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MLB Chicago Cubs

Analyzing Chicago Cubs’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup

Analyzing The Chicago Cubs' Opening Day Lineup

Anthony Rizzo
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In the thick of the rebuild, the Cubs are looking at 2014 as a bridge to contention. With 2015 and 2016 being more realistic as years when the team could be shooting for the playoffs, this upcoming season is an important one of the progression of the team. Based on Spring Training performance, here's what the Cubs' lineup will look like and how they should fare.

1. SS Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
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1. SS Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
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Coming off of the worst season of his career, Starlin Castro will look to bounce back this year. He's coming off of a hamstring injury, but is supposed to be ready for Opening Day. Going back to his old approach at the plate, Castro seems like a good candidate to be in the running for another All-Star Game appearance.

2. OF Junior Lake

Junior Lake
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2. OF Junior Lake

Junior Lake
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Lake, who surprised many Cubs fans last season in his first major league time, has been disappointing this spring. However, his speed and potential to grow into his power make him a prime candidate for the No. 2 spot.

3. 1B Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
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3. 1B Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
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As a lefty power hitter playing at Wrigley Field, Rizzo has the potential to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. While he needs to improve upon his average from a year ago, Rizzo is also a candidate to bounce back.

4. 3B Mike Olt

Mike Olt
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4. 3B Mike Olt

Mike Olt
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It's still up in the air whether or not Olt will be on the Opening Day roster, but the power he's displayed has been enough to show the team that he should be the team's starting third baseman. His ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark makes him a prime cleanup candidate.

5. OF Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz
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5. OF Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz
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A revelation a year ago, Schierholtz could be a trade piece this summer. His average needs to come up from a year ago, but his power numbers were solid and he could yield the Cubs some nice prospects at the deadline.

6. OF Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney
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6. OF Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney
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While he hasn't played well at all this spring, Sweeney showed enough before his injury last season to warrant the starting center field job. If he could stay healthy all season long, he could be a very pleasant surprise for the Cubs in 2014.

7. C Welington Castillo

Welington Castillo
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7. C Welington Castillo

Welington Castillo
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Coming off of knee surgery, Castillo looks to pick up where he left off last season. He's one of the more underrated hitters on the Cubs and should be playing almost everyday. The young backstop figures to be a key piece for the team as they move forward into contention.

8. 2B Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney
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8. 2B Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney
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Even though he batted just .208 last season, Barney's defense is enough to earn him the starting second base job to start the season. He's shown some improvement at the plate this spring, driving the ball to all fields, so there's a chance he could surprise this season and possibly be a trade piece at the deadline with so many infield prospects waiting in the wings.