Chicago Cubs: Five reasons team will continue second half surge

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The Bryzzo Souvenir Co. is all smiles and high fives again

One reason for pessimism after the disappointing 2018 season was the status of former MVP, Kris Bryant. Bryant had spent time on the DL (IL now) and just never looked right throughout a considerable portion of the season last year. Many were wondering whether Bryant’s shoulder would be okay. Whether his swing could generate power, and if he would return to the heights he had ascended to fairly consistently basically since busting on the scene as a rookie in 2015.

In addition to wondering about Bryant’s future performance, many also wondered whether Anthony Rizzo would struggle coming out of the gates again. And if he was starting a downward slide as a hitter and player. As it turns out, anyone worried about either Rizzo or Bryant should have taken a chill pill and enjoyed the ride.

Bryant is currently eighth in all of baseball with 3.9 fWAR, putting up better offensive numbers than in his 2016 MVP campaign (150 wRC+ to 148). While his defensive numbers have dipped a bit in comparison, it’s nothing super alarming, and Maddon has felt comfortable moving him around more again. This adds to the flexibility and overall productivity of the entire ball club.

Rizzo has also put his sub-par (for his standards), albeit still good, 2018 season behind him, putting up offensive numbers reminiscent of his 2015 and 2016 seasons. Currently sitting at 2.6 fWAR and a 142 wRC+, Rizzo has once again resumed his place as the rock in the heart of the Cubs’ lineup, on pace to put up his usual 30 bombs and 100 RBI.

While the offense is starting to roll with the top four guys all doing damage so far in the second half, that won’t mean anything without good starting pitching.