While the Cubs' NLDS roster won't be officially named until Wednesday morning, Paul Sullivan reports in the Tribune Tuesday night that Felix Pie will be on the roster and Micah Hoffpauir will not.
Given Mark DeRosa's balky calf, it's not hard to understand the Cubs' desire to have, in Paul Sullivan's words, a "late-inning defensive replacement...if DeRosa gets a start in the outfield." Pie, who hit .241 in 43 games for the Cubs this year, is a capable glove man with lots of speed; Hoffpauir, who hit .342 in 33 games for the Cubs this year, is a butcher in the outfield.
In other words, I buy Pie over Hoffpauir, but what I don't buy is the non-hitting pinch-hitter Daryle Ward over Hoffpauir.
Despite connecting for one of the season's most dramatic home runs, a three-run, ninth-inning rocket that lifted the Cubs past the Marlins in a game in mid-August, Ward had a horrible season. Among the 51 National League pinch hitters with at least 25 plate appearances this year, Ward was 29th in on-base percentage (.294), 31st in OPS (585), and a dismal 45th in batting average (8-for-55, .145).
To be fair, Hoffpauir didn't do much in his 14 pinch-hit plate appearances, registering just three singles and striking out seven times.
Still, even though it might mean having to cast a rookie into a do-or-die moment on baseball's most dramatic stage, the post-season, I would much rather see Hoffpauir called upon than Ward.
Note: according to Sullivan, Hoffpauir, catcher Koyie Hill, and relievers Michael Wuertz and Kevin Hart "will report to the Cubs' facility in Mesa, Ariz., to continue working out in case they are needed for the NL Championship Series when the Cubs can change the roster if necessary."