Who will bat leadoff for the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 MLB schedule – that is one of the many questions on Manager Lou Pinella’s mind heading into the 2010 campaign. The 2 front-runners are shortstop Ryan Theriot and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome. The 2 put up fairly similar numbers in 2009 when batting leadoff.
Theriot hit .283 with 18 walks and 49 hits, good for a .354 on-base percentage.
Fukudome hit .269 with 30 walks and 35 hits, good for a .404 on-base percentage.
Theriot was the only Cubs player to record double digits in stolen bases with 21.
The days of Alfonso Soriano are likely over. Soriano hit .241 with a paltry .303 on-base percentage as his numbers continue to decline as his age increases. Dealing with various injuries all season long, he is no longer a threat to steal bases (9 stolen bases in 2009) and he strikes out way too much (118 K’s with only 40 walks in 477 at-bats). Ouch – that is just bad.
I like Theriot in the lead-off spot. He seems to be a more consistent hitter than Fukudome and less likely to go into long hitting droughts. If your leadoff hitter gets into funk, it can set the tone for the whole lineup. With Theriot leading off and Fukudome hitting second, Fukudome can bunt when he is struggling and even if he goes into one of his slumps, you would still have Theriot on base with sluggers Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez coming to bat (assuming Fukudome doesn’t hit into a double play).
Pinella projects his 2010 starting batting order as follows – Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Soriano, Geovany Soto and your 2nd baseman (either Jeff Baker or Mike Fontenot).
Good luck Cubs fans – it could be another long season for Cubs fans at Wrigley Field if Soto and Soriano don’t find their swings quickly in 2010…