Cubs News: Giving key players their 2020 letter grades

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: They carried the team for much of the season when the offense would go cold.

Yu Darvish: A+

He’s a Cy Young finalist and deservedly so. Darvish dominated this season as he pitched to a 2.01 ERA, 2.23 FIP, 11.0 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 0.961 WHIP in 12 starts. This was the guy Theo Epstein signed to a big contract back in 2018. His arsenal of pitches was huge, and the movement was nasty. If there is a team MVP, then Darvish deserves that title. It is a shame his team could not get him runs in the playoffs.

Kyle Hendricks: A

The professor did what he did, and that is schooling his opponents. He got off to a fantastic start with his complete-game shutout on opening night against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. On the season, he pitched to a 2.88 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 0.996 WHIP and 0.9 BB/9 in 12 starts. He is among the best at getting groundballs and soft contact. Not much else to say, but the most underrated starter in the National League lived up to expectations in 2020.

Jon Lester: D

One of the best free-agent signings in Cubs history had a rough season in 2020. It is hard to admit that it was not very surprising, but it wasn’t. The former ace at age 36 is losing the battle to Father Time as all athletes do. His 5.16 ERA and 5.14 FIP were career-worsts in games he started at least 12 games in. What stinks is that he did not get a chance to pitch at Wrigley Field in the postseason this year as this is likely the end of the road for Big Jon as a Cub. What a ride it was with him, and he will be remembered by Cubs fans forever for all the great things he did here.

Alec Mills: C

In a season in which Mills started a career-high 11 games, he had many ups and downs. The 28-year old pitcher made history in Milwaukee in September when he threw a no-hitter against the Brewers. He also had several quality starts early on. Sad to say, he also got roughed up a few times and finished with a 4.48 ERA and 1.2 WHIP. For a guy like Mills, credit him for the good he did and put in perspective that he is likely not going to be a full-time starter long term, but possibly a long-reliever/spot starter.

Tyler Chatwood: B

This one was tough to grade; he only pitched in five games before getting hurt and put up a 5.30 ERA. However, his first few starts were dominant before he got roughed up in Kansas City. The FIP was still at 3.35 when it was all said and done. Many people will disagree with this grade, but I enjoyed watching him pitch outside the one horrific outing.

Jose Quintana: Incomplete

He was hurt most of the season and only pitched in four games.