Chicago Cubs: Cubbies Crib staff talks 2019, makes their predictions

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Chicago Cubs: Do we expect a rebound from KB? What does Baez have in store?

Bill R:

If the Chicago Cubs can’t count on Kris Bryant returning to form, the offense is going to have major problems. But I’m expecting Kris Bryant to get MVP votes this season and maybe even win the award again.

Javier Baez is a superstar and will continue to be one. I expect his offense to regress a little bit, but Baez wasn’t just hot for the whole season. He went through hot streaks, cooled off, made adjustments and then got hot again.

Last year might have been a career year for Baez, but I’m predicting that, at the very least, Baez makes the All-Star Game.

Bill Q:

KB will hit 30 home runs and score 100 runs.  Mark it down.

Javy will not have quite the same kind of season he had in 2018, but the Cubs won’t need him to with everyone firing on all cylinders. My guess is he has a solid campaign and is a 3-4 WAR type player in 2019.

Alex:

A healthy Kris Bryant will bring MVP-like numbers, and if his swing is going back to what it was…lookout. Do not forget he was putting up MVP numbers last year before his injury. As for Javy, there is no doubt he will have another good year, but expect some regression from the breakout 2018 he had.

As talented as he is, expecting those numbers from a free-swinger like Javy just does not seem realistic year in and year out. I see him putting up a .275/.320/.500 with 25-28 homers in 2019. He will slug, run the bases and drive in runs as he did in the past, but 2018 seemed like a career-season.

Erik:

Yes, KB should be fully healthy and blasting 30 bombs again. Javy? Just win MVP.

Logan:

Absolutely. Bryant missed 60 games last season and still managed a 2.3 WAR. It was also the first season in his young career that he dealt with adversity. Bryant is a former Rookie of the Year and MVP and will most certainly rebound into the MVP-caliber player this season.

Concerning Baez, he can simply follow up his MVP-caliber year with the same level of consistency. While I do not expect the same numbers this season, I believe Báez will produce a 30 home run, 100 RBI season once again. The big key for his production will be his ability to continue to decrease the strikeouts.

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Marty:

I’m keeping all my stock on Kris Bryant this year. He can get back to his key hitting philosophies with new hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, who is a proponent of launch angle.

But this is the first time we are going to see a truly motivated Bryant. He has drawn a ton of scrutiny and it just feels like he is super fired up for this year. I think he hits 40 homers for the first time in his career.

Likewise, I do not see regression in the cards for Baez. He seems equally determined by a desire to increase his plate discipline and increase his leadership role. So while his numbers may decline slightly, his clubhouse and overall value will continue to increase in spades.

Jake:

Absolutely – anyone who doesn’t believe Bryant will rebound is a fool. Period.

I don’t know if Baez will play up to the level he did last year (I’m certainly not counting on it) – but I think he’s going to bring that El Mago magic to the diamond every single day in just about every way imaginable. Which, in my mind, is all he has to do for the Cubs to be great.

Nick:

Bryant will bounce back, that I have no doubt about. Baez will have to be the player he was while everyone knows it’s coming.

That doesn’t mean he can’t be. But teams will take note of what he’s doing on the bases more often.

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