I noticed something yesterday in my post about Who’s the Cubs’ best option at 2B? None of the three second base candidates—DeWitt, Baker or Barney–are ideal leadoff men.
This made me realize I overlooked the importance of finding a leadoff hitter on Jim Hendry’s offseason to-do list, which, included finding a first baseman, preferably a left-handed bat, signing a No.2 or No. 3 starting pitcher, and landing a quality bullpen arm.
I give Hendry credit for landing Carlos Pena, the left-handed hitting first baseman: Kerry Wood, the quality bullpen arm, and Matt Garza, a solid No.3 starter. But there’s still no sign of a true leadoff hitter on this club.
My likely leadoff candidates, outside the dreaded second base options, are Fukudome and Tyler Colvin. But neither really fit the mold of an ideal table setter.
Moreover, Starlin Castro is too much of a free swinger. Marlon Byrd thrived last season in the five-hole, and DeWitt, Baker & Barney combined for just 24 games leading off. So are we really back to Soriano in the No.1 hole?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the Cubs leadoff hitters in 2010:
-Theroit: 56 games, Cubs record (29-27).
-Fukudome: 47 games, Cubs record (22-25).
-Colvin: 24 games, Cubs record (8-16).
-DeWitt: 13 games, Cubs record (8-5).
-Baker: 7 games, Cubs record (5-2).
-Byrd: 5 games, Cubs record (1-4).
-Barney: 4 games, Cubs record (1-3).
-Fuld: 4 games, Cubs record (2-2).
-Castro: 1 game, Cubs record (0-1).