The Chicago Cubs finished first in the N.L. Central last season with a 97-64 record, and are looking to do the same in 2009. The team is talented enough to make another run at the pennant, and as a byproduct, they will have plenty of talent to fill a few roster’s spot on your fantasy team. Here then is the list of the top 5 Cubs to look for in your fantasy baseball draft this year.
Alfonso Soriano (OF)
In year’s past, when he was stringing along 30-30 seasons and could play (or was willing to play) second base, Soriano was a fantasy baseball god, who had first pick overall potential. Those days are gone, and injuries the past two seasons make him a risk to take in the first two or three rounds now. Having said that, roll the die on Soriano who still managed to hit 29 homers and steal 19 bases while playing only 109 games this season. If he is able to stay healthy he will give you a 30-30 season with +100 runs scored and a decent amount of RBI’s. Even if he misses part of the season, he should still carry your team for a spell.
Carlos Marmol (Closer)
Marmol was un-hittable last season, prompting a promotion to the Cub’s closer role. The role of course comes with risk, since Marmol doesn’t have experience as a closer yet. Still, Carlos collected 114 K’s in only 87.3 innings of work, and hitters hit a dismal .135 against him, which lowered his WHIP to 0.93. If he can maintain those stats and get 35-40 saves in the process, you will have a gem of a closer on your team. As with Soriano, roll the die on Marmol as well.
Aramis Ramirez (3B)
Ramirez has produced solid numbers for five straight seasons, and it does not appear he will slow down much in 2009. Aramis is coming of a season which saw him hit .289 with 27 homers and 111 RBI’s, so pencil him in for a .290/25/100 season again, and take him just below the top tier players at the position.
Geovany Soto ( C )
Soto is young and has all of one real season of baseball under his belt. To make him a high pick would be to incur risk that is unwarranted. Still, in a fantasy draft void of talent at the position, Soto becomes a good option in the middle rounds. Last year he batted in 141 games, hitting .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBI’s in the process. There is little to say he will not hit that well again this year, and the Cubs have a great lineup around him which may drive up his RBI totals.
Ryan Dempster ( P)
Yes, Zambrano is still the ace in Chicago and Dempster is coming off a career year, which he may not be able to duplicate. But Zabrano has proven hittable of late (his .241 against average being the highest since his first season) and he walks a lot of batters. Right now Dempster might have a bit more upside. Don’t expect another 17-6 season with 187 K’s and a 2.96 ERA. But on this team, he will still get you 15 wins, keep his ERA under 3.50 and collect +175 strikeouts. Take a chance on him in the middle rounds.