Chicago Cubs: 3 wildly optimistic Opening Day predictions
By Jake Misener
3 wildly optimistic Cubs Opening Day predictions: #2 - Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson turn multiple double plays in their first game together
This isn't even being a homer. The Cubs have the best defensive middle infield duo in all of baseball in 2023. Chicago's prized offseason acquisition Dansby Swanson is under control for the next seven years, with Hoerner locked up via a recent extension through 2026.
Don't sleep on this tandem's offensive potential, either. Hoerner brings old-school bat-to-ball skills that have fallen by the wayside in today's game and Swanson is coming off the best offensive season of his career with the Braves. But I'm looking forward to the glovework display these two will put on every time they're on the field together.
In 2022, Hoerner and Swanson combined for 34 Outs Above Average - and Swanson ranked second in all of Major League Baseball, with 21 OAA on his own. Pairing the two up the middle gives the Cubs the opportunity to really improve run prevention moving forward.
Stroman is a huge groundball pitcher, so the opportunities won't be lacking on Opening Day. The cold, damp March Chicago air usually keeps the ball in the yard, so making key defensive plays and killing some rallies with a couple timely double plays could go a long way toward helping the Cubs notch a win to kick off the season.