Lately, all things Chicago Cubs-related have centered around whether they can land Cody Bellinger this winter. Granted, in doing so, this team is poised for a step forward. Beyond that, several players on this roster can add a jolt of success if that player is closer to the level of upside they have. There's nothing better than a player on a team breaking out when you weren't expecting him to. Here are three players that could be the difference between success or failure for the Cubs in 2024.
3 Cubs who could make a difference - 3. Jameson Taillon
2023 was the tale of two halves for Jameson Taillon's first year with the Cubs. In the first half of '23, Taillon drastically underperformed with a 6.70 ERA. He allowed a .275/.331/.479 slash line and a .346 wOBA to opposing hitters. The only thing you could do to defend him at the time was to point out that he was due to some positive regression based on his 4.90 FIP. Once the calendar flipped to July, that hope became a reality.
In the second half, Taillon turned into the pitcher the Cubs signed him to be last winter. He recorded a 3.70 ERA the rest of the way and showed flashes that he can be more than just a #4 or #5 in the rotation. Truth be told, the Cubs have Justin Steele, followed by a lot of hope in guys like Shota Imanaga and the rest of the starting rotation. Taillon is a guy who, if he pitches like his first-half self, will be a significant obstacle for the Cubs to overcome. However, if he can pick up where he left off at the end of 2023, he can be a big reason why the Cubs compete this coming season.