Spring Training Roster Battles: Hitters

The Cubs have played 13 spring training games so far, giving most contenders to make the major league squad 15-20 PA. Here's a breakdown of each battle so far:

OQ = Opponent Quality

Catcher

Castillo (17 PA, 9.3 OQ): .267/.353/.467, 1 HR

Navarro (16 PA, 8.9 OQ): .214/.313/.429, 1 HR

Clevenger* (17 PA, 9.0 OQ): .333/.412/.333, 0 HR

*1 game started at 1B

Everyone has performed to expectations here. I'd expect Castillo to start, Navarro to backup (but start more than a normal backup), and Clevenger has a SHOT at being emergency catcher/corner infielder, depending on the breaks.

First Base

Rizzo (15 PA, 9.2 OQ, Italy): .286/.333/.429, 0 HR

Nelson (19 PA, 8.8 OQ): .333/.368/.833, 2 HR

Bogusevic* (23 PA, 8.7 OQ): .450/.522/.900, 1 HR

*3 games at RF, 1 at LF

Nelson is no real threat to make the team, he's the backup backup backup plan. He's a Quad-A guy. Bogusevic has more of a chance, but it's likely tied to if Soriano gets traded or if Sappelt is really not liked by the management. Bogusevic doesn't have the positional flexibility a guy like Lillibridge has, so he can really only play LF or RF. 

Second Base

Barney (19 PA, 9.3 OQ): .278/.316/.333, 0 HR

Maysonet* (21 PA, 8.8 OQ): .158/.238/.368, 1 HR

Lillibridge** (10 PA, 9.0 OQ): .300/.300/.300, 0 HR

Watkins (19 PA, 8.5 OQ): .294/.368/.529, 0 HR

*4 games at SS, 3 at 2B, 2 at 3B, 1 at 1B

** 2 games at SS, 1 at 2B, 3B, and 1B

I put Maysonet and Lillibridge here because Castro plays 162. Lillibridge has a good shot at sticking, and Maysonet less so, but Watkins is probably deserving of the shot. Unlike Lilli or Edwin, Logan will probably be a part of the next contending Cubs team; however, I'd rather Watkins start every day in AAA this year and have Lillibridge be the backup. 

Shortstop

No one is making the team besides Castro here, who is sitting out most of Spring Training.

Third Base

Valbuena (14 PA, 9.4 OQ): .417/.500/.833, 1 HR

Stewart: (Hurt, Again): nothing/nothing/nothing, 1 Injury

Lake* (24 PA, 8.7 OQ): .304/.333/.565, 1 HR

*1 game in CF

It's hard to tell if Lake is permanently moving to 3B, because Stewart's injury necessitates someone play there the days Valbuena has off. I'm inclined to believe that the OF is still being discussed with Lake, but injuries are just forcing the Cubs hand here. Valbuena should probably start at 3B, Stewart should probably be cut (he's not going to accumulate much value on our bench when/if he returns), and either Lillibridge or Clevenger should back him up. I suppose that Stewart could win the job if he returns and does well, but he's just about out of chances (with the Cubs, anyway). 

Left Field

Soriano (16 PA, 9.2 OQ): .357/.438/.643, 1 HR

McDonald* (22 PA, 9.1 OQ): .150/.182/.350, 1 HR

*5 games at LF, 2 at RF, 1 at CF

McDonald has been given a ton of chances, and he's done little with them.

Center Field

DeJesus (16 PA, 9.1 OQ): .083/.313/.083, 0 HR

Sappelt (23 PA, 8.7 OQ): .174/.174/.348, 1 HR

Jackson* (18 PA, 8.7 OQ): .273/.444/.727, 0 HR

*4 games at LF, 2 at CF, 1 at RF

Sappelt has the inside track at the backup CF position, but Jackson is the better player. Hopefully, Soriano is traded, DeJesus moves to LF (where he's probably more comfortable), and Jackson starts in CF. 

Right Field

Schierholtz (18 PA, 9.4 OQ): .400/.444/.667, 1 HR

Hairston* (20 PA, 9.2 OQ): .158/.200/.316, 1 HR

Chavez** (17 PA, 8.2 OQ): .375/.353/.688, 1 HR

* 3 games at CF and RF

**4 games at RF, 3 at LF

Hairston and Schierholtz are a lock to platoon at this position. Johermyn Chavez is prospect-y enough to hope he stays with the Cubs, but it certainly won't be at the major league level, it's just too crowded. In either case, no big deal. 

The offensive unit kinda looks like this to me:

Configuration A:

C: Castillo/Navarro/Clevenger

1B: Rizzo/Clevenger

2B: Barney/Lillibridge

SS: Castro/Lillibridge

3B: Valbuena/Clevenger/Lillibridge

LF: Soriano/DeJesus

CF: DeJesus/Sappelt

RF: Schierholtz/Hairston

13 players

Configuration B:

C: Castillo/Navarro

1B: Rizzo/Lillibridge/Castillo

2B: Barney/Valbuena/Lillibridge

SS: Castro/Valbuena/Lillibridge

3B: Stewart/Valbuena/Lillibridge

LF: Soriano/Valbuena/Lillibridge

CF: DeJesus/Sappelt

RF: Schierholtz/Hairston

13 players

I think the first one is more likely. I actually like the idea of giving Castillo starts against lefties at 1B, because it'll save his legs and give a platoon advantage there. Plus, Navarro is a switch hitter, so he can still get platoon in those cases.

 

 

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