Chicago Cubs: Returning to defensive form is essential in 2020

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: This could take some coaching and simply remembering who they are.

Just looking at the massive regression of the Cubs defense that was consistently in or hovering around top-10 in multiple defensive categories just take a dive was just…odd. We know the coaching staff under Joe Maddon was a revolving door after the World Series, but it is hard for players to just “forget” how to defend.

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Obviously, the team stats are made up of the players themselves which can make identifying problems a bit easier. The decline of Kris Bryant‘s defense (which can be attributed to nagging injuries), inconsistency in the center field. And second base positions (which included very significant declines in the defense of Albert Almora and Addison Russell) and seeing Jason Heyward shift around in the outfield a lot more. These are just a few examples.

Going into 2020, there will undoubtedly be a focus on correcting the defense. One might argue part of the fundamental struggles in 2019 was simply due to a lack of focus. Hard to say how much of a factor it was, but it certainly looked like using the eye test, the focus was not always there as fundamental baseball was not being executed.

Scouting and coaching will also work hard on things like positioning as it is another primary key in defensive success. Just look at how Craig Counsell and his staff work with the Brewers defenders. Cubs will need to play more like they did in 2016-2018 if they want a shot.

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There have not been a lot of roster moves or changes on the team itself, but one thing I think fans can be confident about is a better defense in 2020. Last year was such a dip. It almost felt flukey at times. But time will tell if they can truly get back to form.