Cubs News: Handing out midseason grades for the 2020 season

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, Victor Caratini (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Position players

Josh Phegley: F. Granted, Phegley is a third-string catcher, and it’s been hard to find him playing time despite the fact that he quietly drove in 62 runs for Oakland last year. Still, when Phegley has gotten to the plate, he’s struggled, getting just one hit (a home run) in 16 at-bats. If Phegley can turn it around, he would have a lot of value off the bench.

Steven Souza Jr.: D. He’s injured right now, so it’s hard to give a fair assessment, but in his attempt to come back this year Souza was not having a lot of success at the plate. He’s struck out ten times in 24 plate appearances while batting just 4-for-21 — though three of his four hits have been for extra bases. He could still have a lot of value as a bench player and corner outfielder if indeed he can come back.

Albert Almora Jr.: D. After taking a major step backward last year, Almora still isn’t hitting again this year, as he’s gone 5-for-27 with only one extra-base hit (a double). That OPS of .513 is even worst than last year’s .651 mark; though it’s been in limited duty, it’s still pretty discouraging and has to make us wonder whether we are indeed seeing his final days in a Cubs uniform. At least the defense in center field has been better.

Jason Kipnis: B+. Kipnis has turned out to be a nice addition to this team. The expectations were pretty low, as no one seemed to want him for most of the offseason and it looked like his best days were behind him. However, in part-time duty, he’s posted a very good OPS of .923, which includes drawing 13 walks and seven extra-base hits. Moving forward, he could also be a team leader off the field.

Victor Caratini: B. Though the OPS is down from last year (.710 from .794) due largely to the fact that he’s not hitting for power, Caratini has still proved to be a more-than-capable backup catcher, DH, and hitter off the bench. Ross has been giving Caratini lots of playing time, and he’s taken advantage by providing a lot of good at-bats. It’s a good thing the team hasn’t decided to move him yet, as he’s become especially valuable with the DH slot now in the NL.