Chicago Cubs: These guys are still around
You’ve heard it before and you’ve heard it again: the core of the Cubs is still in place and they’re still really good. They may have had injuries and some may have had inconsistent starts to their careers, but the pieces are still in place to make not just one run, but a sustained run if they are kept together.
The Cubs have a ton of pieces that other teams envy, regardless of records or outcomes the last couple seasons. Kris Bryant is a former National League MVP, Anthony Rizzo is one of the most consistent sluggers in baseball, Javier Baez is the most exciting player in the game and Willson Contreras is by far the best offensive catcher in the game.
Those four, generally included as the most important core pieces, are joined by Kyle Schwarber, who had a breakout second half in 2019 and decided to go to all fields more than ever before. Those five could be the best extended middle of the order in baseball. Add a legitimate leadoff man who gets on base 35-40 percent of the time and they’re cranking out runs at a record pace.
On the defensive side, the Cubs are only a couple years away from being one of the best defensive clubs in baseball. Granted, Addison Russell and Baez likely won’t be turning double plays anymore, but add a defensive center fielder and shift Jason Heyward back to right field and you have the possibility of a good defensive group. Put them behind a mix of Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and maybe a new top-of-the-rotation guy and there are some solid pieces in place.