- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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1. Starlin Castro, SS: He has picked up where he left off in 2011 when he led the National League in hits with 207. The emerging superstar is 8-for-16 in his past four games with 5 RBIs and is batting .359 along with six stolen bases in the first 10 games of the season. Castro still has some work to do on defense without the Gold Glove ability of Carlos Pena to save him errors this season (he already has four). Expect better power numbers from Castro this season as the home run will soon be a part of the 22-year-old’s game.
2. David DeJesus, RF: Right field should be in good hands as DeJesus makes his way around the National League for the first time in his career. After a slow start, he is beginning to have an impact on the offense, going 4-for-10 in his past three starts with five runs scored. The Cubs wanted to get more balance in the lineup, and DeJesus was their first major signing (two years, $9 million). He also has been a big plus as a teammate and clubhouse presence.
1. Marlon Byrd, CF: He has gotten off to a horrendous start, batting .065 (2-for-31) with 2 RBIs and has been dropped down to the eighth spot in the order. At some point Byrd will hit, but the truth is he never has gotten back to being the same kind of hitter he was before he was seriously hurt in a horrific beaning last May in Boston.
2. Geovany Soto, C: He looked like he was ready for a breakout 2012 campaign when he was hitting the ball with authority before the Cubs left Mesa in early April. Soto had a double in the Cubs’ loss on Sunday, but he is now 1-for-16 in his past four games and is batting .138 on the season. The hot-hitting Steve Clevenger might push Soto for playing time, especially against right-handed pitching. Soto told ESPNChicago.com in the spring he expects to equal or better his power numbers from his rookie season of 2008 (22 home runs and 85 RBIs).