Spring Training Beat: “Cubs Baseball is Now On the Air”.


We are only two days away from hearing Pat Hughes give his infamous statement before every Cubs game, and that is “Cubs baseball is now on the air.” This week marks the first week of baseball games of the season, and we will now have baseball through November 7th. With that being said here is the latest from Spring Training.

Lou Piniella has announced his first three pitchers of his rotation for the season. Carlos Zambrano will be the opening starter, followed by Ryan Dempster, and Randy Wells. The last two spots will be filled by two of following in Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall, and Carlos Silva.

Lou also said that Starlin Castro could be the starting shortstop for Thursday’s cactus league opener and bat leadoff. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez also have expressed interest in playing in the game as well.

But back to Castro, Lou Piniella is very anxious to see how Castro performs this spring…

"“I’m anxious to see the kid myself, I’ll be honest with you,” Piniella said Monday. “He handles himself very professionally for a young kid out here. The more experience we can get this young man in Spring Training, the better.”“He’s calm, he’s not awed by being here,” Piniella said. “He’s relaxed, he’s not starry eyed. If you didn’t know he was 19 years old, you couldn’t guess he was 19.”MUSKAT RAMBLINGS"

Lou also announced his cactus league rotation for the first slew of games, as Randy Wells will start Thursday, Carlos Zambrano on Friday, we will get our first look at Carlos Silva on Saturday, and Jeff Samardzija and Tom Gorzelanny are starting in the two split-squad games on Sunday.

Baseball Prospectus now projects the Cubs to win 80 games this year, which would be nine games behind the projected first place team in the St. Louis Cardinals. However, I strongly disagree with these projections, many baseball writers such as Paul Sullivan, David Kaplan, and Bruce Levine all feel that the Cubs can win 90 games this year. I think 90 wins is a realistic possibility for the Cubs barring any unforeseen injuries, and you also have think that the Cubs have a lot of flexibility to make moves around the trade deadline.

It should be noted that on average last year, Baseball Prospectus was seven games off with their projections, and this year they project the Yankees to miss the playoffs. So that is definitely a hit to their credibility. But either way,  that is why wins are decided on the field, and not on paper.