CHICAGO -- Is it a compliment to be considered the most valuable guy on a team sitting at the cusp of 100 losses?
Perhaps it is when considering Alfonso Soriano's season. The veteran’s early struggles might have contributed to the team’s slow start, but after May 15 there weren’t many better than the Cubs’ cleanup hitter.
Soriano entered Monday night’s game with 32 home runs, tied for fourth in the National League, while his 108 RBIs were third best, five back of leader Chase Headley of the Padres.
“I think it would have to be Soriano just because we have struggled for the most part to score runs and he has been, thank god, one entity to the puzzle that has been pretty consistent all year long,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Especially since May 15 it has been off the charts what he has done since then.”
Since that May 15 date when he hit his first homer, Soriano’s home run total leads the National League and is second in baseball.
Had the Cubs not faced some brutal weather conditions early in the season when the wind was blowing in for a number of home dates, Sveum said Soriano should be sitting on 40 home runs.
Sveum continued to say all spring that if given a chance, a guy like Soriano would hit his typical numbers printed in the media guide. In the case of his RBI total, it was his most ever, passing his 104 number from 2005 at Texas.
“When you give those kind of players that many at-bats the numbers won’t lie at the end of the year,” Sveum said.