Chicago Cubs: Ranking each position's defensive strength
Key players: Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner
As long as he is healthy, Swanson is the guy at short. His 9 DRS and career-best 21OAA (Outst Above Average) helped him win a Gold Glove last year. His 2022 OAA was second-best in all of baseball last year. Swanson boasts a career 16 DRS and will be paired very well in the middle of the infield with Hoerner.
2.) Left field
Key players: Ian Happ, Trey Mancini
Happ won his first Gold Glove in 2022. His 13 DRS in left was second-best among qualifying left fielders in baseball, and his total 14 DRS in the outfield was sixth-best among all outfielders in baseball. He also posted an impressive 7.9 UZR/150 in left and was in the 78th percentile in Outfield Jump last year. If last year was a reflection of what Happ will be as an outfielder going forward, then the Cubs have themselves one dang good glove on their hands. Mancini has played in left before, though he probably will not get much time out there as long as Happ is healthy and playing most days. Wisdom and Nelson Velázquez can play out there as well.
1. Second base
Key players: Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Zach McKinstry
Hoerner's defense has been a marvel to watch over the past few years. He had spent last year at short, but now he moves back to second where he had previously played before. As a second baseman in the Majors, he sports a career of 10 DRS, 7.1 UZR/150, and 14 OAA. His play in the middle infield has been spectacular, and if he is healthy then there should not be defensive concerns at second. Dare we say he could be a legit Gold Glove candidate. Madrigal, if he is still part of the team come Opening Day, would be the second option. The organization still has David Bote but he was outrighted to Triple-A in November and is not on the current 40-man roster.