Chicago Cubs: End-of-season grades for key players from the 2021 team

(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
1 of 5
Chicago Cubs / Ian Happ
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

As the 2021 MLB postseason gets underway on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, let’s dole out our annual end-of-season grades for the Chicago Cubs. In recent years, it’s been pretty easy to put this piece together. After all, since 2016, it’s largely been the same core of everyday players in place. But this year, the team deployed more players than any other in baseball history  (69) – making this quite the lift.

Given the sheer volume of players involved in the 2021 campaign, we’re not going to grade out every single one because, well, I value my sanity. This will be focused on players who were either everyday players over some point of the season, frequently used bench/platoon players, key bullpen guys or starting pitchers who made at least 10 starts. Yes, that beloved core that was traded away in July – including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and so on – will be given grades, as well.

It is also worth noting that grades will be given based on what type of player they are. For example, a platoon guy who hit very well could get an A based on how effectively they filled their role. In other words, an All-Star caliber player and a bench player could both get an A, but that does not necessarily mean they hold the same overall value as a player. Grades will also be evaluated based on how they performed in 2021 vs. how they have regularly performed throughout their careers.