Arrieta, Bryant, Rizzo and Heyward
The optimist in me wants to list every Cubs player on the roster. But I have to be selective about this. I’m a homer, I admit it. But in this case, they really are THAT good. These four are the ones that I can see being a big part of the Cubs chances in 2017. And for one, it’s possibly his last year in Chicago.
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Jake Arrieta is in his final year of his contract and is looking to get paid big time at the end of the season. While he had a “down” year in 2017, it’s hard to replicate what he did in the second half of 2016. With a hefty payday in front of him, I believe he’ll produce at a strong level once again.
Kris Bryant? See previous slide. His trajectory is up and will stay up for a while. He’s smart enough to see what pitchers are looking at after last season, and adjust before they do. It’s been a quick rise to the NL MVP. And this season shouldn’t play out any different for Bryant.
Anthony Rizzo has been a consistent force in this Cubs lineup since well before they were the champs. Last year he finished fourth in the MVP voting, won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. I can see the potential of Rizzo making a run at the NL batting title this season, possibly at the cost of some power–but not much.
Let’s be honest, the only way for Jason Heyward to go was up, am I right? While the results haven’t consistently been there this spring, he’s shown improvement at times. He’s doing a better job of driving the ball and not weakly rolling out to second base. A return to the type of player he was with the Cardinals in 2015 (.293/.359/.797) and continued Gold Glove play will go a long ways for the Cubs.