Already, January is upon us, and so far, there is no sign of Major League Baseball’s lockout ending, at least not anytime soon. Usually, we are all looking forward to spring training and the beginning of the regular season during this time of year. However, this year is different, and there is an abundance of uncertainty this year for all baseball fans, including Chicago Cubs fans.
Besides the league’s uncertainty, the Cubs have many questions about their team as its currently constructed. One of those mysteries involves the outfield. It is no secret Chicago has struggled to find a dependable mix of starting outfielders in recent years. It became painfully obvious following Kyle Schwarber’s shocking release at the end of the shortened 2020 season.
Losing Schwarber was deeply felt since he was one of those guys whose tenure with the Cubs was shorter than expected. Luckily, fast forward to present day and the team has some up-and-coming outfielders that will surely provide more depth than the team has had as of late, and they will be interesting to watch in 2022.
Chicago Cubs: A look at the team’s outfield depth going into the 2022 season
From the looks of things, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Clint Frazier, Harold Ramirez and Michael Hermosillo will be plugged into three outfield spots that seem to be up for grabs. We have seen a good amount of both Happ and Heyward. While his whole season wasn’t exactly what you want to see, Happ finished 2021 scorching hot. The hope is this fire will continue into the upcoming season. While Heyward’s tenure with the Cubs has been disappointing, the hope is he bounces back with two years left on his deal.
Twenty-six-year-old Michael Hermosillo was brought back to the team on a one-year deal before the lockout. Hermosillo had a short stint in the major leagues in 2021. Since the team brought him back, maybe he will get more time to show his stuff in the bigs this year. Besides Hermosillo, Frazier and Ramirez are also vital pieces worth discussing.
Frazier was acquired before the lockout. The former New York Yankee came at low risk and high reward and is the perfect bench piece for this club. While his bat was not hot in the Big Apple, hopefully, he can live up to the hype that once surrounded him in Chicago. Meanwhile, Ramirez was acquired from Cleveland this fall. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the outfield mix.
Looking into outfield depth within the organization, Nelson Velazquez is a talented outfielder who we could see playing at the major league level very soon. The 23-year old Velazquez made a name for himself and performed very well in the Arizona Fall League. He led the entire league with nine homers and led the Mesa Solar Sox to the AFL Championship.
And who could forget top prospect Brennen Davis, who has hit at every step along the way and looks poised to make his big league debut as soon as this summer? This guy is one of the team’s most hyped prospects in years and could make his presence felt right away.
Considering Velazquez and Davis (among others), the longer-term future for the Cubs outfield is bright. Hopefully, the group’s short-term future is sorted out sooner rather than later.