The Chicago Cubs embark upon the 2014 season after an off-season that saw the team made little changes to the Major League roster. In 2014, the Cubs will hope for improvement from their position players and pitching staff after a 2013 season that saw the team lose 96 games.
With the Marlins last season, Ruggiano hit .222/.298/.396 to go along with 18 home runs and wRC+ of 92. More encouraging of the 31-year old outfielder is the fact that he possessed an ISO of .175 last season to go with a relatively low K% of 24.2%. Some projections have projected Ruggiano to hit close to 30 home runs in 2014.
Though, those projections are operating under the assumption that Ruggiano will be playing everyday.
The expectation is that Ruggiano will likely platoon in the Cubs outfield during the 2014 season. Ruggiano has experience playing all three outfield positions and will likely see time at each in 2014. However, it seems likely that Ruggiano and Nate Schierholtz will be the main platoon in right field.
Ironically, Ruggiano could be the same late bloomer for the Cubs this season that Schierholtz was for the team last season.
In the season prior to joining the Cubs, Schierholtz possessed a wRAA of -0.2 runs above average while playing with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. By comparison, Ruggiano possessed a wRAA of -2.4 runs above average last season with the Marlins.
In his first season with the Cubs last season, Schierholtzs possessed a wRAA of 6.8 runs above average while hitting 21 home runs to go along with a wOBA of .331.
The Cubs will look for a similar result from Ruggiano in his first season with the team.
If the Cubs do strike gold once again, then that may lead to an interesting July if the team were to consider trading Ruggiano or Schierholtz.