Giving key Chicago Cubs players 2022 letter grades

(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images) /
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The 2022 Chicago Cubs saw a lot of players rotate in and out of the active roster as they went through a 74-88 season as the rebuilding effort continued on the North Side. Without further ado, it’s time to give key players their letter grades based on what they did on the field.

Cubs infielders were a mixed bag this season, and a few really stood out

Willson Contreras: B+

Willson Contreras made his third All-Star team, reached 20+ home runs (22) for the fourth time in his career and posted a .815 OPS. Once again he was one of the best offensive catchers in baseball. While not the best defensive backstop, the value is in the bat and how he carries himself as a teammate. Contreras is the heart and soul of the team, and it would be hard to see him walk, but that seems likely.

Nico Hoerner: A

The fWAR leader of the Cubs (4.0), Hoerner sprayed the ball all over the ballpark and played great defense at shortstop, just two years after being a Gold Glove finalist at second. His DRS (defensive runs saved) at shortstop was 11. While not a power-hitting, high-walk guy, his ability to make contact and find grass makes him a promising future piece.

Patrick Wisdom: C+

Leading the team in home runs (25), Wisdom did exactly what we expected him to do on the heels of last summer’s breakout, which is hit the ball over the fence. The strikeouts and batting average numbers are never going to be good. Defensively he took a bit of a step back this year, but in the end, the home run power kept him on the team. Like 2021, he hit some absolute moonshots at Wrigley Field.

Nick Madrigal: D+

His debut season with the Cubs was riddled with injuries, limited him to just 209 at-bats. The first few months were pretty rough production-wise, but he did slash .300/.378/.338 in August which helped raise his grade a bit. If he is part of the team in 2023, the hope is he can stay healthy and be the guy he was on the South Side. It had to be frustrating for him to deal with all the injuries.

Christopher Morel: B-

A new fan favorite who brings positive energy and good vibes to the team, Christopher Morel was called up from Double-A early in the season and worked through ups and downs the rest of the year. Slugging 16 home runs, 19 doubles and four triples was a nice feat for the rookie. He still has some work to do at the plate, as he struck out 135 times in 375 at-bats, but he completely skipped Triple-A, so he gets more leeway. Hopefully he takes another step forward in 2023 in whatever role he serves.

Alfonso Rivas: C

An intriguing prospect who saw some ups and downs at the plate, he finished with a .235/.322/.307 slash. His numbers against lefties were brutal, but much better against righties. Rivas potentially provides a bench/platoon bat for certain matchups going forward, but he’s definitely not a go-to starter at this point.

Yan Gomes: B

He did what he was paid to do, be a solid veteran catcher behind the plate. He seemed to work well with the Cubs pitching staff which will be welcomed again next year, especially if Contreras departs.

Frank Schwindel: F

Respect for Frank Schwindel’s breakout in late 2021 but, unfortunately, it did not carry over in 2022. It was probably a bit unfair to expect him to do so, but the Cubs gave him a chance. Best of luck to Frank the Tank.

P.J. Higgins: C-

P.J. Higgins was hitting the ball very well for a period of time before falling off a bit. He was versatile on the field, playing around the infield and behind the plate. An OK job for a guy who is considered a AAAA player.

David Bote: B-

He put up respectable numbers at the plate, slashing .261/.317/.435 with four homers in 41 games. The defense was pretty rough at times though, something he was better at earlier in his career. Bote only played in 41 games because of the shoulder injury he sustained last year.

Andrelton Simmons: F

“That’s not Carlos Correa…”

Jonathan Villar: F

Seemed like a decent signing at the time, seeing as Villar has had a solid career. But, as we all know now, it did not work out in the slightest. The veteran slashed just .222/.271/.327 before Chicago cut ties with him. His defense was brutal, as well, which didn’t help matters.

Zach McKinstry: D+

It was nice to give him a deserved shot after acquiring him for Chris Martin, and he did have his moments, but his wRC+ as a Cub was 78. I will give him credit for playing some solid defense, but it’s hard to see him carve out regular playing time in 2023.

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