Chicago Cubs: Three reasons to have optimism heading into 2021

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Ian Happ
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Chicago Cubs: There are still young talented pieces

If the Cubs aren’t going to spend money, it probably means there are lots of at-bats for players who don’t cost a whole lot of money and aren’t going to be traded any time soon if there is a total rebuild or fire sale.

One such player is a guy who was in the running for NL MVP for much of the 2020 season, Ian Happ. While Cubs fans and the organization had always been intrigued by the athletic ability, versatility, and power/eye combo that was and is Happ, he had yet to put it together for a full season. And, to be fair, we still haven’t seen it given the brevity that was the 2020 season and the fact that Happ tapered off a bit toward the end. If there is a normal 162 game season in 2021, you can pretty much guarantee Happ will be logging 600 at-bats.

Another guy who hasn’t yet been able to play a full season, but for different reasons, is Nico Hoerner. Showing a ton of promise and potential in his debut in the fall of 2019, Hoerner struggled  to put up positive numbers and stats through much of 2020. Then again, he was a Gold Glove finalist at second base and is also able to play shortstop adequately as well. He’s also a guy who puts the ball in play and is a high-contact guy, so with an offseason of adjustments, he may just be ready to contribute and produce more meaningfully at the plate in ’21.

Much has been made of him possibly starting this year back in the minors, but if the club isn’t going to go out and spend money on another second baseman, what are the options? Sure, David Bote could play there full-time, but what if Kris Bryant gets moved in the near future? Hoerner could end up benefitting tremendously from any sort of rebuild/retool.