Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Fantasy outlooks: Chicago Cubs

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Cubs weren't expected to win in 2012, and true to form, they didn't, losing 100 games for the first time since 1966.

But at this stage of their rebuilding project, success isn't measured as much in wins and losses as in the accumulation of talent. And under the watchful eye of Theo Epstein, architect of the Red Sox's two most recent World Series winners, that's becoming the Cubs' specialty.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

Granted, most of that talent is still in the minor leagues, where Fantasy owners can only dream of it. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler should give them plenty of home runs to look forward to, though. And Daniel Vogelbach, bad body and all, might turn out to be an impact hitter as well.

Of course, not all of last year's developments happened on the farm. Jeff Samardzija's transition from the starting rotation to the bullpen couldn't have gone much better. His strikeout-per-inning potential gives the Cubs two legitimate front-liners at the top of their rotation, provided Matt Garza bounces back from a season-ending triceps injury and subsequent stress reaction in his elbow. Anthony Rizzo also made a smooth transition to the majors last summer after botching his debut with the Padres in 2012. His 15 homers in 337 at-bats are a pretty good indication he's here to stay, with room to grow at age 23.

Those early returns have the Cubs feeling so confident about their nucleus that they were actually willing to invest a little something in their present this offseason, signing Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva to multi-year deals. True, neither is a budding All-Star, but Jackson at least adds legitimacy to a starting rotation that's slowly molding into something halfway respectable.

Naturally, the Cubs have all the stopgaps and retreads you'd expect to find on a rebuilding club. Alfonso Soriano's unexpected resurgence at age 36 buys him another year as the cleanup hitter, reclamation project Ian Stewart gets a mulligan for his injury-plagued (and gloriously inept) 2012 and David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz somehow form two-thirds of a starting major-league outfield. Fantasy owners should know better than to count on any of them.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. David DeJesus CF
2. Starlin Castro SS
3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano LF
5. Ian Stewart 3B
6. Welington Castillo C
7. Darwin Barney 2B
8. Nate Schierholtz RF
Bench Scott Hairston OF
Bench Josh Vitters 3B
Bench Tony Campana OF

But among the rough, the Cubs have their share of diamonds, and those diamonds only figure to increase in number going forward.

Breakout ... Jeff Samardzija, starting pitcher

Be honest. You scoffed when you read that assessment of Samardzija just now. "Front-liner? He went 9-13. He had a 3.81 ERA. The only line he's fronting is the one to get the spelling fixed on the back of his jersey." Au contraire, mon frere. Sure, he had a few rough patches. What first-time starter doesn't? But the differentiator for him, other than his 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, is that he got better with the accumulation of innings. While most converted relievers discover too late that they haven't extended themselves properly, Samardzija somehow found a second gear, pitching seven-plus innings in nine of his final 13 starts and compiling a 2.58 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings during that stretch. The Cubs still shut him down early because, you know, that's what a team in their position is supposed to do with a talented young pitcher, but had they allowed Samardzija to finish the year on his own terms, chances are he would have priced himself out of this discussion.

Bust ... Edwin Jackson, starting pitcher

Jackson deserves consideration as a bust if for no other reason than because he's been one before. Oh so many times before. After a year in which he produced a career-low 1.22 WHIP and career-high 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings, you might be tempted to think he's turned the corner, targeting him alongside pitchers with similar numbers such as Ryan Vogelsong and Homer Bailey. But if he turned the corner, why did his ERA jump to 4.38 and his WHIP to 1.31 in the second half? It's all too reminiscent of his supposed "breakout" in 2009, when he made the All-Star team with a 2.52 ERA in the first half only to compile a 5.07 ERA in the second half. And if you thought he had bad luck with the Nationals last year, going 10-11, just wait until you see what pitching for the Cubs does to his record. The chances of Jackson's WHIP regressing to the 1.40 range are too high for you to make a significant investment in him.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Matt Garza RHP
2. Jeff Samardzija RHP
3. Edwin Jackson RHP
4. Scott Feldman RHP
5. Carlos Villanueva RHP
ALT Travis Wood LHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Carlos Marmol RHP
2. Kyuji Fujikawa RHP
3. Shawn Camp RHP
4. James Russell LHP
5. Michael Bowden RHP

Buyer beware ... Carlos Villanueva, starting pitcher/relief pitcher

Villanueva will go undrafted in a decent number of Fantasy leagues, and for that reason you could just as easily classify him as a sleeper. But particularly in Head-to-Head points leagues, where his eligibility at relief pitcher earns him a special distinction, his sleeper appeal might be a little overstated. Yeah, he averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a starter last year, but he made only 16 starts. And the last five of those starts were nothing short of brutal, elevating his ERA from 3.10 to 4.16. Villanueva has never had sustained success as a starter, and considering he's taking the rotation spot of Travis Wood, who delivered a respectable 3.56 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over his final 13 starts last year, a two-year deal might not be enough to compel the Cubs to stick with him if things go south. So yeah, Villanueva has eligibility at relief pitcher, but if he delivers a 4.50 ERA and winds up back in the bullpen, what good does it do you?

Prospects Report

Anthony Rizzo may have graduated to the majors last year, but the Cubs still have two of the game's best position prospects in shortstop Javier Baez and outfielder Jorge Soler. Baez is at least a year away, but his lightning-quick bat should generate monster power numbers at the weak shortstop position. Soler has enough playing experience from his days in Cuba that he could speed all the way to the majors this year, though only if he makes a mockery of minor-league pitching. Both are no-brainers in long-term keeper leagues ... Brett Jackson's disastrous debut last year only reinforced concerns that he strikes out too much to maximize his five-category potential, but at age 24, he's still the most likely of the Cubs prospects to contribute in 2013. Don't forget about him in NL-only leagues ... Arodys Vizcaino, the prize of the Paul Maholm deal, represents the best the system has to offer pitching-wise. The Cubs will handle him with kid gloves in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but at least now you don't have to worry about him getting confined to the bullpen. Unlike the Braves, the Cubs won't let Vizcaino's injury history dictate his path to the majors.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Adam LaRoche exits game Monday with stiff back
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was removed from Monday's game due to a stiff back, the Washington Post reports.

LaRoche was 0 for 3 at the plate before coming out of the game, which the Nationals won. The team will know more about the injury Tuesday, but for now he's day to day.


Denard Span slugs two home runs in win vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals outfielder Denard Span went 2 for 5 with two home runs and three RBI in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Span delivered his team's third solo home run of the game in the third inning and then added a two-run blast in the fifth. The big performance doubled Span's home-run total in one night. He has hit .299/.349/.416 with four home runs, 31 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 531 at-bats.


Asdrubal Cabrera slugs 13th home run Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera went 1 for 3 with a walk and a solo home run in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Cabrera hit one of the four home runs served up by Dodgers starter Roberto Hernandez on the night, giving the second baseman four home runs since joining the Nationals at the July 31 trading deadline. He has hit .245/.312/.397 with 13 home runs, 52 RBI and seven stolen bases in 473 at-bats.


Jayson Werth homers, steals two bases Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth went 1 for 2 with two walks, a solo home run and two stolen bases in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Werth put his team up early with his first-inning home run and showed off his wheels later in the game, stealing second base after each of his walks. He has hit .288/.383/.458 with 16 home runs, 76 RBI and nine stolen bases in 465 at-bats.


Matt Kemp swats 17th home run Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in his team's 6-4 loss to the Nationals Monday.

Kemp delivered his blast in the first inning to extend his hit streak to nine games and added a second hit later in the game to give himself three straight multi-hit efforts. He owns a .281/.346/.475 line with 17 home runs, 66 RBI and eight stolen bases in 455 at-bats.


Rafael Soriano hangs on Monday for 31st save
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals closer Rafael Soriano delivered a shaky save Monday, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk in one inning while striking out two in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers.

Soriano handled the first two batters of the ninth inning before issuing a walk, and after the runner took second base, he came around to score on a single. The closer surrendered another single to bring the potential winning run to the plate, but he struck out Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson to end the game. Soriano owns a 2.63 ERA and 52:17 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings.


Gio Gonzalez gives up three runs in win vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez earned a win Monday, surrendering three earned runs on three hits and two walks in six-plus innings while striking out four in his team's 6-4 victory over the Dodgers.

Gonzalez (7-9) walked a batter with two outs in the first inning before serving up a two-run blast to fall behind. It was the only hit he allowed until the seventh inning, when the starter surrendered two singles to start the inning before being yanked. Gonzalez owns a 3.89 ERA and 135:53 K:BB ratio in 132 innings. He's scheduled to face the Phillies Sunday.


Roberto Hernandez allows five runs in loss Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Dodgers pitcher Roberto Hernandez took a loss Monday, giving up five earned runs on five hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 6-4 defeat against the Nationals.

Hernandez (8-10) was victimized by the long ball Monday, surrendering four home runs after getting through his first four starts with the Dodgers without allowing any home runs. The ugly outing gives him a 4.00 ERA and 94:64 K:BB ratio in 148 1/3 innings. Hernandez is scheduled to face the Padres next Monday.


Josh Edgin to have elbow examined Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Mets pitcher Josh Edgin will have his elbow examined by team doctors Tuesday after a platelet-rich plasma injection failed to relieve the bone spurs and tendinitis in the elbow, the New York Daily News reports.

"We’ll have to see with the doctors," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The shot really didn’t help him. When the shot didn’t help very much, he was going to start taking his medicine, hold off until the doctors take a look at it."

Edgin has been sidelined since Aug. 23 with the injury. He owns a 1.40 ERA and 25:6 K:BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings.


Salvador Perez homers in three-hit performance Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 3 for 4 with a double, a home run and three RBI in his team's 4-3 win over the Rangers Monday.

Perez delivered the first blow of the game with his RBI double in the bottom of the first, and he followed that up with a two-run home run in the third inning to put his team up 3-0. He's managed to produce multiple hits in four of his last six games, raising Perez's line to .269/.302/.424 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 484 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings