadoff-hitter type things.
He’s not going to steal tons of bases (really, no Cub is, but we’ll deal with that in a bit…) but he is getting on base at a greater than 40% clip and is seeing tons of pitches as well as walking in 16.7% of his plate appearances. There’s a good leadoff guy.
7. Bryan LaHair doesn’t completely suck either.
He’s had a couple of nice home runs including one that hit Sheffield. We’ll ignore the fact that he strikes out in more than a third of his at-bats, he’s still punishing the ball whenever he makes contact.
It’s early and he’s only had two starts, but Jeff was impressive in his season debut and toughed out a bad inning against the Cardinals to earn another victory. He probably lost his concentration (bad innings happen) and I’m curious to see what he does for an encore, but he hasn’t completely embarrassed himself. I count this as a definite positive.
5. The prospects in Iowa are doing pretty well.
Brett Jackson has his strikeout issues but is still getting on base a ton and hitting for power. Anthony Rizzo is a monster. Even the legendary Tony Campana is doing well and hit his first professional home run (although I think Iowa was hit by a tornado someplace so he might have had help on that one). Wait a few weeks and maybe we’ll see those guys come up.
4. Alfonso Soriano is on a good streak.
He’s hitting over .300 and is running well and playing decent defense. Now if only he would hit more than just singles. Because it looks terrible when your SLG is equal to your batting average.
3. Steve Clevenger is also doing pretty well.
He’s not going to end his season batting over .500 but he’s got some nice opposite field hitting and he seems to call a good game. And he’s not Koyie Hill. But no, he’s not going to supplant Geovany Soto as the starting catcher.
2. The top of the rotation is awesome so far.
Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza should both be 2-0 but them’s the breaks. They’ve been largely dominant so far and at least give the Cubs a chance to win whenever they start.
1. Starlin Castro!
He’s not walking all that much but I guess you don’t have to when you’re getting good enough contact and hitting at such a high average. He’s also running wild all over the bases. Gotta work on that defense, but we expect lots of good things out of him as he matures. Hard to believe he’s only 22.