Chicago Cubs shouldn't be nearly as worried about hyped rival players as experts say

Jackson Chourio, Elly De La Cruz and O'Neil Cruz could be great, but they're not taking this division title from the Chicago Cubs in 2024.

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The Chicago Cubs are now the favorites to win the NL Central but according to a lot of baseball writers who are optimistic about breakouts and busts in the 2024 season, the rest of the teams in the division have players with a significantly higher ceiling than the Cubs could possibly contend with. 

We’ve already discussed uber-prospect Jackson Chourio making the Opening Day roster and the history associated with that, but it’s important to note that the hype surrounding him won’t necessarily lead to on-field results, especially in his rookie season.

Davy Andrews of Fangraphs recently posted an article saying that it’s time to get excited about Oneil Cruz and Elly De La Cruz, which is an extremely un-exciting thing to hear as a fan of the Chicago Cubs, but it’s worth looking at why they’re expected to improve.

While I don’t disagree that the two players have every opportunity to be exceptional, I don’t think that they can be expected to carry two middle-of-the-pack teams to a division title in 2024. 

Yes, they are both legitimate 30/30 and maybe even 40/40 threats.

However, even in the article that was written to hype these young players to fans of the team Andrews couldn’t avoid the fact that both find themselves in the bottom half of the league in terms of walk rate (46th percentile for both), they both chase far too often (39th percentile for Cruz and 24th percentile for De La Cruz) and are early-career-Javier-Baez bad in terms of strikeout rate (Cruz 1st percentile and De La Cruz 3rd percentile).

I am not a person that is afraid of competition.

I love when the NL Central is a fight until the end of the season, and I’m even more interested in that fight when we don’t have to talk about the St. Louis Cardinals. That being said, a rookie Jackson Chourio and two players that strikeout more than 97% of the league don’t scare me, even if we’re just going to be the same old Cubs in 2024.

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