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 Infield

2023 Performances: 12.5 WAR

Dansby Swanson 4.9 WAR

Nico Hoerner 4.7 WAR

Christopher Morel 1.4 WAR

Yan Gomes 1.0 WAR

Nick Madrigal 0.9 WAR

Patrick Wisdom 0.7 WAR

Miguel Amaya 0.6 WAR

Jeimer Candelario 0.2 WAR

Miles Mastrobuoni 0.2 WAR

Tucker Barnhart 0.2 WAR

Jared Young -0.2 WAR

Edwin Rios -0.3 WAR

Eric Hosmer -0.4 WAR

Matt Mervis -0.6 WAR

Trey Mancini -0.8 WAR

2024 Projections: 12.1 WAR

Nico Hoerner 3.3 WAR

Dansby Swanson 2.9 WAR

Christopher Morel 1.3 WAR

Nick Madrigal 1.1 WAR

Miguel Amaya 1.0 WAR

Yan Gomes 0.9 WAR

Michael Busch 0.8 WAR

Patrick Wisdom 0.4 WAR

Miles Mastrobuoni 0.2 WAR

Matt Mervis 0.1 WAR

Matt Shaw 0.1 WAR

Despite getting the massive anchors of Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer, and Edwin Rios’s combined -1.5 WAR off of the roster the Cubs are projected to have a lower infield WAR than the 2023 team thanks to regressions from Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner, Christopher Morel, Patrick Wisdom, and Yan Gomes. The projections expect Nick Madrigal and Miguel Amaya to improve a little bit and they expect Matt Mervis to be at least league average which would be considerably better than he was last year.

Much like with the rotation, the projections are basically saying that they believe that the Cubs dramatically overperformed their base-level skills for a majority of their infield players. Hoerner and Swanson’s combined 6.2 WAR is an extremely palatable number, but considering the contract that Swanson is on you have to hope for something a little better than that. 

The big elephant in the room in this situation is that we didn’t even touch on Cody Bellinger’s 4.1 WAR from last season. We’re going to consider him an outfielder for this exercise since that’s where a majority of his time was spent last season, but if he were on this 2024 team he’d likely slot in at first base to allow for Michael Busch to either play third base or DH and keep Pete Crow-Armstrong’s glove in center field.