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 / Adbert Alzolay
Adbert Alzolay, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Can this guy step into a rotation spot?

2020 didn’t bring excitement to many people in many facets of life, but one guy who was probably pretty stoked with his performance and looking forward to his future is Adbert Alzolay. Alzolay debuted to mixed results in 2019 and wasn’t sure of his place on the squad in 2020. Without Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood, Jose Quintana, and Yu Darvish, Alzolay is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the rotation if he isn’t hurt.

There’s also reason to believe that his 2021 rotation spot would have been earned even if all those guys remained. Alzolay notably spent time working out in South Bend this past summer and fall on his slider, and put it to incredible use once coming back to Wrigley in the fall. If he can continue to throw the way he did in September, Alzolay could have a break out season for a Cubs rotation dying to have a guy who throws hard.

Speaking of young guys and throwing hard, Cubs fans got one check on their 2020 bucket list when Brailyn Marquez debuted against the White Sox in September. And, while Marquez didn’t make anyone think he’d be in the rotation to start 2021, he certainly flashed the potential to be part of the bullpen or staff later in the season. If nothing else, his fanning of AL MVP and South Side foe Jose Abreu put everyone on notice that his stuff is ready for the show, even if his consistency and repeatability isn’t quite yet.

If Alzolay and Marquez can be productive pieces in 2021, it could assuage many fears and doubts about that whole “lack of homegrown pitching talent” thing that plagued Theo Epstein during his entire run in Chicago.

Next. Cubs not exciting fanbase right now. dark

With some of the older guard now gone, the excitement and productivity of a new batch of “core youngsters” should be on display at Wrigley. If it’s ready and working in 2021, there might actually be some room for the most optimistic of Cubs fans to be happy with the club going forward.