The Chicago Cubs’ 2020 ZiPS predictions came out on Thursday. They were conservative with many picks, but they are underestimating some key guys.
On Thursday, FanGraphs.com released its annual ZiPS projections for the Chicago Cubs, giving their predictions on what they think will happen with each player on the 2020 team. Click here to read the article to see everything for yourself.
The first sentence sums up well how many are feeling right now: “It’s hard to feel much excitement about the Cubs.” This part isn’t much of a surprise; indeed, other predictions are coming out about the 2020 season right now that isn’t exactly bullish on the Cubs.
Neither are the majority of the predictions that are out for the big-name players much of a surprise: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and Jason Heyward are all about where we would expect them to be. One player that ZiPS is high on for 2020 is Ian Happ, who they project will get 552 plate appearances and post a 102 OPS+.
The rotation is about where we would expect as well, at least in the first four slots. Kyle Hendricks is projected to have another solid season. Yu Darvish is expected to pick up where he left off in the second half of 2019, and Jon Lester and Jose Quintana again are predicted to be still decent starters but shells of their former selves.
Again, there weren’t a ton of surprises in these predictions. Yet I have identified three areas in which I believe the ZiPS projections are underestimating the Chicago Cubs. Here we look at Willson Contreras, Craig Kimbrel, and the fifth starter’s spot.