The Chicago Cubs finished the 2012 season with a 61-101 record and struggled to score runs at different times throughout the year. The team traded some players during the season, and others did not meet expectations. Still, the Cubs did have a few players who carried the team for much of the season.
Below are the Cubs' top hitters from 2012.
Many criticized Soriano entering this season and questioned his ability to contribute on a rebuilding team. He responded by having his best season in years. His 151 games and 108 RBIs were his highest of each since arriving in Chicago in 2007. He finished third in the NL in RBIs and fifth in home runs with 32. Although many criticize Soriano based only on his expensive contract, which still contains another two seasons, fans have to appreciate the effort he gave in 2012. His hits, walks, stolen bases and batting average were all higher than they have been over the last few years.
As a rookie playing in a little more than half of a season, Rizzo produced 15 home runs and 48 RBIs. His .285 batting average and .342 on-base percentage were among the team's leaders. Providing left-handed power from the first base position, Rizzo gave fans hope for the future. As he continues to learn the pitchers at this level, his potential is off the charts. Having Rizzo for a full season in 2013 is already an improvement over 2012.
Although Castro's batting average dropped from .307 in 2011 to .283 in 2012, he actually showed improvement in many categories. Castro's 14 home runs, 78 RBIs, 25 stolen bases, 12 triples and 36 walks were all career highs. Fans can expect the average to get back to .300 next year, and the 22-year-old still has plenty of room for growth. By the time the club puts a good lineup around him, Castro could be one of the best players in recent team history.
LaHair was an All-Star and the only other player not listed yet who hit double-digit home runs. He disappeared in the second half as his bat cooled off and Rizzo emerged. Still, LaHair's .334 on-base percentage (OBP) was among team leaders, and he finished with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs despite serving mostly as a reserve in the second half. He may not have much of a future in Chicago, but he deserves a chance to consistently contribute somewhere.
DeJesus did not provide much power, but he was stable at the top of the order. He led team regulars with a .350 OBP and 61 walks, while also adding nine home runs and 50 RBIs.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.