Chicago Cubs 2024 Projections expect a major regression without Cody Bellinger

An in-depth analysis of the 2024 Chicago Cubs' projected performance compared to their overachieving 2023 season. Find out if they can maintain their success.

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The Bullpen

2023 Performances: 3.0 WAR

Adbert Alzolay 1.5 WAR

Julian Merryweather 0.9 WAR

Mark Leiter Jr. 0.6 WAR

Michael Fulmer 0.4 WAR

Daniel Palencia 0.3 WAR

Luke Little 0.1 WAR

Keegan Thompson 0.1 WAR

Brandon Hughes 0.0 WAR

Michael Rucker -0.1 WAR

Anthony Kay -0.1 WAR

Jose Cuas -0.1 WAR

Brad Boxberger -0.2 WAR

Jeremiah Estrada -0.4 WAR

2024 Projections: 3.4 WAR

Adbert Alzolay 0.7 WAR

Julian Merryweather 0.5 WAR

Hector Neris 0.4 WAR

Mark Leiter Jr. 0.4 WAR

Ben Brown 0.4 WAR

Yency Almonte 0.3 WAR

Daniel Palencia 0.3 WAR

Luke Little 0.3 WAR

Jose Cuas 0.1 WAR

Michael Rucker 0.1 WAR

Keegan Thompson 0.0 WAR

Cam Sanders 0.0 WAR

Ethan Roberts 0.0 WAR

Bailey Horn -0.1 WAR

There is a certain level of this that is misleading, but bullpens are such a crap shoot, to begin with, that it’s tough to really get too in the weeds about it. The 2024 team is projected to be a better bullpen than the 2023 team which should be music to a Cubs fan's ears but there’s a certain level of mystery that surrounds the situation because the 2023 team had five guys combine for a -0.9 WAR and the 2024 team is projected to have only one guy go negative.

If that’s the case then the Cubs will be over the moon and won’t be concerned about the regression they’ll see from Adbert Alzolay, Julian Merryweather, and Mark Leiter Jr. or the lack of progression they see in Daniel Palencia.

The truth is probably a little more difficult than the projections laid out. If I told you that Alzolay, Merryweather, and Leiter Jr. would all regress after being the only trustworthy pieces in a bad bullpen you’d be rightfully concerned heading into the 2024 season. The Cubs have added interesting pieces with Neris, and Almonte and it will be nice to see guys like Little, Cuas, and even Ben Brown get some use out of a bullpen run by someone like Counsell with an aptitude for getting the most out of it but this is definitely an area to address near the trade deadline.