In a season like the Chicago Cubs have had, it’s almost impossible to find the positives.
There are a few. You can look to the futures of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Or to the incredible glove of Darwin Barney. Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the season, though, has been the outstanding play of Alfonso Soriano throughout the season, in more ways than one.
Before, during, and probably after the season, Soriano has been involved in trade rumors as the Cubs reportedly try and dump the salary that he has completely failed to live up to in his time on the North Side. His time in Chicago has been plagued with streakiness at the plate and struggles with the gloves. Not so much the case this year.
Soriano hasn’t been immune to the high strikeout rate that has destroyed his batting average in his time with the Cubs. He has still struck out 152 times, which is actually his highest total since signing. But we’ve seen him put together some mighty nice at bats throughout the season, more so than in previous years.
The numbers show that this is Soriano’s best year since he joined the Cubs. He’s one homer shy of his Cub career high, with 32 on the season, and has knocked in 108 runs. That last total is good for third in the National League. For a Cubs team that doesn’t score much of anything, that’s pretty impressive.
A big difference for Soriano has been his health. While he’s not exactly a picture of health when you watch him hobble around the field, the 150 games he’s appeared in are, by far, the most he’s been seen in in his time with the Cubs.
Where Soriano has been a star, though, has been with the glove. Since moving to the outfield from second base, Soriano has been good for a few misplayed balls and even a drop a week. We haven’t seen that this year. In fact, Soriano has been borderline Gold Glove material, with just a single error and some very nice grabs on the year. Credit Dave McKay for that one.
It’s unfortunate that the incredibly poor performance of this team as a group has overshadowed what Soriano has done this year, both with the bat and the glove. If this does end up being Soriano’s farewell tour with the Cubs, at least he went out with a bang.