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Projecting the Chicago Cubs 2017 Starting Lineup

June 14th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

'Chicago Cubs Year One' photo (c) 2010, Jason - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The timeline for the Chicago Cubs rebuilding process says that the team will be ready to compete for a title in 2016 at the earliest. So for argument sake, lets extrapolate to 2017 when the Cubs will be legitimate contenders. The Cubs have so many exciting prospects coming through the pipeline that their lineup should be one of the best in baseball. Take a look.

Note: this lineup is a projection based on current players and does not account for any major trades or free agent signings

2017 Projection:

2017 Lineup2017 Projection
Arismenty Alcantara, 2Bage: 25, .270, 9 hr, 25 sb
Starlin Castro, SSage: 27, .295, 15 hr, 35 dbl
Anthony Rizzo, 1Bage: 27, .285, 30 hr, .415 OBP, GG winner
Kris Bryant, 3Bage: 25, .310, 35 hr, 105 RBI, MVP finalist
Javier Baez, RFage: 24, .265, 40 hr, 95 RBI, Hr leader
Kyle Schwarber, LFage: 24*, .260, 22 hr, ROY finalist
Welington Castillo, Cage: 30, .255, 8 hr, GG finalist
Albert Almora, CFage: 23*, .250, 25dbl, GG finalist
Pitcher-

*denotes rookie season, GG-gold glove, dbl-doubles

A few things to note about this lineup. 1) nearly every player here is either in his prime or about to enter his prime, which means that the Cubs window to bring home a championship will be large! 2) Some project that Kris Bryant will move to the outfield, but here I have Javier Baez moving and Bryant staying in the infield and the reason behind that move is this; neither one has proven to be a particularly strong fielder thus far (Baez is fielding .938 at SS and Bryant .929 at third). I think it's worth keeping Arismendy Alcantara in the infield, although the Cubs have recently tried him out in centerfield at AAA Iowa, because he looks like the only consistently competent infielder of the bunch. I also think that moving Baez to the outfield, which is a pretty simple transition (example, Junior Lake), will be much easier than teaching him to play third base. Third base is actually a lot different from short stop in regards to how you field the ball. To play third base you need to be strong in your lateral movements where as short stops need to be better at charging and drop stepping. Some guys can to do both naturally and some just can't. And because of that, working with Bryant at the position he knows will probably be more effective.

But anway, the cubs lineup projects to be pretty potent in three years and the best part is that 2017 will only be the beginning for guys like Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora, who both have very bright futures ahead of them.

Tags: Albert Almora, Anthony Rizzo, Arismendy Alcantara, Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, MLB, Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo

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