Blake DeWitt is the clear favorite to win the 2nd base job coming out of spring training 2011. The bigger question is whether DeWitt will show enough to warrant consideration for the lead-off spot as well. In 53 games for the Cubs after a mid-season trade in 2010, DeWitt hit .250 with a .314 on-base percentage. His career numbers are a little bit better – .259 and .335. DeWitt re-worked his swing this winter, working with Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on his heralded hitting system. The system involves a 5-point program that focuses on 5 elements of body positioning and thinking about how you apprach each at-bat. DeWitt is getting the hang of it and is excited for live game action – “His system is something I enjoy. I’ve been able to implement that, and it’s really not that complicated if you stick with it.” DeWitt is only 25 years old so he still has a lot of upside potential.
While DeWitt could hit lead-off, he will likely hit down in the order – 7 or 8. He may also spend time on the bench against left-handed pitchers according to Manager Mike Quade. Quade likes to play the match-ups and Jeff Baker is a solid platoon option. Baker hit .350 against lefties in 2010 and had good overall numbers in 79 games – .272 batting average and .326 on-base percentage. While we might see Baker or DeWitt at the top of the order from time to time, Quade has hinted that he will likely go with right fielder Kosuke Fukudome to lead-off against righties. With a lefty on the bump, Quade hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but we could see Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano or Baker there depending on the pitcher.
Players reported to Cubs camp today, so we’ll keep you posted as things progress…
DeWitt will likely spend