The Chicago Cubs will watch the postseason from home for the third straight year, despite a win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night. It's a disheartening end to a season that held so much promise mere weeks ago - for a number of reasons.
By no means was this year a failure for the Cubs. I know that some people aren't going to agree with that statement, but it's true. The expectations for this team in the beginning of the year were to be competitive, and they were. They fought their way into contention, bought at the deadline and played meaningful games right down until the final day of the season. There's certainly work to do this offseason, but there is a lot to look back on and that gives me confidence for next year.
Here are the most mind-blowing accomplishments from the Cubs' 2023 season.
1. Seiya Suzuki's breakout
When the Cubs signed Seiya Suzuki prior to the 2022 season, the expectation was that he would be a cornerstone of the team's offense and give them a solid boost in the power department. His first year in the big leagues saw Suzuki go on hot streaks, but he never got things going on a consistent basis and spent a good portion of the year in the injured list.
Things seemed more or less the same for the first half of this season where he was basically a league average hitter with a wRC+ of 104. However, Suzuki completely turned things around in the last two months, and his second half numbers are more akin to the guy the Cubs thought they were getting when he first signed his contract.
The Cubs' right fielder has a .313 batting average, 13 home runs, 46 RBI and 18 doubles in the second half. These numbers are similar to Cody Bellinger's second half statistics. If the team can re-sign Bellinger and Suzuki can continue his dominance at the plate, they would be a formidable combination in the lineup.