Straight from the most reliable source on the matter, Jed Hoyer stated today that Nate Schierholtz will be the likely RF starter for the Cubs in 2013.
Schierholtz, who was acquired by the Cubs after being non-tendered by the Phillies this off season, posted decent 2012 batting figures in a .257/.321/.425 triple slash in 241 AB. He’s expected to receive more at bats for the Cubs after suffering a broken toe, which sidelined him for a portion of last season.
While his metrics are good considering his cost, I wouldn’t bank a whole lot of offensive hope in him. He’ll likely hit in the same range, if not show a little more power but I wouldn’t expect him to hit anymore than 10 HR next year… and even that’s a bit of a stretch.
When addressing Schierholtz’s role, Hoyer also commented:
He’s certainly going to play a ton for us. We feel he’s a guy who has been undervalued and a guy who, with more at-bats, can thrive. He’s played in the NL West and playing 100 games that are tough hitters ballparks.
Schierholtz will not only get a chance to see more at bats being a starter vs a potential 5th outfielder with the Phillies, he’ll get a shot at flexing his defensive muscle as well. His 0.5 WAR last season left much to be desired, but his .991 FLD% looks very nice with only 1 error in 533.1 total innings.
In a way, his role is very similar to which David DeJesus filled for the Cubs last season. An effective, cost efficient patch for an otherwise gaping OF hole is what the Cubs wanted from Schierholtz and it seems as though that exactly what they’re going to get.