Chicago Cubs: Projecting the team’s top performers in 60-game season
Chicago Cubs: Darvish looks to lead rotation
With one-fifth of the Cubs rotation already down and no bonafide number five starter, it’s hard to not be cautiously pessimistic about the way the rotation looks heading into this shortened season. Granted, the veterans have had plenty of rest, but their pitching schedules have been completely thrown out of whack by the starting and stopping of two “spring trainings” and the lockdowns/quarantines provided by COVID-19.
That being said, hope springs eternal in baseball, so even with Jose Quintana’s lack of cutlery acuity, perhaps there are some bright spots with the Cubs pitchers. Jon Lester looks to bounce back with his even year trend and a shortened season where he can let it all hang out. Yu Darvish looks to resume his standing as a bonafide ace after a spectacular second half in 2019 that saw him strike out 151 while only walking 12 from June 10 through the end of the season.
Kyle Hendricks will be a rock because, well, he’s Kyle Hendricks. “The Professor” is probably the guy least likely to be affected by anything, including a worldwide pandemic, shortened schedule, new rules, etc. And, without the need to burden himself with going up there to hit, Hendricks should be able to lock in on mechanical and in-game adjustments even more readily. David Ross will also have the ability to make pitching changes without having to worry about where spots come up the next inning – something many Cubs starters could have benefitted from over the last couple seasons when pulled early by Joe Maddon.
Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay should make up the rest of the rotation and swingman spots for 2020, although Quintana will hopefully be back and ready to go posthaste. In the bullpen, Ross should be leaning hard on Craig Kimbrel and Rowan Wick on the back-end- here’s hoping Kimbrel has figured things out and is back to his career norms.
- Yu Darvish- 6-3, 3.51 ERA, 103 Ks, 12 BBs
- Jon Lester- 5-4, 3.31 ERA, 67 Ks, 20 BBs
- Kyle Hendricks- 7-1, 2.91 ERA, 69 Ks, 17 BBs
- Jose Quintana- 4-5, 4.01 ERA, 60 Ks, 24 BBs
- Tyler Chatwood- 4-3, 3.97 ERA, 77 Ks, 33 BBs
- Craig Kimbrel- 1-4, 3.27 ERA, 36 Ks, 11 BBs, 24 Saves
- Rowan Wick- 1-1 2.31 ERA, 35 Ks, 9 BBs, 2 Saves
Regardless of what numbers your favorite Cubs produce, the most important number is always the number of wins and how many games they’re ahead in the division- let’s hope those numbers take care of themselves, because you know these projections will somehow get all messed up in this crazy year we know as 2020.