Chicago Cubs: Projecting the team’s top performers in 60-game season

Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: These three should get bulk of the time in front of the ivy

If the Cubs are going to do well in this shortened season, they’ll definitely need their veteran pitchers to pitch well. However, that being said, if their outfield can produce the way they are capable and have in spurts over the past couple seasons, the offense as a whole could be a juggernaut.

Kyle Schwarber in left field, Ian Happ (with some Albert Almora) in centerfield, and Jason Heyward in right field make up a group that has fallen short of projections and fans’ hopes since 2016. Happ wasn’t even in the big leagues for all of 2019, Heyward hit a wall when plopped in the leadoff spot last season, and Kyle Schwarber just kept hitting missiles into the shift for the first half of last year.

That being said, each had a run of success that could make fans optimistic for a 60 game run in 2020. Schwarber is likely to be right in the middle of things in the lineup, likely in the cleanup spot. If Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez hold true to form, Schwarber will be hitting with men on base all over the place. If he can replicate his success from the second half of last season, watch out- an MVP type performance (I know, gasp!) might just be in the cards.

If the Cubs can get even average performance out of Heyward they’ll take it, as he is still a top notch defensive player in right. And, if Happ can produce the way he did down the stretch, the Cubs will lengthen their lineup considerably. Throw in nominal at bats for Almora and newly acquired Steven Souza Jr. and that’s all she wrote for the outfielders.

  • Kyle Schwarber – .271/.363/.565, 17 home runs, 41 RBI
  • Ian Happ – .247/.351/.483, 11 home runs, 24 RBI
  • Jason Heyward – .273/.341/.412, 5 home runs, 21 RBI
  • Albert Almora – .271/.312/.417, 4 home runs, 15 RBI
  • Steven Souza Jr. – .254/.335/.431, 5 home runs, 14 RBI
Chicago Cubs
Victor Caratini, Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Catcher and DH may look mysteriously similar this season

If everything goes to plan (which it probably won’t because it’s 2020), it’s hard to envision a scenario where Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini don’t occupy the DH and catcher slots in the lineup nearly every game this season. Granted, Caratini could spell Rizzo at first base every once in a while and Contreras could go shag some balls in the outfield a couple games, but you’re likely to see these two guys entrenched as the catcher and DH this season.

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With the DH now in the NL, it gives the Cubs the option of starting their best catching matchup given the day’s starting pitcher, without worrying about hurt feelings or leaving a hot bat out of the lineup. And, as we know from 2019, both Caratini and Contreras can sizzle at the plate when healthy.

Ahhhhhh, the caveat… when healthy. That has been the issue for both in the past couple seasons, yet with the ability to give each other rest on a more regular basis with the DH in play, the injury piece could be a thing of the past.

If any club were better situated for the DH in the NL, I don’t know who it is. The ability to rest Contreras and keep him healthy AND still in the lineup as DH, while also having a very good switch-hitting Caratini bat almost always in the lineup could be worth its weight in gold for the Cubs in 2020.

  • Willson Contreras – .288/.348/.501, 13 home runs, 38 RBI
  • Victor Caratini -.274/.344/.471, 8 home runs, 24 RBI