Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield. The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and when no 2nd baseman stood out from among the pack, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed…
Ryan Theriot – Shortstop
2009 Report Card Grade – B. One of the few “bright spots” for the Cubs in 2009, although it was not as good as it could have been. For the past 3 seasons, Theriot has been one of the most reliable and dependable players on the entire Cubs roster. Theriot has played at least 148 games in each of the last 3 seasons, with a career-high 154 games in 2009. At the beginning of the season, Manager Lou Pinella emphasized that he would try to spell Theriot as often as possible with back-ups like Aaron Miles, but it wasn’t meant to be as both Mike Fontenot and Miles consistently struggled at 2nd base. And when Miles spent a fair amount of time off the field with injuries, Theriot was stuck logging a lot of innings – 1,311 total.
That could be part of the reason why Theriot’s season was just good and not great. The other reason could be the lack of explosiveness throughout the rest of the lineup. Who knows – if people ahead of him and behind had hit better, his numbers would have probably been great.
2009 stats – 154 games; 602 at-bats; .284 batting average; .343 on-base percentage; 7 HR’s, 54 RBI’s; 81 runs scored; 93 K’s; 51 walks.
2008 stats – 149 games; 580 at-bats; .307 batting average; .387 on-base percentage; 1 HR’s, 38 RBI’s; 85 runs scored; 58 K’s; 73 walks.
Love the increase to the home run and RBI numbers, but I am very concerned about the higher strikeout numbers and lower walk numbers. That’s not the combination you want for an on-base percentage guy who isn’t a power hitter. That being said, because the offense struggled so much in 2009 (9th worst in all of baseball), maybe Theriot was trying too hard to do too much. Bottom line, though, in a solid lineup (like 2008), Theriot is the real deal. He will get on base for you, he does not make base running errors and he comes to play everyday. He is an above average fielder – .976 fielding percentage at the toughest position in the infield. He had career highs in assists (441), double plays turned (90), total chances (632) and innings played (1,311), so his fielding was exceptional. But he also had a career-high in errors by one with 15.
Theriot has really settled in as a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Theriot loves Wrigleyville and the Chicago area and it looks like he has found himself a home away from home from his Louisiana roots. I really believe that if the Cubs can find a more consistent bat in the middle of lineup, that will help everybody out, including Theriot. And with a healthy Aramis Ramirez back in the lineup each and every day, that will also help Theriot. Look for Theriot’s on-base percentage numbers to go up a little in 2010 as the Cubs offense comes back to life with a solid 2010 campaign…