Starlin Castro's arrival. At just 20 years old, Castro burst onto the fantasy baseball scene on May 7th with a 2-5, triple, home run, six RBI debut. He finished the season with a .300 average, 53 runs, 3 home runs, 41 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 125 games. If I'm keeping Castro (and I suggest you do too), I'm hoping for a .300+ average with 10+ homers and 15+ stolen bases batting out of the number two hole in the Cubs 2011 line up.
If you're thinking of keeping an elite closer (or at least a closer with elite numbers), CL Carlos Marmol is definitely worthy of a spot. I recently picked Marmol as my NL Reliever of the Year, and had the Cubs won closer to 90 games, he could have been the top reliever in the game. Marmol had 38 saves in the Cubs 75 wins. That could have translated to 45-46 saves on a 90 win team (such as San Diego or San Francisco). His 138 Ks in 77.2 IPs translates into an astonishing 16 K/9. WOW! A point of concern is always going to be his high BB/9 (6.0), though.
Is a catcher with 20+ HR/80+RBI potential with a .270 average warrant a keeper selection? C Geovany Soto only played in 105 games this season yet still managed to be the 8th overall ranked catcher on ESPN's Player Rater with his .280/17/53 line. We all drank the ROY juice in 2008 and were royally disappointed in 2009. Which Geovany shows up in 2011? That level of doubt makes his a risky keeper. I'm rolling the dice that under a new manager, Soto thrives in 2011.
OF Marlon Byrd had a nice first season with the Cubs (.293/84/12/66/5) and was their 2nd ranked fantasy player (behind Marmol) but came in a mere 124th overall. Byrd only averages 12 HR and 69 RBI per 162 games over his entire career and is hardly worth the keeper tag.
Lastly, if you're keeping strictly based on potential, OF Tyler Colvin hit 20 HR in 135 games but only managed a .251 batting average. Colvin batted .277 in 1716 minor league at bats, so should you expect anything higher than that in the majors? I'm not sold he's a keeper unless you are in the deepest of deep mixed leagues.
Are there any other players on the Cubs roster you'd be willing to use a keeper selection on for the 2011 season or do you disagree with my assessment of their roster? If so, open up the discussion by leaving me a comment.