We’ve been taking a look over the last few days at how bad our team was by position when you look at VORP. Obviously this is not the end all tool for evaluation, but it is a cool way to compare guys to each other by position. For all summaries, I used a minimum of 500 plate appearances to qualify. For this position, the Cubs best player did not have the minimum, but I will show where he ranks among everyone. All scouting reports provided by STATS Inc.
1. Chase Utley – 65.2
Like many lefthanded hitters, Utley attacks low fastballs. He’s a line-drive gap hitter with enough strength to hit the ball over the fence. Utley can be fooled by veteran pitchers who change speeds and move the ball around in the strike zone, but he’s a smart hitter who should only get better as he gains experience. Utley’s biggest improvement last season was in the field, where he went from being below average to adequate. He has above-average speed and is aggressive on the bases.
2. Robinson Cano – 49.1
Cano has been great for the Yankees since coming up in 2005. A quick swing allows him to line fastballs around the field. He’s also got improving power and a good arm at second. However, he doesn’t run terribly well and could stand to improve his approach against southpaws and with runners in scoring position.
3. Ray Durham – 47.9
There’s no question about Durham’s hitting when he’s in the lineup. He hit the most homers since swatting 20 for the White Sox in 2001. Last year, he had a higher batting average from the right side, but more power from the left side. For a leadoff hitter, Durham strikes out too much. He struck out 60 times last year, three more than his walk total.
4. Dan Uggla – 39.1
It’s hard to believe that this guy was a rule 5 pick up from the Diamondbacks in 2005. He was drafted by the D-backs in 2001 in the 11th round. At $327,000 in 2006, Uggla was a huge bargain for the penny pinching Marlins. Now that the book is out on him as a hitter, I’m anxious to see what he can do next season. I’m guessing that there will be a lot of fantasy players who pick him WAY too high. If you do play fantasy, know this. In the 2nd half, he hit just .256 with an OBP just barely over .300. Seems like he got figured out.
5. Brian Roberts – 31.3
Roberts has a short, level swing that allows him to spray the ball to all fields. When he gets good wood on the ball, he can drive it into both gaps. He has the ability to coax a walk when he’s patient at the plate. Roberts struggles at times with low-and-outside breaking balls. He’ll also climb the ladder to chase a fastball. The switch-hitter struggles against southpaws who constantly pitch him away. He’s a good bunter but rarely is called on to sacrifice. When he does bunt for a base hit, he has good bat control and placement.
15. Ryan Theriot – 19.2
To me, there is no question that Ryan Theriot needs to get the shot at second base on opening day. He hit the ball well down in Iowa, posting .304 / .367 / .379. He hit even better in the majors by hitting more extra base hits, including three homeruns. His numbers for the Cubs were .328 / .412 / .522