Remember the major difference Rudy Jaramillo was suppose to bring to the Cubs offense when he was hired last winter? When Jaramillo came to the Cubs last off-season, general manager Jim Hendry praised the former Rangers hitting coach for being the Cubs’ biggest addition that winter. Rightfully so, as Jaramillo has a reputation of being one of the best hitting coaches in the game of baseball. But last season, we really didn’t see any improvement from the Cubs’ 2009 offense to the Cubs’ 2010 offense. We are entering the second year of Rudy Jaramillo as the Cubs’ hitting coach, and there appears to reason to be optimistic for the Cubs’ 2011 offense.
If you were to pick a weak spot for the Cubs this season, their offense probably would be leading option. Between Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Tyler Colvin the Cubs appear to have a lineup that consists of mainly #6 hitters, or so says former Nationals general manager Jim Bowden. However, if each member of the Cubs’ lineup does what they are expected to do than the Cubs’ offense may surprise some. The two biggest differences for the Cubs offense this season may be that both Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are finally healthy.
Both Ramirez and Soriano have gotten off to hot starts in Spring Training. Ramirez is hitting .333/.412/.400 with 5 RBI’s in 15 at bats. As for Soriano, he has gotten off to an excellent start hitting .389/.389/.667 with a homer and RBI’s in 18 at bats. If Ramirez and Soriano can continue their hot starts into the season, it will go a long way in determining how much of a threat the Cubs’ offense will be this season.
Another reason why there is reason to be optimistic for the Cubs’ offense under Rudy Jaramillo is because players are starting to respond to Jaramillo’s coaching habits.
"“He makes it so simple,” Tyler Colvin said. “You never hear from him, ‘Hey, I want to change this,’ or, ‘Your stance is off.’ It’s usually just a simple message, like ‘You’re a little a late or a little early with your swing.’“It’s little things like that. And then you say, ‘Hey, you’re right, that’s all it was.’ Nothing too mechanical, just timing.” ESPN Chicago"
In a lot of ways, that is the best trait any coach could bring to a team. It is common sense that no coach will gain the trust or respect of their players, if they immediately come in and demand that they change this or change that. In fact, Jaramillo’s attitude has rubbed off on the likes of Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd. Like Jaramillo, Pena likes to focus on the positive and feels that if he spends any time on the negative that would be too much. Marlon Byrd also echoes the five step process of Jaramillo’s coaching, and that has reflected well on Byrd’s production over the past few seasons.
With the hot starts from Ramirez and Soriano as well as Starlin Castro, and Marlon Byrd there is reason to be optimistic when it comes to the Cubs’ offense. If the Cubs’ offense becomes a viable threat this season, that may go a long way in determining how successful they will be this season.