Chicago Cubs: Projecting the team’s Opening Day starting lineup

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: A loaded infield will return with one goal in mind

At this point, with his grievance still up in the air, I think Kris Bryant will return to the Cubs in 2020. I’m not saying he’ll finish the year with the team, but it looks like he’ll be in the lineup in Milwaukee on Opening Day.

So if you pencil Bryant in at third and, obviously, Anthony Rizzo across the diamond at first base, a position he’s locked up for the Cubs for the better part of a decade, you turn your attention to the middle infield.

Now, we know who’s playing shortstop. 2018 National League MVP runner-up Javier Baez has emerged as a true force in recent years, both with his glove and hit bat. There are few players in the game who can play at the same level with such a dynamic presence on the diamond. One problem, though? It’s hard to say who will form the other half of the Cubs middle infield.

David Bote makes sense as he’s relatively split-neutral in his career and his bat has significant upside. I’d say there’s next to no chance someone like Daniel Descalso starts regularly next year given his performance in 2019 – and I don’t think Robel Garcia or Nico Hoerner open the year with the big league club.

For now, let’s assume Bote rounds out the infield on Opening Day and shift our attention to the outfield.