Cubs: How FanGraphs projects the roster’s home run production
The projected 26-man roster on FanGraphs for the Chicago Cubs features 13 position players. Most of the guys on the list seem like a pretty safe bet to make the cut, barring injury or a transaction. FanGraphs also gives projected numbers for each individual player, including home runs. The Cubs might not seem like a big power-hitting team at first glance, but there are a handful of guys who could hit 20+ home runs on the year. Who does FanGraphs like on the Cubs hit the most home runs? Let’s take a look.
Who will hit the most home runs for the Cubs in 2022?
Right now FanGraphs likes Patrick Wisdom to lead the Cubs in home runs with 31, which isn’t necessarily a shock given the fact he set the team rookie home run record last season. It is unclear what Wisdom’s role will be exactly on the roster, and it’s fair to expect some regression from last year. He is projected to slash .218/.294/.462, basically an all-or-nothing hitter. No surprise there. With all that said, the guy has some major power as he is coming off that Cubs rookie record 28 home runs in only 106 games. If he plays enough and can swing the bat well enough to keep a spot on the roster, then he might be able to hit 20+ homers again.
Following Wisdom is Seiya Suzuki, projected at 30 long balls. FanGraphs is quite high on him, with a projected slash of .286/.386/.528 in his MLB debut season. He hit 38 home runs last year with the Hiroshima Carp. The ball absolutely explodes off his bat and it would not be a surprise if he ended up leading the squad in round-trippers. It could depend on how long it takes for him to fully adjust to MLB pitching.
There are three more players projected to hit at least 24 home runs, including Ian Happ (29), Willson Contreras (24) and Frank Schwindel (24). Not much of a surprise with Contreras; if he is healthy he has 20+ home run capability. It will be interesting to see what Schwindel does in his first (full) year as an MLB player. Like Wisdom, he is a potential late-bloomer, which naturally raises questions. Happ seems a bit high, but he does have good pop despite the inconsistent bat. He hit 25 home runs last year, even with all the struggles he had in the first half. He has 87 career home runs in 520 games.
Players projected between 10-19 home runs include Clint Frazier (16), Jonathan Villar (14) and Rafael Ortega (11). Villar being a longtime veteran seems pretty on point, he has averaged roughly 15 home runs per the last six seasons. Frazier and Ortega are up in the air. Frazier’s career-high in games played in a season is 69 and he hit 12 home runs that year. It seems like FanGraphs feels decent on Frazier adjusting to his new ballclub and is healthy. Ortega was a nice surprise last year as the third of the “late bloomers” so the same uncertainty applies.
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So to add up all the home run numbers by players projected to hit at least double digits, that equates to 179 home runs. Honestly, if that same group hits around that number, it feels like a win in a season in which the Cubs are not expected to be a powerhouse. That would mean Suzuki is adjusting well, Happ is productive and the likes of Schwindel and/or Wisdom are still producing.