3/11 Cubs lineup

Ryan Sweeney’s right knee soreness apparently isn’t too serious. The outfielder is in the Cubs lineup Tuesday for their game against the Rockies at Cubs Park. Sweeney felt some discomfort during a play Sunday in right. Travis Wood gets the start. The game will be available on webcast on Cubs.com. Here’s the lineup:

Lake CF
Schierholtz DH
Ruggiano LF
Rizzo 1B
Castillo C
Sweeney RF
Murphy 2B
Valbuena 3B
Barney SS

T. Wood P

12 Comments

All these guys should make the club.

For all those in Arizona, let you know a Blizzard will hit Chicago later tonight…..now enjoy your sunshine and warm temperatures.

You may be right about all of the above making the 25 man Roster, but I cant make that statement yet. There are alot of infielders, in addition too last year that may make the team.
Consider Olt, although alot of K’s so far. Then, Bonifacio and Roberts look very good. With Valbuena, Murphy, Barney, Castro and Watkins, you have to consider who has options and who dont?
A trade may be still in the works, who knows? I am hoping that Roberts makes the team and Murphy stays as not only the backup SS, but every other INF position. Roberts backup 3B, 2B and 1B. If Olt makes the team, that is the back up INF’s.
Bonifacio in my opinion should be starting at 2B. A switch hitter with speed would be nice at leadoff.
Where would that leave Barney, Watkins and Valbuena? Watkins back to AAA, but Alcantrera is supposed to be starting there?
I love the competition, it makes things so much more interesting.

I think Roberts could make the team if they decide to go with 11 pitchers instead of 12. Watkins seems to be on the outs and would either split time at AAA with others or look to be traded for a younger less-developed prospect. I know there are people who want to see more from Watkins, but quite frankly, he hasn’t done much above AA and wasn’t really considered a top prospect anyway so I don’t see why he should get playing time in the Majors yet. If the Cubs do end up getting rid of him, I’ll only feel bad about it if he ends up being a good starter somewhere or if the likes of Alcantara, Baez, and Villanueva all end up busting.
I think Bonafacio makes the team and switches around between the IF and the OF. On days he’s in the lineup, he’ll probably be the best choice to lead off, but Barney will see a decent amount of playing time too due to his glove (and hopefully his bat won’t be as bad as it was last year). I think Olt and Valbuena both make the team and at the very least platoon at third, and maybe Olt will fill in for Rizzo if he needs a day off too. Even if Olt does win the starting job at third, Valbuena still sticks around as a backup. I think Murphy is in too because he can play multiple positions and has a Major League contract, as long as he doesn’t stink for the rest of spring training or someone doesn’t play their way ahead of him, then Murphy is in. That leaves Vitters, Watkins, and B. Jackson out. Some of them might find their way to AAA and wait for the next opportunity (I believe they all have options), but some of them might be released or traded for a young prospect who still has some developing to do.
Another interesting thing to keep an eye on is what happens with Ryan Kalish. I’ve read a rumor or two that Nate Schierholtz might be available now if another team wants him. I know trading regulars under a Major League contract is rare in Spring Training, but if that does happen then the door will open for Kalish to make the team. If not, then you hope he accepts assignment to AAA and becomes the Bogesevic or Sweeney of this season.
Of course, the makeup of the roster is also dependent on any injuries that occur and there’s still a few weeks of spring left, so plenty of time for players to play themselves on or off the roster. And don’t get too used to the Opening Day roster either, as small moves are made all the time and we know that the roster will be in for a major shakeup once Baez comes up in June.

Great read Doug. I agree with your Kalish Comments, I hope he makes the team also.
On Barney, I think I have gave up on him. He keeps pulling the ball, I seen him bunt, maybe two times last year. Have not seen him attempt one in Spring so far. The only positive thing so far I have heard or seen, is about his acting career. To many K’s.
Would I be happy if he could hit .270 or get his OBP up from .270 to .320? Yes, I would.
I would also be glad to see him gone, so he dont matter, at least to me.
Your comments on Watkins, all very much fact. My only gripe or comment on him is:
He never received a chance last year. Sveum could have platooned Watkins and Barney, lefty/righty. Instead, we watched Barney and his.208 AVG and his .270OBP everyday. How many great plays did he make at 2B? How many were just routine plays? How many routine plays would have been errors for Watkins? I have no idea.
Just my opinion, but Gold Glove or not, a .270 OBP for a regular and your team deserves a last place finish. That is worse than sad.

My thing with Watkins is, I don’t think he should have been playing just because he was there. If you’re a top prospect, then yes you should play. It would make no sense to, say, call up Baez this year and let him ride the bench for the rest of the season. But Watkins is no Baez, and wasn’t even named a Top 20 Cubs prospect at any time in his minor league career. That, combined with the fact he wasn’t even hitting .250 at AAA when he got the call up tells me that he doesn’t get the right to play just because he was there.
Another thing, I don’t think Watkins was even called up because the Cubs wanted to take a look at him. If memory serves, Valbuena got hurt and they were pretty thin in backup infielders towards the end of last season. So Watkins was called up not to audition for Barney’s job, but because they needed a body to occupy a spot on the roster. If not for Valbuena’s injury, Watkins probably wouldn’t have been called up until September, if they were even planning on calling him up at all.
Lastly, I think scouting today is advanced enough where you don’t need to call someone up just to “see what they can do.” I think scouts have a pretty good idea how a certain player will do when the get called up. Therefore, I don’t think teams need to throw someone in the lineup just to see what happens. Especially with this front office. I have a feeling that the Cubs’ scouting book on Watkins probably said something like “not ready for the Majors yet” or “would be over-matched by Major League pitching” or “is not ready to make adjustments to stay ahead of Major League pitchers” or “needs more time at AAA before he can become a serviceable Major League player”.
If they were calling up Watkins for the specific purpose of seeing if he could outplay Barney, then I agree, he should have played more. But I truly think that he was only there because they needed someone to fill out the 25-man roster once Valbuena went on the DL.

I would agree with everything you stated, except: If you called up a young guy to the Major League club at the end of June, for INS or not and your regular 2nd Baseman was not performing?
Wouldnt you at least give the kid a chance? Honestly, that really soured me on Sveum. Then the hiring of Rob Deer was not showing positive results. Bad move to hire a friend, when you hire, always the best person for the job. Not a friend looking for a job, just my opinion.
But back to Watkins, I honestly agree with everything you said, but with the season Barney had, I would like to think I would have at least gave Watkins a shot. Its not like I could have led my team to a worse finish than last.

Why do they keep starting Luis Valbuena at 3rd? We know what he can do – hit .218 with virtually no power. Why are they not starting Mike Olt more to see what this guy can actually do? Playing Valbuena is a complete waste of time.

Hopefully Olt will get more playing time after the first cuts. So far he has not even played at 3rd, because of a sore arm? Also, he is striking out alot.

Which he has always done so really not a surprise

petrey10, yes he has always K’ed alot. 7 k’s in 17 At Bats would equal 42 in a 102 At Bats. 408 At Bats would be 168 K’s.
Did he K that much before his vision problems? I dont know?

Valbuena is starting at third because no one else has outplayed him yet. If Olt has a good spring, he could very well be the Opening Day starter at third. As I said above with Watkins, the scouting department deserves more credit than they get. They know what they have with Olt, so there’s no need to “see what he can actually do.” They know what he can actually do, now they’re just seeing if he can actually do it, if that makes any sense. And he has 17 at bats this spring, so they are giving him playing time so far. You can tell that unlike Watkins, they know that Olt is ready for the Majors. They just need to see now if he can show that on the field.
As for Valbuena, can we please stop looking at batting average as the main indicator of a player’s worth? Despite his low BA, his OBP is not bad, so he’s not an automatic out and can work a deep count more times than not. His OPS is over .700, so he does hit for some power too. Maybe not Kris Bryant power, but his 12 homers in 331 at bats is not “virtually no power”. Olt might be the near-future of the team, with Villanueva and/or Bryant the long-term answer depending on what happens in the next year or two, but Valbuena is not an awful stop-gap solution until the prospects sort themselves out.

Valbuena along with Murphy and Ransom, produced at 3rd Base last year. 30 Home Runs and 70 RBI’s, 70 Runs scored at 3rd Base.
That accounts for 110 produced at that position.
At 1st Base Rizzo and Ransom’s 3 games 24 Homers, 81 RBI’s and 74 runs scored accounted for 131 Runs produced.
SS, Castro 10 Home Runs, 44 RBI’s and 59 Runs Scored accounted for 93 Runs produced.
2B 6 Players played 2B in 2013, Barney the most with 500 At Bats. 8 Home Runs, 45 RBI’s and 55 Runs scored. They together produced 92 Runs.
You can continue doing this, looking under split stats by position. You will find the RF produced the most Runs, with 1B next, then LF, then 3B. With the exception of Rizzo, all were platoon positions.
By position, 2B and SS were worst.

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