Chicago Cubs: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Chicago Cubs
Record: 42-51 (11 gb)
Biggest Surprise of First Half:
The 25 year old All-Star Travis Wood. Last year Travis struggling to find his rhythm and finished with an under-par 4.27 era. This year Travis has found his click and has pitched a staggering 2.79 era, only 9 home runs surrendered and 38 batters walked. The really impressive stat comes from Trav`s quality starts, as he led the majors with 17. Travis has only pitched two games in which a quality start, or pitching at least six innings with 3 or fewer runs, wasn’t attributed. With that type of consistency it is no wonder why Wood is heading to New York and if he keeps this up he may even be in the CY Young conversation.
Biggest Disappointment of First Half:
I know this song has been sung many a time, but I still am waiting for Starlin Castro to decide to be the leader of this team. His stats aren`t miserable, but his immaturity prevents him from being a superstar in the league and a leader of this talented Cubs team. The Cubs seem determined to make Castro an OBP machine, but this may not be possible for the young talent. Starlin isn`t having a great time in Chicago, seems to be overthinking his plate approach, and has yet to jell with this rebuilding team.
This is really hard to sort through. Garza is on his way out, Wood has already been covered and I want to choose someone who contributes with his glove and bat. The name that stands out to me is Anthony Rizzo. He doesn`t make a ton of fielding mistakes, 3 errors, and has been batting really well recently. I think that Rizzo is on a good path to become a solid star for the Cubs and I see him contributing for years to come.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
Javier Baez is playing short stop on the Cub`s double A team down in Tennessee. He was promoted to Tennessee last week and the 20 year old is still ripping it up. Javier ripped a couple of home runs and went 6-16 this past week. Baez`s power has the Cubs very excited and his batting line shows some consistency. The earliest Javier is going to be called up is in September, but he is a shoe in to be on the roster in 2014.
Contender or Pretender:
Pretender. I hesitate to label the Cubs as pretenders, merely because they aren’t pretending to be a contender. Chicago is on an all-out selling spree and they are moving a lot of their veteran pieces for prospects. I don`t expect the Cubs to be October worthy for a couple of years and the front office has a 2-3 year vision for the team.
Overall Team Analysis:
The Cubs are very inconsistent. There are games I watch and think that they are finally turning the page, and then there are moments where I wonder why I am getting a minor league game on ESPN. I would not be surprised to see Garza and Soriano gone by the deadline and I think it would be the right move for the Cubs at this point. There is no point in keeping these players at this point and they can get some good pieces for both. I believe that the Cubs have the right GM to try and pull the goat out of the yard, but the Chicago fans are getting antsy and I don’t blame them.