I am starting my starting pitching projections for the Cubs pitching staff. I will do this throughout Spring Training for the Cubs outfielders, infielders, and bullpen as well. Today we will start on the starters.
1. Carlos Zambrano- Zambrano is the ace of this staff even though he has not shown it the past couple of years. The main question is will he return to the dominate form he was in 2004-2006 seasons? I do think Big Z will return to form, in fact he is in for a break out year.
Projection= 18-7 3.25 ERA and 200 Ks
2. Ryan Dempster- After coming off a year that gives Dempster a 4 year contract he looks to repeat his performance of 2008. Dempster, who looked pretty lost in the playoffs, will look to prove many non-believers wrong by putting up big numbers. I think Demp will have a drop in his numbers but you will see the same Ryan, glove wiggle and all!
Projection= 15-9 3.89 ERA and 150 Ks
3. Ted Lilly- After starting off very bad last year Lilly proved that he should have started a game in the playoffs. If Lilly can avoid giving up the home run ball and throw all his pitches for strikes he should bounce back to the first year he was a Cub. Lilly has done a great job for the Cubs and I feel his solid numbers will continue.
Projection= 14-10 4.18 ERA and 169 Ks
4. Rich Harden= The key to the rotation this season. I expect him to make about 20 starts next season with guys like Marshall and Heilman pitching in his place to give him extra rest. He has the nastiest stuff on the team and for that he will put up great numbers when he pitches.
Projection= 10-3 2.45 ERA and 175 Ks
5. Sean Marshall- Yep he is my 5th starter. Marshall will go into the season as the Cubs 5th starter. Now that does not mean he will end the season there. Marshall will put up good numbers and make about 25 starts next season.
Projection= 9-7 4.56 ERA and 80 Ks
6. Aaron Heilman- He will contribute enough as a starter next season and that is why I put him on here. He will take starts from Harden, Marshall, and if anyone goes down with an injury. He will do a good job in about 15 starts or so.
Projection= 5-3 3.96 ERA and 51 K's - As a starter
There of course will be Guzman and Shark to get some starts but not enough to factor in. The Cubs starting staff will compile 71 wins against 39 loses. The starters will compile 110 decisions so the Cubs bullpen will have to account for 52 decisions. Not bad for the starting staff next season.
Projections are subject to change.