3 players who have to improve for the Chicago Cubs to have a shot in 2024

Reinforcements are on the way, but the Cubs will need improvements from several players if they're going to punch a postseason ticket this year.
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs / Griffin Quinn/GettyImages
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Hector Neris has to find a way to settle in and lead this Cubs bullpen

He's a perfect six-for-six in save opportunities since replacing Adbert Alzolay as Counsell's ninth-inning man, but he hasn't exactly inspired confidence in his work on the mound.

Hector Neris, signed this winter to a one-year deal on the heels of a strong multi-year run with the Phillies and Astros, has done little to calm fears over the warning signs he showed during his final season with Houston. At first glance, a 3.46 ERA and a 100% save conversion rate suggest all is well. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Yes, Neris carries a 3.46 ERA - but a 5.29 FIP paints a clearer picture as to how things are going for the veteran this season. He's somehow stranded 83.3% of baserunners so far, a number sure to regress, and a walk rate north of 20% will come around to bite him, sooner or later.

With Alzolay searching for answers and Neris making every appearance a nail-biter, the return of Justin Steele and Jordan Wicks can't come soon enough. At least then, Counsell will be able to lean on guys like Ben Brown in the bullpen to add some impact depth and keep the ship afloat.