Commentary

2012 Cubs report card

Check out our expert's grades, then share yours for each player on the 2012 team

Updated: October 5, 2012, 6:17 PM ET
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com

Everybody expected the Chicago Cubs to struggle in 2012, yet watching it all play out was still startling as the club sank to new depths.

The offense struggled, the starters faltered and the bullpen was mediocre at best. And that was all before two months of the season had passed. The rotation rebounded somewhat but then came an injury to Matt Garza and the trades of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm as new prospects were sprinkled among the farm system.

There were pleasant surprises like Alfonso Soriano's run production, Darwin Barney's defense, Starlin Castro's contract extension, Jeff Samardzija's rebirth as a starter and Anthony Rizzo's arrival, but it failed to cover up for so many other deficiencies. It was a rebuilding year, though, all in the name of a brighter future so patience was asked. Judging by a final attendance of 2.82 million, patience was given. How much patience is left remains to be seen as the struggles are expected to continue into the 2013 season.

It brings us to the final 2012 grades for each player, and once again fans will have a chance to offer their own assessment. We won't grade every one of the franchise-high 53 players the Cubs used this season, but we'll get to many of them so this could take some time.

Pleased with the direction the franchise is headed? Angry at the product fans were asked to watch? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Welington Castillo, C

Padilla: Showed most growth of anybody on the roster and is poised to be No. 1 catcher next season. Grade: B

Grade Welington Castillo

  •  
    5%
  •  
    63%
  •  
    27%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 2,841)

Steve Clevenger, C

Padilla: Started the season as the backup and remained there even after Geovany Soto was traded. Grade: C

Grade Clevenger

  •  
    1%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    53%
  •  
    30%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 2,743)

Geovany Soto, C

Padilla: A club in need of veteran production couldn't get it from former rookie wonder, and he was dealt. Grade: D

Grade Soto

  •  
    0%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    6%
  •  
    35%
  •  
    58%

(Total votes: 2,785)

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Padilla: Burst on the scene with power and defense, then showed poise by making adjustments after a brief lull. Grade: A

Grade Rizzo

  •  
    80%
  •  
    17%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    0%
  •  
    1%

(Total votes: 2,962)

Bryan LaHair, 1B/OF

Padilla: Wild season went from offensive leader to All-Star to bench player by the time September rolled around. Grade: B-

Grade LaHair

  •  
    9%
  •  
    40%
  •  
    42%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 2,859)

Darwin Barney, 2B

Padilla: Played Gold Glove-worthy defense with amazing errorless run. It's now the offense that needs to catch up. Grade: B+

Grade Barney

  •  
    46%
  •  
    46%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    0%

(Total votes: 2,888)

Starlin Castro, SS

Padilla: Production only waned during contract negotiations, although mental lapses did occur at times. Grade: B+

Grade Castro

  •  
    30%
  •  
    57%
  •  
    10%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 2,860)

Ian Stewart, 3B

Padilla: Big bat that cost Colvin and LeMahieu never emerged because of wrist injury that ended season early. Grade: C-

Grade Stewart

  •  
    0%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    36%
  •  
    54%

(Total votes: 2,749)

Luis Valbuena, 3B

Padilla: Had occasional timely hitting, just not much hitting in all other situations while providing stopgap at 3B. Grade: C

Grade Valbuena

  •  
    1%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    44%
  •  
    37%
  •  
    9%

(Total votes: 2,656)

Josh Vitters, 3B

Padilla: Proved to be overmatched during first look in the majors and is looking at another season at Triple-A. Grade: D

Grade Vitters

  •  
    1%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    46%

(Total votes: 2,657)

Alfonso Soriano, LF

Padilla: Not only set a career high for RBIs at age 36, he also played the best left field of his career. Grade: A

Grade Soriano

  •  
    78%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    0%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 2,845)

David DeJesus, OF

Padilla: Steady as they come, was among the leaders in OBP for leadoff men the entire season. Grade: B+-

Grade DeJesus

  •  
    29%
  •  
    56%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 2,660)

Brett Jackson, CF

Padilla: Can go get them on defense, but showed he strikes out with the best of them as well. Grade: D

Grade Jackson

  •  
    1%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    32%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    21%

(Total votes: 2,556)

Tony Campana, OF

Padilla: Provided a spark in May to revive dead offense, but got shuffled to back of line when roster changed. Grade: B-

Grade Campana

  •  
    8%
  •  
    32%
  •  
    44%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 2,545)

Joe Mather, IF/OF

Padilla: Super sub even pitched in one game but never hit in bench role as well as he did in spring training. Grade: C-

Grade Mather

  •  
    0%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    38%
  •  
    12%

(Total votes: 2,412)

Jeff Baker, IF

Padilla: Was supposed to lead the charge vs. lefty starters, but was traded after Cubs struggled in that department. Grade: C

Grade Baker

  •  
    1%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    34%
  •  
    13%

(Total votes: 2,295)

Reed Johnson, CF

Padilla: Clubhouse leader and fourth outfielder was moved at the deadline just as his bat was coming around. Grade: B

Grade Johnson

  •  
    23%
  •  
    56%
  •  
    15%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 2,394)

Marlon Byrd, OF

Padilla: Zero production before being traded and did nothing at Boston either. Then came a suspension. Grade: F

Grade Byrd

  •  
    1%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    89%

(Total votes: 2,438)

Ryan Dempster, SP

Padilla: The pitching was great and he had every right to veto a trade, but it didn't help Cubs get the maximum return. Grade: C

Grade Dempster

  •  
    30%
  •  
    41%
  •  
    17%
  •  
    6%
  •  
    6%

(Total votes: 2,450)

Matt Garza, SP

Padilla: Had an ERA under 4.00 after 100 innings, before injury near elbow prevented a trade for needed prospects. Grade: C

Grade Garza

  •  
    4%
  •  
    35%
  •  
    44%
  •  
    13%
  •  
    4%

(Total votes: 2,368)

Justin Germano, SP

Padilla: Was the first to fill a number or rotation voids but never got on track after being claimed on waivers. Grade: D

Grade Germano

  •  
    0%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    50%
  •  
    30%

(Total votes: 2,178)

Paul Maholm, SP

Padilla: After a rocky debut got into an impressive groove and was flipped in a deal to Braves for prospects. Grade: B

Grade Maholm

  •  
    40%
  •  
    50%
  •  
    6%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 2,263)

Jeff Samardzija, SP

Padilla: Hard work in winter showed in spring training and the growth continued in first season as a starter. Grade: A

Grade Samardzija

  •  
    68%
  •  
    26%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    0%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 2,426)

Chris Volstad, SP

Padilla: Acquired for Zambrano, couldn't get sinker down in the zone and watched as his ERA soared. Grade: F

Grade Volstad

  •  
    0%
  •  
    0%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    17%
  •  
    80%

(Total votes: 2,306)

Travis Wood, SP

Padilla: Rebounded from a poor spring and showed impressive stretches which should lead to 2013 rotation spot. Grade: C

Grade Wood

  •  
    1%
  •  
    31%
  •  
    50%
  •  
    13%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 2,131)

Michael Bowden, RP

Padilla: Waiver claim couldn't make adjustments early but was much improved after demotion to Iowa. Grade: C

Grade Bowden

  •  
    1%
  •  
    8%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    36%
  •  
    12%

(Total votes: 1,929)

Alberto Cabrera, RP

Padilla: Plenty to work on, but showed promise in first big league stint, stranding 7 of 10 inherited runners in 24 outings. Grade: C-

Grade Cabrera

  •  
    0%
  •  
    5%
  •  
    44%
  •  
    40%
  •  
    11%

(Total votes: 1,872)

Shawn Camp, RP

Padilla: Workhorse who was sent packing by Seattle in the spring became most valuable piece of Cubs' bullpen. Grade: B+

Grade Camp

  •  
    32%
  •  
    49%
  •  
    13%
  •  
    3%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 1,903)

Lendy Castillo, RP

Padilla: Rule 5 pickup lasted the entire season but only because an injury allowed him to get some extra work in Arizona. Grade: F

Grade Castillo

  •  
    1%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    23%
  •  
    68%

(Total votes: 1,781)

Casey Coleman, RP

Padilla: Had a rough go in 17 appearances (one start), posting a 7.40 ERA before an injury ended his season. Grade: D

Grade Coleman

  •  
    1%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    41%
  •  
    50%

(Total votes: 1,799)

Manny Corpas, RP

Padilla: Former closer, back from Tommy John surgery, got his legs back under him and could play bigger role in 2013. Grade: C

Grade Corpas

  •  
    1%
  •  
    12%
  •  
    51%
  •  
    27%
  •  
    9%

(Total votes: 1,731)

Rafael Dolis, RP

Padilla: Roller-coaster season went from being closer for a short stretch to being sent down twice. Lots of upside. Grade: C-

Grade Dolis

  •  
    0%
  •  
    5%
  •  
    36%
  •  
    45%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 1,728)

Scott Maine, RP

Padilla: Lost his roster spot early because of a numbers crunch and wasn't the same when he finally returned. Grade: C

Grade Maine

  •  
    0%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    34%
  •  
    45%
  •  
    19%

(Total votes: 1,706)

Carlos Marmol, RP

Padilla: Learned to trust his fastball again, although was still a roller-coaster ride even while converting saves. Grade: C

Grade Marmol

  •  
    2%
  •  
    33%
  •  
    35%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    12%

(Total votes: 2,041)

James Russell, RP

Padilla: Durable and effective as responsibility increased after Sean Marshall was traded to the Reds. Grade: B

Grade Russell

  •  
    23%
  •  
    60%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    4%

(Total votes: 1,865)

Randy Wells, SP

Padilla: Disappointing this spring, underwhelming when he got a chance and saw his season end with an elbow injury. Grade: D

Grade Wells

  •  
    0%
  •  
    1%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    35%
  •  
    57%

(Total votes: 1,825)

Kerry Wood, RP

Padilla: Hurt and ineffective early, dropped an "Irrelevant dude," on a reporter then realized it was time to say goodbye. Grade: C-

Grade Wood

  •  
    28%
  •  
    12%
  •  
    28%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 2,137)

Dale Sveum, MGR

Padilla: Couldn't squeeze many wins from this crew as expected, but was a patient teacher and had a professional clubhouse. Grade: B

Grade Sveum

  •  
    23%
  •  
    44%
  •  
    19%
  •  
    7%
  •  
    7%

(Total votes: 2,361)

Jed Hoyer, GM

Padilla: Undertook demolition project with abandon. Would have added even better young talent if not for Dempster trade veto. Grade: B-

Grade Hoyer

  •  
    18%
  •  
    46%
  •  
    23%
  •  
    6%
  •  
    7%

(Total votes: 2,283)


Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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