Everyone believed the Cubs would be 'in' on one of the four free agent shortstops last winter. When the dust settled, Carlos Correa wound up back in Minneapolis after deals with the Giants and Mets fell through, Xander Bogaerts headed west to San Diego, Trea Turner joined the Phillies and Chicago came away with former first-rounder and longtime Braves staple Dansby Swanson.
Nearly three-quarters of the way through the 2023 season, Swanson has handily outperformed his counterparts, evidenced by his 3.9 fWAR, which ranks third among all MLB shortstops, trailing only Wander Franco and Francisco Lindor. Meanwhile, Bogaerts checks in a 2.6 fWAR, Turner at 1.3 and Correa at a measly 0.7 mark.
His recent hot streak aligns perfectly with the Cubs going on a run that had them just one game out of a postseason spot entering action Sunday. Over the last 15 days, Swanson has a team-best 1.085 OPS, the 10th-highest mark in the Senior Circuit during that stretch. We've seen more power from the 29-year-old All-Star, which was a knock on him early in the season.
Cubs will go as far as Dansby Swanson carries them in 2023
Swanson knows that this weekend's matchup against Atlanta is a measuring stick for a Cubs team that's gotten hot after a sluggish up-and-down start to the season. And, in typical Swanson fashion, he was ready to go out and compete at a high level.
"He’s been so valuable and his mindset — you wouldn’t even know that he got a big contract when he walks in the door, he is just himself. I don’t know if you can say that about everybody that gets that much money. He doesn’t come in and try to prove stuff, he’s just wired the right way. He thinks about winning and it’s all about that.- David Ross on Dansby Swanson
In this new era on the North Side, the Cubs will go as Swanson goes. He's a tone-setter both on the field and in the clubhouse - not to mention the raw physical tools he possesses. The former Vanderbilt standout is capable of changing a game with his bat or glove, and has already assumed the unofficial captain role in the clubhouse.
Swanson came to Chicago to win - and with two months left in the regular season, he has a chance to lead the Cubs back to the postseason for the first time since 2020 in just the first year of his seven-year contract.