First Base – This year, Anthony Rizzo established himself as not only one of the top players on the Chicago roster, but one of the best power hitters in all of Major League Baseball. Although now at risk of missing the rest of the season with a muscle strain in his lower back, the All-Star first baseman has 30 home runs and 71 RBI to go along with his 23 doubles and career-best .889 OPS.
Aug 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) hits a two-run home run in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Even if he misses the rest of the season, Rizzo will be just 25 for the majority of the 2015 season. He’s shown an ability to overcome his previous struggles against left-handed pitching in 2014 and with another year of experience under his belt and a more potent supporting cast around him, he could very well emerge as a perennial 30-100 man in the middle of the Cubs lineup.
Second Base – For the time being, Javier Baez will man second base. That being said, with the likes of Addison Russell working through the Chicago system after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics this summer, things could very well change for the power-hitting infielder.
So far, it’s been a struggle for the 21-year-old Baez, who has struck out a startling 42.5 percent of his big league at-bats (51 K in 120 at-bats). He faced a learning curve with each promotion through the minors, as well, and the Cubs will be hoping he can figure things out by the time 2015 rolls around. He has shown tremendous power, as well, hitting seven home runs in 29 games.
Defensively, it’s apparent that Baez is still learning a new position. His .956 fielding percentage leaves something to be desired, as he has made five errors in 114 chances at second base. In seven games at shortstop, which is his primary position, his defense has been errorless thus far.
Baez is expected to figure things out at the dish and unless a blockbuster trade materializes, he will find himself back at second base for the start of the 2015 season.