3 Cubs who have to be successful for the team to win in 2022

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Nick Madrigal
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

As Opening Day draws nearer, I find myself looking more and more at how the Chicago Cubs could line up in 2022. Unlike a great many of you out there, I’m not uninspired in the slightest.

Despite being expected to miss the postseason by a wide margin, there are a still a few guys on this ball club worth keeping an eye on who just might help Chicago outperform expectations this season.

How about a scorching hot start to the season for Ian Happ? Considering how well he finished 2021, if he can replicate that performance in the first half of 2022, he might end up repping the Cubs in the All-Star Game. How about fantastic sophomore seasons from Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom? Can Kyle Hendricks revert back to his former Cy Young-caliber self? Let’s take a look at three guys whose success is absolutely paramount if the Cubs look to do anything special in 2022, starting with Nick Madrigal.

3 Cubs who have to be successful for the team to win: #3 – Nick Madrigal

Let’s face it. In an era where launch angle, advanced analytics and sabermetrics overshadow most aspects of the game, it is seldom seen when a guy with virtually no power receives the recognition he deserves. A .300 hitter that can manage to get on base at a nearly a 40 percent clip seems to remain outside of the spotlight unless he has 30 HR/90+ RBI on his baseball card, as well.

Though he has seen just two abbreviated seasons in the majors, the first due to the pandemic and the next due to injury, the 303 ABs Nick Madrigal has recorded at the major league level have already proven to be indicative of the player he is and has always been perceived to be.

Dating back to his days as a standout at Oregon State, Madrigal has always had elite bat-to-ball skills that have translated to some eye-popping numbers. Still, with an average glove and that aforementioned lack of power, a lot of people look past what he has to offer when sizing up the Cubs heading into 2022.

So far this spring, Madrigal has a pair of doubles in his first five at-bats. With his career slash of .317/.358/.406, he not only could he be the answer to the team’s longstanding leadoff man woes but also has the potential of bringing at least some solace to Cubs fans by serving as the catalyst of retributive justice from the horrendous Eloy Jimenez/Dylan Cease and Jose Quintana swap of 2017.