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MLB Chicago Cubs

Predicting the Stats for the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day Lineup

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Predicting the Stats for the Chicago Cubs' Opening Day Lineup

Anthony Rizzo
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With several key players entering transition seasons, the Cubs have plenty to look forward to in 2014. How some players perform may very well determine the future direction of the team as a whole. Here are projections for how the starting lineup is likely to perform in the upcoming season.

1. SS Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
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1. SS Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
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At-Bats: 550
Batting Average: .287
On-Base Percentage: .317
Home Runs: 19
RBI: 71
Steals: 16

Looking to have a bounce-back season, Castro should get back to his old ways by going back to his old approach.

2. OF Junior Lake

Junior Lake
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2. OF Junior Lake

Junior Lake
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At-Bats: 490
Batting Average: .273
On-Base Percentage: .311
Home Runs: 11
RBI: 58
Steals: 12

Even though he's been disappointing in spring training, Lake figures to produce more of the same in 2014. His home run and steal numbers should go up as he showed flashes of speed and power a year ago.

3. 1B Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
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3. 1B Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
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At-Bats: 550
Batting Average: .268
On-Base Percentage: .304
Home Runs: 28
RBI: 96
Steals: 5

Rizzo has the ability to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100, and he should approach both of those totals in 2014. This is a really important year for the first baseman, and it seems like it's time for him to take the next step in his career progression.

4. 3B Mike Olt

Mike Olt
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4. 3B Mike Olt

Mike Olt
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At-Bats: 400
Batting Average: .241
On-Base Percentage: .278
Home Runs: 17
RBI: 59
Steals: 3

Olt's power upside makes him an ideal clean-up hitter. He may be the everyday third baseman, which would likely inflate his numbers further, but he's more likely to be a subtle solid contributor.

5. OF Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz
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5. OF Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz
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At-Bats: 525
Batting Average: .259
On-Base Percentage: .291
Home Runs: 18
RBI: 70
Steals: 7

Schierholtz will likely be a trade piece at the deadline, but over the course of the season, he should be just as productive as he was a year ago.

6. OF Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney
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6. OF Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney
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At-Bats: 400
Batting Average: .261
On-Base Average: .305
Home Runs: 14
RBI: 55
Steals: 8

Sweeney was a pleasant surprise a season ago and will play a key role for the Cubs this year. While he likely won't hit for a great average, he has the ability to drive the ball to the gaps and drive in runs.

7. C Welington Castillo

Welington Castillo
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7. C Welington Castillo

Welington Castillo
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At-Bats: 475
Batting Average: .287
On-Base Percentage: .341
Home Runs: 15
RBI: 67
Steals: 2

Castillo is one of the Cubs' most underrated players and should make even more of a name for himself in 2014. He has a better eye at the plate than most Cubs starters and will grow into his power even more this season.

8. 2B Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney
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8. 2B Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney
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At-Bats: 475
Batting Average: .238
On-Base Percentage: .278
Home Runs: 8
RBI: 34
Steals: 16

Even though Barney isn't great at the plate, he's shown improvements this offseason that could lead to a better year at the plate. He may be traded at the deadline, but it will likely be because he is performing better than expected at the dish.