With the 2023 season in the rearview, it will be vital for the Chicago Cubs front office to build on what they started last winter. They have the key pieces in place in Dansby Swanson, Seiya Suzuki, Nico Hoerner, and Ian Happ. With Justin Steele in the rotation, along with several good pitching pieces behind him and a plethora of prospects along the way, the Cubs are set up to build on 2023 and expect 2024 to be the year they make it back to the Postseason.
Furthermore, they can identify who exceeded expectations this season and who is a surefire bet to make the roster next season. Let's go ahead and briefly dive into three Chicago Cubs who exceeded expectations in 2023.
3 Cubs who performed better than expected - 3. Cody Bellinger
Of course, the Cubs' best offensive player would be on the list. After Jed Hoyer took a chance on a bounce-back season from Cody Bellinger, he performed incredibly for the Cubs this season, slashing .307/.356/.52 with 26 HRs and 97 RBIs. Given that he missed a month, Bellinger was well on pace for a 30/100 campaign and likely would have accomplished the feat if he played in closer to a full 162 contests. Defensively, Bellinger recorded 5 Outs Above Average and 4 Runs Prevented as a center fielder and tallied another OOA as a first baseman.
The biggest question is what it will take to land Bellinger in a Cubs uniform long-term this winter. If the team wants to refrain from regressing offensively, starting the winter by getting Bellinger locked up is a great place to start. The front office will also look to scour the trade market, and locking Bellinger up will prove difficult, and other teams figure to be in hot pursuit as well. With Scott Boras as his agent, don't be surprised if it turns into a long, drawn-out process.