Chicago Cubs: The positives and negatives of 2019

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: New faces in strange places

Offensively, the two brightest moments for the Cubs in 2019 was the addition of Nicholas Castellanos and the surprising breakout of first-round pick Nico Hoerner. If someone were to bet those two faces would be in Chicago this season, they would have been made fun of, however here we sit.

Rumors were aplenty leading up to this year’s trade deadline on Castellanos. The Detroit Tigers were expected to be moving him, and it was just a matter of to who. Luckily, Theo Epstein and the Cubs swooped in on the tenth hour before the deadline ran out, acquiring the big hitter for Paul Richan and Alex Lange.

The 27-year-old right-hander did not disappoint. Castellanos played 51 games for the Cubs, slashing an insane .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs and 36 RBI. In his first month alone in his new digs, Castellanos hit 11 home runs, carried a .348 batting average, and posted a .447 wOBA and 179 wRC+. The fire starter is a free agent this offseason, and there is nobody I wish for the Cubs to pursue more than the kid from Florida.

Speaking of breaking out, Nico Hoerner demolished major league competition during his brief 20 game stint. Following a head injury to Addison Russell, the team made the call to pull Hoerner directly from Double-A Tennessee straight to the big leagues. He did not disappoint.

Next. Bote overcame a tough start to the 2019 campaign. dark

On the road in San Diego for his debut, Hoerner finished 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBI. Across a two-game stint a few days later, at home versus the Pirates, the 22-year-old went collected five knocks with two big flies and seven RBI. Hoerner finished with a .282/.305/.436 slash line, three home runs and 13 RBI. It was good enough for a 0.2 WAR.

Hoerner is the future at shortstop. He will more than likely begin the new year at Triple-A Iowa before a late April call-up but should make a significant impact in 2020 as a new staple in the lineup. Imagining a starting nine with both himself and Castellanos, along with a healthy Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant makes me salivate just thinking about it.