New Year, Same Offense for the Cubs


Despite hiring who many consider to be the best hitting coach in the Majors, in Rudy Jaramillo, the Cubs still appear to be lacking production from their offense.

Entering play today the Cubs as a team are hitting .250 with an on base percentage of .317 and a slugging percentage of .424. All while scoring 4.3 runs per game. In all major offensive categories the Cubs are ranked towards the bottom half of the league,  with the exception being with home runs (16) and slugging percentage.

While the Cubs maybe hitting home runs, they are not driving in runs when they are most needed. For instance take tonight’s game, where the Cubs lost 6-1, the Cubs left 12 men on base and were a combined 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Partial blame lays upon the shoulders of Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano both of whom the Cubs are depending on to be run producers in the middle of their lineup.

Ramirez on the season is off to a slow start, hitting .170 while hitting 3 home runs, but still driving in 8 runs. Another number that should scare you regarding Ramirez, is the fact that he already has 16 strikeouts on the season for the Cubs.

As for Soriano, the struggling left fielder is hitting .263 while only hitting one home run and driving in a 3 lonely runs. The problem with Soriano, is he is by far one of the worst hitters with runners in scoring position, most of his RBI’s come off solo home runs that he hits. Which is mostly evident by looking at his poor power numbers so far this season.

In my opinion, the Cubs need is still the same need they had last off-season, which is the need for a quality run producer in their lineup. Problem is, there really is no place where you could install such a player. The long term contracts Jim Hendry gave to Soriano, and Fukudome are preventing the Cubs from adding a quality run producer in their lineup.

And with the exception of Hill and Nady, the Cubs bench has not really lived up to expectations. Chad Tracy is off to a sluggish start by hitting .143, and rookie Tyler Colvin isn’t doing so hot by only hitting .235.

Speaking of Colvin, I think the best option the Cubs could do is bring Sam Fuld up, and option Colvin back down to the minors. At this point in time, Fuld is more equipped to produce on a major league team than Colvin is.

Also, if Tracy keeps up his struggles, don’t be surprised if we see him be optioned down in favor of Bryan LaHair or Micah Hoffpauir. LaHair is off to a hot start in triple A-Iowa as he is hitting .323/.355/.400 in 31 at bats. Meanwhile, Hoffpauir is struggling average wise, but he has clubbed out 3 home runs and drove in 11 runners in 51 at bats.