Friday, March 6, 2009

Mike Fontenot is Ready to Become the Cubs Starting Second Baseman

As the 2009 baseball season comes upon us, the Chicago Cubs made some surprising changes to their starting lineup. Probably the most high profile change was the trade of Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians and the elevation of Mike Fontenot to the starting second baseman job.

Many of us know Mike Fontenot as a scrappy little infielder who teamed up in a double play combination with Ryan Theriot at LSU, then was reunited with Theriot in the majors. Standing only 5ft 8in, at best, Mike Fontenot is not the most imposing player, but he has some serious pop in his swing. If you've watched him play for the Cubs over the last three years as a backup, you'll see the baseball fly off his bat. He's ready to take the next step in his career and will be an effective addition to the Cubs starting lineup.

Mike Fontenot provides a steady left-handed bat

A major reason why the Cubs have failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs over the last few years is because they didn't have the ability to respond to effective right hand pitching. With all due respect to Mark DeRosa, who was a heck of a player, the Cubs simply need more lefties in the everyday lineup. Mike Fontenot will provide the steady left-hand presence the Cubs need in the playoffs.

Mike Fontenot is going to hit a lot of home runs this year

Stats don't lie. This guy has pop. So, he is probably 170 lbs soaking wet, but his bat speed does the trick. Mike Fontenot hit the baseball out of the ballpark nine times last year in less than 250 at bats. If you consider that he played in 119 games, you'll see that a lot of those at bats were as a pinch hitter. In fact, he was probably the Cubs most effective pinch hitter last year. Playing everyday will help Mike Fontenot increase his power even more. He should be more relaxed at the plate and fully warmed up, which isn't always the case as a pinch hitter.

Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot will be a dynamic double-play combination

Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot are best friends going back to their days at LSU. The rapport of playing together for almost ten years will help the Cubs defense improve. Unfortunately Ryan Theriot and Mark DeRosa never seemed to click with double-plays. I expect that to change this year.

In the game of baseball, change is inevitable, but Mike Fontenot taking over as the starting second basemen is not something I worry about. His stats have been consistently good since coming to the majors. The guy can flat out hit a baseball. That won't change. In the 2009 baseball season, the Cubs really need the scrappiness of Mike Fontenot in the lineup every day. This will make a big difference come playoff time.

Mike Fontenot, along with Ryan Theriot and the other Cubs will make this 2009 baseball season unforgettable. It's sad to see Mark DeRosa go, but Mike Fontenot will make us forget him very soon.

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