Cubs: Ranking the top candidates to lead the team in home runs

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Chicago Cubs / Kris Bryant
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Cubs: Projected for between 15-26 home runs, but capable of more

Willson Contreras:

The slugging catcher has hit some mammoth shots in his five-year MLB stint. His career-high is 24 (2019) and has twice eclipsed the 20 home run mark. Outside his weird power outage in 2018, he has consistently been able to slug the ball out of the ballpark when he is locked in.

When he is hot, he can hit home runs in bunches. One of the underrated parts of Willy’s game is his ability to drive the ball the other way and show power to all parts of the field. Last season he was third in average exit velocity among catchers.

ZiPS has him at 18 home runs, Steamer at 17 and THE BAT at 16. If he plays a full season in 2021 then I would take the over on these projections. It is worth noting his career-high in homers was hit in a season in which he played only 105 games.

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Kris Bryant:

Last season could have hurt his projections for 2021. His career-high mark of 39 bombs was accomplished during his MVP season in 2016. Since then he has eclipsed the 30-home run mark once in 2019 (31). If healthy it is realistic to put him in the high-20s/low 30s projections of home runs. it is not like he is far removed from hitting over 30 home runs. Right now health concerns are warranted due to recent past issues battling injury.

ZiPS have him at 24 home runs, Steamer at 26 and THE BAT at 26. Seems reasonable now. Seeing what kind of start he gets off to in the first month or so and if he is fully healthy can give a better idea of what kind of home run totals he can put up.

Ian Happ:

The team’s top offensive producer is looking to play 130+ games for the first time since 2018. Happ slugged 12 home runs in 57 games last year (plus one in the postseason) and 11 when he returned from the minors and played in 58 games in 2019. In his 2017 rookie season he hit 24 in 115 games.

Like others, Happ has the ability to spray home runs to all fields. Over a full season he is absolutely capable of hitting 20 or more, and if his last two seasons are any indicator he can keep building on his power numbers.

ZiPS has him at 27 home runs, Steamer at 27 and THE BAT at 23. Pretty consistent projections. Do not rule out Happ being able to reach the 30 mark. If he is batting leadoff and the regular centerfielder he will get plenty of at bats.