Chicago Cubs: Five bold predictions for 2020 and beyond
Chicago Cubs: Your 2020 NL Rookie of the Year
This could be the boldest of my predictions, only because it’s going to take a lot of health and luck going forward for three different guys. Anyways, here it is: a Chicago Cubs will win the NL Rookie of the Year award in three straight years- 2020, 2021, and 2022. While Nico Hoerner in 2020 might be easy to call and Hoerner might even be one of the frontrunners if he gets to (or starts in) Chicago soon enough, 2021 and 2022 seem like a long way away.
Hoerner has all the raw ability and wherewithal to handle the big stage, as we’ve already seen in his September 2019 stint. His instincts, knowledge, and head make him a surefire bet to have a long and successful big league career. Even if he’s not the starting second baseman on Opening Day 2020, he will be in 2021 and for the foreseeable future. (He’s also the only legitimate guy who can currently back up Javier Baez at shortstop for any length of time, should the irrepressible El Mago need a day or two).
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Look for him to either start the season with the Cubs or get the call soon after that when Ross, Epstein and the rest of the Cubs realize they need more than an aged Jason Kipnis or nice utility guy, David Bote. If he’s up soon enough, he’ll start almost every game while he’s up. If he does that, he’ll be your 2020 NL Rookie of the Year.
In 2021, the Cubs will look to left-handed fireballer Marquez to join the rotation (as we’ve already covered). Marquez has the stuff, and he’ll have his manager and front office’s blessing to go out there and dominate NL hitters in a way the Cubs haven’t seen since Kerry Wood and Mark Prior busted on the big stage. Once he’s off and running, he’ll collect the ’21 NL ROY.
In 2022, the Cubs will have already offered a contract extension that buys out pre-arb and arbitration years for prospect Brennen Davis, allowing him to start the season with the big league club. Already a top 50 Fangraphs prospect, and the 78th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Davis could very well be a top 10 prospect after the 2021 season. If he continues making strides and mastering each level, his natural talent and athleticism could make him a fearsome all-around MLB player. Look for him to take the 2022 NL ROY after Hoerner and Marquez before him.