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DeJesus, Castro & LaHair

By bullpenbrian at 04.17.2012 2 comments.

The Cubs haven’t had a true leadoff threat atop the order since Juan Pierre in 2006, which is exactly why the Cubs went after David DeJesus this offseason.

Thus far DeJesus’ production has been steady. He’s reached base safely in 8 of 11 games while posting a respectable on-base percentage of .439.

He’s seen more pitches than any other Cubs batter (173), which hasn’t been the norm for a team expected to adopt a grind-it-out mentality.

DeJesus’ seven walks also leads the team, as does his eight runs scored. But that’s not all.

He’s played a terrific right field with several highlight reel catches already under his belt. I’ve also been impressed with his throwing arm, both strong and accurate.

No reason not to be pleased with the early returns for DeJesus. About the only thing he hasn’t done is steal many bases, so far 0-for-1.

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I’d be shocked if Starlin Castro isn’t of super-star status by the close of the 2012 regular season. Heck, maybe even by the middle of the season.

Castro continues to receive accolades for his hitting at a blistering pace.

After becoming the youngest player ever to lead the NL in hits last season (207), he’s also the first player since A-Rod in 1995 to reach 200 career hits at age 21-years or younger, a list, mind you, that includes Al Kaline, Ty Cobb & Joe DiMaggio.

Since 2011 his 22 games of three or more hits is also tops among NL batters, and second only to American Leaguers Michael Young’s (27) & Adrian Gonzalez’s (26).

Castro began this season right where he left off pacing the Cubs offense with a team leading .372 avg., 16 hits and 19 total bags.

His seven stolen bases easily leads the Cubs and is tied for second in the league with the Dodgers’ Dee Gordon.

Defense, however, remains Starlin’s Achilles’ heel. Four fielding errors in 11 games has him on pace to eclipse his 29 miscues from a season ago.

Surely if not for his many defensive blunders the kid would already be worthy of super stardom. Fielding improvement is the final brush stroke to a masterpiece player in the making.

***

The question with Bryan LaHair, aside from his ripe age, 29, has been whether or not he could hit at the big league level as well as he has at Triple-A.

The early answer is a resounding yes.

He’s currently riding a seven-game hitting streak, leads the club in home runs (2) and on-base percentage (.448) for everyday players.

But as with Castro, his defense is under question. Twice LaHair has backed off fielding ground balls at first base, one of which arguably cost the Cubs a victory against Washington.

Eliminating the problem appears as simple as coaching LaHair to field any ball he can get to. Pitchers, after all, are trained to cover first and Darwin Barney is there to back him up as well.

LaHair has easily hit his way into the everyday lineup while squashing the notion Anthony Rizzo should be summoned from Iowa. I’d hate to see LaHair field his way out of the of the everyday lineup.

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2 Comments

  1. The thing that the Cubs have been missing out on during their solid 2000′s run was a big, power, lefty bat in the middle of the order and a speedy, contact, high OBP lead off hitter. I’d say that if had those, then we wouldn’t be mentioning a century-long lack of WS titles. Good post!

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