I've been digging around on Fangraphs even more than usual lately - hardly a surprise if you've read my most recent pieces on Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman. But looking at the Cubs roster projections, I couldn't help but notice the amount of consistent power the site is projecting for the team.
Fangraphs' ZiPS model has seven Cubs players pegged for 20 or more home runs in 2024 - led by Christopher Morel, with 26. He's followed by Patrick Wisdom (23), Dansby Swanson (22), Michael Busch (22), Seiya Suzuki (22), Ian Happ (21) and a name I certainly didn't expect to see on the list in Matt Mervis (21).
I wouldn't be shocked if Mervis is out of the organization by Opening Day, so seeing him as someone who's expected to go yard 21 times was somewhat of a surprise. With Michael Busch, Patrick Wisdom and Christopher Morel in the fold - not to mention a possible Cody Bellinger reunion - there doesn't seem to be much of a path toward regular playing time for the slugging prospect.
Cubs could take aim at a franchise record in the power department
Last season, six Cubs hit 20 or more home runs and, the year prior, just two. ZiPS is high on Busch being an impactful bat in his first extended taste of big league action after being blocked in Los Angeles and everyone else on that list is more than capable of going yard 20 times over the course of 162 games.
Chicago still doesn't have that big power bat in the middle of the order - something Bellinger could provide - and Morel could certainly evolve into with another year under his belt. But seven guys hitting that mark would suggest a lineup that's very balanced. In franchise history, no Cubs team has ever had seven players hit 20+ homers, including that historic 2016 World Series championship club.
With a good number of notable free agent bats still available, there's still time for this roster to change. But looking at the projections, there may be more to this lineup than we'd like to believe after growing frustrated waiting for a big-name addition to the offense.