The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of rebuilding their roster this year, but that does not mean you should overlook them when it comes to building your fantasy team.
Here is a look at the Do’s and Don’ts regarding the Cubs roster and their fantasy impact:
DO draft Starlin Castro. He is the Cubs star and a fantasy star in the making. He is still young and has yet to reach his full potential, so I wouldn’t go overboard and take him in the first round. But those of you in keeper leagues need to jump on his bandwagon before his price skyrockets.
DON’T expect a lot of wins from the Cubs pitchers. Let’s face it, this team is not going to be very good. They finished 71-91 last year with Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster leading the team with 10 wins apiece. Do not expect more than 10 wins from any of the Cubs starters.
DO take a chance on Bryan LaHair in the end game or late rounds. He hit .331/.405/.664 with 38 homeruns in just 456 at bats at AAA Iowa in 2011. Yes, at 28, he is old, but there have been other late bloomers, such as Casey McGehee and Ryan Ludwick. After holding his own in 59 at bats with the Cubs late last season, he will be given a chance to prove he belongs. But, at the same time…
DON’T forget about Anthony Rizzo. He is the Cubs future at first base and could get a mid-season callup if LaHair does not hit the ground running. Rizzo struggled in 128 at bats with the Padres last season, hitting only .141/.281/.242. But he is a career .296/.366/.514 hitter in the minors.
DO look at Tony Campana as a source of cheap speed. He stole 24 bases in 143 at bats last year and will be used as a 4th or 5th outfielder for the Cubs. He also showed the ability to hit for average in the minors, posting a career line of .303/.359/.353 . Just do not expect any power from him.
DON’T be fooled by Darwin Barney. After hitting .306/.334/.374 in the first half last year, he struggled in the second half, hitting only .238/.286/.328. There are rumors that the Cubs consider him a utility player and recent addition, Adrian Cardenas, could compete with Barney for the starting second base job this spring.
DO draft Brett Jackson for your reserve or bench. The Cubs top prospect has 20/20 potential and although he will start at AAA this year, he could get the call should Marlon Byrd or Alfonso Soriano be traded. His strikeout totals are somewhat concerning, but his ability to draw walks helps to make up for it.
DON’T rely on Carlos Marmol as your main source of saves. He struggled last year with a 4.01 ERA and has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason. He could end up as trade bait come July, which means…
DO hedge your bets. If you draft Marmol, make sure you look at Kerry Wood and/or Jeff Samardzija as a backup plan. If Marmol is ineffective or traded, one of those two could take his place, with rookie Chris Carpenter as a possible dark horse.
Finally, I DON’T know what to make of Ian Stewart. Is he the capable of bouncing back after a truly awful 2011 campaign or is he washed up? The Cubs are hoping that a change of scenery will help him return to form and he might be worth a late round flier. Just don’t expect much from him and you could be pleasantly surprised.