The Cubs stand at 13-8, which made me wonder if they were playing over their heads. Perhaps it was just a small sample size blowing a good stretch out of proportion?

I’m going to look player-to-player with the assumption that the overwhelming majority of the time, bad starts or good starts will go back toward the kind of season we can expect from that player. Hopefully this approach will tell us what we might expect the rest of the way.

Catching
Michael Barrett
At .313 OBP/.550 SLG, Barret’s playing somewhere near his actual value (.335/.450). This one’s a draw.
Henry Blanco
18 at-bats and a .380ish OPS. We can expect an improvement, but his limited play results in a basically negligible impact.
Result: No big change

1B
Derrek Lee
Duh. Given that his injury happened just recently and that wrist injuries affect a hitter when they return, Derrek’s MVP bat overall will be sorely missed the rest of the year.

Todd Walker
.431 OBP, .530 SLG. Expect a slight decline to .380/.475 levels. Not bad for a backup.

John Mabry
His .318 average hides the fact that he has 0 walks and 0 extra-base hits. Overall I think everything will level out. No major change.

2B
Jerry Hairston
.333/.321. Expect an improvement.
Neifi Perez
.176/.235. Hard to imagine, but somewhere Neifi’s gonna get on one of those 9 game hot streaks and end up somewhere around a .275 OBP/.375 SLG. Still crap, but a slight improvement.
Overall: Walker will be able to play second when Lee eventually comes back, and improvement from the other two means we can expect more out of this position.

SS
Ronny Cedeno
.370/.522. Expect Ronny to crash, and hard, at some point in the season. Expect a significant decline.

3B
Aramis Ramirez.
Improve.

LF
Matt Murton
No significant change. Some ups and downs, but that’s what I expect. This guy’s a perfect non-Cub; gets on base, no flashy numbers, but contributes to lots of wins. We need more like him.

CF
Juan Pierre
.297 OBP, .345 SLG. Slight Improvement to .335/.375 levels.

RF
Jacque Jones
.281/.500. His OBP will rise, his SLG will fall. It surprised me to see that he posted a .500 SLG so far. Overall, fewer outs and a slight improvement.

SP
Maddux
Significant decline. I expect 15-10, 3.50 ERA. But I hope he keeps pitching like he has been.

Zambrano
Significant improvement. By season’s end I expect him to be in the race for Cy Young.

Prior/Williams/Guzman
I’m linking the fate of Jerome and Angel to Prior’s return. With that assumption in mind, expect significant improvement, assuming Prior ever pitches again.

Wood/Marshall
Mostly Marshall, I’ll assume. Slight decline to a combined 34 stars, 4.6 ERA (5 for Marshall, 3.75 for Wood, 2/3 of starts to Marshall)/

Rusch
Slight Improvement

Bullpen
Slight decline, as they’ve been very, very good so far.

All in all, that’s a slight improvement for the team! That surprised me. I was expecting an overall decline. Even if the rotation features Prior & Wood for only half the season and Lee gets back, the Cubs should be able to get close. With some breaks, they’ll still make the playoffs.

And then anything can happen.

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