The Honorable Mentions
Beyond the players that are to come, it is important to note those who have contributed at a high level but fall just short of official “top five” recognition. These honorable mentions have been instrumental to team success in 2018, but have been outdone by others. Still, they are worthy of high praise.
Pitching and a surprise in the outfield
SP/RP Mike Montgomery – Monty has been a rock since moving into the rotation. Of the pitchers who have tallied at least 30 innings pitched as starters, his is the fourth-lowest ERA in baseball (2.02). If this were the full sampling of Montgomery, he’d probably make the top five. However, his 5.33 ERA in 25 relief innings hurts his case. Monty has been a bit of revelation for the Cubs and has made a case for himself as a full time starter. But he doesn’t make the cut.
RF Jason Heyward – In analyzing the stats, Heyward’s value truly was surprising. His 2018 offensive production has been a welcomed change from the struggles of the past two seasons. Of his 61 runs produced this year (runs scored plus RBI), 50 have come in victories. In short, when he hits and drives in runs, the team wins more often than not. Add to that his consistent and considerable defensive contributions, and it was difficult leaving J-Hey off this list.
RPs Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow – The three-headed monster at the back of the Cubs’ bullpen has been solid. Combined, they have pitched 81 1/3 innings in 2018 and have a 2.29 ERA. Without these three at the back end of the bullpen, the results to their 2018 campaign might look very different. The one caveat – and likely the deciding factor in their omission – is that both Strop and Morrow have spent considerable time on the DL.