Say what you want about the Cubs not producing offensively,but the bottom line is that looking at what are now near season totals, most ofthe Cubs' big hitters are exactly where you'd project them to be at thebeginning of the year.
Aramis Ramirez started off slow as he did a year ago, but should finish right about the 27-home run/100-RBI mark, a stat line thateveryone would have taken at Opening Day if asked. Not to mention that from June through August, Ramirez was one of the best hitters in the game, slugging .585 and posting a .939 OPS in 80 games over those three months. Double those stats and Ramirez would have projected to having a 45-home run, 130-RBI season.You know that "career year" that's always alluded Aramis? That three-month stretch was it. So he can't possibly be to blame for the Cubs' poor record, especially considering that much of that production was done in the midst of trade talks and constant heckling from the Chicago media.
The kid to his right, Starlin Castro, fits the same bill and should finish at right about 10 homers and 65 RBIs, which was what just about everyone expected from the 21-year old. The best part about Castro's season, however, has been his peripherals. While Starlin's patience at the plate has been in line with the Pattersons, Pies, and Hoffpauirs of the world, his average and slugging have been as good or better than last year, every step of the way this season. As for his on-base percentage, that will improve with time, and once it goes up, so will everything else, considering the kid is hitting at a.306 clip as it is.
Moving around the horn, Carlos Pena has been everything the Cubs had hoped for, based on his skill-set and statistics from a year ago. He's had stretches this season where no one in the league has slugged better, and Hendry would have done backflips in February had you told him Pena would finish with 30 homers and hit .230. Has his RISP numbers been disappointing? Sure, and that's reflected in his run production, but it's Carlos Pena. We all knew going into this season that he wasn't going to put up Pujols or Fielder numbers. Now, if the Cubs can't grab one of those two guys, Pena's more that shown he'sworthy of sticking around.
Lastly, let's look at Alfonso Soriano, who should finishwith roughly 25 homers and 80 RBI. Anyone with any knowledge of Soriano's legs, ability, and pressure would take that production any day in the end. That's who Soriano is and exactly what we should expect from him at his age, with his now limited ability.
Now...if only Geovany Soto was one of these"expectation" guys, but we can save that analysis for another day.
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