5 surprises that helped propel the Cubs to the brink of the postseason

Let's look back at the 2023 season and recount the surprising events that got us on the cusp of a playoff run
Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs
Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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5 Cubs surprises - #4: Matt Mervis struggled hard

OK, this one wasn't a total shock, because prospects come up to the majors and struggle all the time. I guess I was just hoping for a little more pop out of Matt Mervis' bat after the historic 2022 season he posted, where he smacked 36 homers and drove in 119 at Triple-A. As a lefty power-hitting first baseman, everything was in place for Mervis to stake his claim in the majors. But things didn't turn out like that.

After getting the call up in May, Mervis found his way back to Triple-A Iowa after just a month and a half. While the 25-year-old looked more than capable of playing defense, major league pitching just seemed to chew him up at the plate. When he was able to connect, Mervis crushed the ball but his hits were just too few and far between.

The good news is that Mervis has seemingly made adjustments and he did continue to rake at Iowa. He finished the year with 22 home runs, 23 doubles and a .932 OPS. I think Mervis will get another chance to prove himself with the Cubs and hopefully his adjustments transfer to the MLB level because his power is off the charts and the team could use more home runs in the lineup.