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Midterm Roster Report: Batters
by Phil Bencomo
Mark DeRosa | .291/.365/.452 | 13.7 VORP
Playing all over the field, DeRosa has still managed to essentially repeat the stats he posted in 2006, which many, myself included, thought were career highs he'd never again approach.
Mike Fontenot | .356/.376/.577 | 12.0 VORP
No other Cub batter has been as surprising as Fontenot. He's hit safely in all but five of the 28 games he's played in, and he leads the team in slugging and OPS. Will it last? No, but he's been a very pleasant first-half surprise and undoubtedly important to the Cubs' recent success.
Daryle Ward | .327/.441/.418 | 5.0 VORP
Ward was expected to do little else than spell Derrek Lee from time to time, but has instead been one of the Cubs' most dependable hitters with men on base, and his OPS is nearly 100 points above his career average.
Michael Barrett | .256/.307/.427 | 5.4 VORP
Oh, Michael. You were one of the top offensive catchers in the league, your defense bad but tolerable. And then 2007 came about. Mighty struggles in every facet of the game culminated in a dugout/clubhouse fight and subsequent trade. Disappointing doesn't even begin to describe you.
Matt Murton | .252/.331/.336 | -0.9 VORP
Everyone's favorite redhead was never really given a real shot, shuffling from outfield corner to corner and up and down the lineup. Still, when he did play Murton was far from impressive, even if we exclude his defensive woes. What happened to the OBP machine with moderate power?
Henry Blanco | .194/.231/.250 | -2.6 VORP
Blanco's season has been marred by injury, robbing the Cubs of a dependable and experienced catcher who hit for an OPS of .723 in 2006.
Felix Pie | .216/.272/.345 | -3.2 VORP
He's been brilliant at times and pitiful at others, adding up to disappointment for the Cubs' top prospect. But at 22-years-old and with scarcely 100 major league at-bats to his name, he's got nothing to be ashamed of; he'll only get better.
Ronny Cedeno | .097/.121/.323 | -4.1 VORP
I had some pretty low expectations for Cedeno – I think I stopped just short of calling him the Bane of Mankind – but even I didn't predict badness like this. Three hits, two for home runs, and strikeouts in a fourth of his at-bats. He's tearing up Triple-A, but remember, he hit over .350 in 65 games at Iowa in 2005, then hit .245 with the Cubs in 2006.
Rob Bowen | .074/.188/.111 | -4.3 VORP
He's hardly played enough with the Cubs to warrant any kind of judgement, but he's got to go somewhere. And with 11 strikeouts in his first 27 Cub at-bats, into the disappointment category he goes. But that could very well change in the second half.
Jacque Jones | .233/.294/.335 | -6.0 VORP
Jones, whom the Cubs are actively trying to trade, hasn't done much to make himself a wanted commodity. He's well on his way to establishing new lows in nearly every offensive category.
JUST ABOUT WHAT WE EXPECTED
Alfonso Soriano | .309/.352/.532 | 26.6 VORP
Even after a slow start, he's got the highest VORP on the team. He may not hit 40 home runs again, but he's done everything asked of him, including moving from left field to center and back again.
Aramis Ramirez | .312/.356/.556 | 23.5 VORP
Resigning Ramirez may very well have been the best move Hendry made over the winter. Consistency, thy name is Ramirez.
Ryan Theriot | .276/.338/.354 | 5.9 VORP
Theriot hasn't been spectacular, but his versatility and hustle are added bonuses to mediocre stats. He'll never be an All-Star, but that's never been an expectation.
Cliff Floyd | .292/.363/.398 | 4.9 VORP
Floyd wasn't signed as a starter, so his meager contributions, highlighted by a general lack of power, were to be expected. He is what he is: An aging outfielder whose best years are behind him.
Angel Pagan | .267/.313/.429 | 2.8 VORP
Very nearly the definition of mediocre (and oxymoron, for that matter), Pagan has been serviceable as a late-inning defensive replacement and switch-hitting bat off the bench.
Cesar Izturis | .242/.291/.301 | -4.3 VORP
When a player has an OPS of .592, and the fans are content with his production, saying, "Well, what else did you expect?" you know he's pretty abysmal at the plate. In fact, this season's offensive production is actually an improvement over 2006 for Izturis, if that's even possible.
Koyie Hill | .148/.217/.230 | -5.9 VORP
With Barrett traded and Blanco incapacitated, Hill has done just what everyone thought a 28-year-old catcher who last played in the majors in 2005 would do: Catch the ball. And really, that's all the Cubs need him to do; any offense that the Bowen/Hill catching combo produces is icing on the cake.
FOR HE WHO DOESN'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE
Derrek Lee | .330/.441/.479 | 24.3 VORP
I really, really hate to peg Lee as a disappointment – he is batting .330; we're not talking about Ty Cobb or Rogers Hornsby here – so he gets a category of his own. His batting average and OBP are hardly surprising after a breakout 2005, but his lack of power is. I wasn't expecting 50 homers – I doubt anybody was – but nobody, not even Lee himself, was expecting a mere six. Hence, the category title. His disappointing power is a surprise, but his surprising lack of power is a disappointment ... Ok, I think I'd better stop now.