Chicago Cubs: More position players
Willson Contreras: D. As we came into this season with high hopes for Contreras, it has been an incredibly disappointing season for the Cubs’ backstop. After posting an .888 OPS last year, that mark has plummetted to .691 with this year with just three home runs. The strikeouts are also up, as he’s whiffed 35 times so far. They will need a lot more from him in the second half. At least his defense has continued to be sound.
Javier Baez: D. Just like with Contreras, it has been a big struggle at the plate for Baez so far. He’s never going to be someone who takes a lot of walks, but that .262 OBP is pretty ugly. It’s a shame, because over the past couple of seasons, he’s at least shown an ability to put together some good at-bats. Baez still has a reputation as a dangerous hitter, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he starts figuring it out again.
Kris Bryant: F. Perhaps I’m being a little tough on him, as he has battled injuries again this year. But when he has played, he’s looked completely lost at the plate. Bryant has been one of the team’s most debated players over the past couple of seasons, and what’s happened this year figures to ramp up those who want him gone even more. In any case, they certainly need more from him than a .177 batting average with two home runs and four RBIs, which is what he’s put up so far. That .594 OPS is just frightening.
Anthony Rizzo: C-. He gets a slightly higher grade than some of the other big names because he’s at least been drawing walks. Still, his .357 OBP would be his worst mark since 2013, while his .739 OPS would be his worst since 2011, when he was in San Diego. Rizzo’s bat has been eerily quiet to this point, like a few other of his teammates. Though he’s been hitting towards the top of the order, he needs to be more of a run producer for this offense.
Note: Ian Miller, Hernan Perez, Adbert Alzolay, Jason Adam, Jose Quintana, Rex Brothers, Tyson Miller, James Norwood, Brad Wieck, and Dillon Maples also have appeared in games for the Cubs this year, but not enough to warrant issuing a grade.