As we sit through another WGN rain delay, let's dig deep for some positives on the 2009 season. How 'bout this: Andrew McCutchen. Compare him to the Cubs' leadoff-hitting center fielder, Kosuke Fukudome.
Fukudome's career stats:
254 games, 20 HR, 18 SB, 12 CS, .264/.372/.414, 102 OPS+
McCutchen's career stats:
63 games, 7 HR, 12 SB, 1 CS, .285/.352/.473, 120 OPS+
Other main difference is that Chicago's Japanese import cost $48,000,000 for 4 years, whereas 'Cutch is rookie cheap. I'd be shocked if he makes more than $2 million total, by the time Fukudome's contract is up.
And for those of you following, Andrew McCutchen leads all rookie position players in Value Over Replacement Player. I don't put a ton of stock into that as a predictive tool for Rookie of the Year considerations (partly because VORP and BBWAA are two acronyms that can't stand to be in the same room together, and partly/more importantly because McCutchen will also be up against some non-position player competition-- J.A. Happ being the leading candidate); however, it's still encouraging.
There's probably at least one other positive thing to say about the Buccos, but WGN is going to their 'Coach' marathon, so I'm tapping out for now.