Michael Busch continues to produce for the Cubs while learning on the job

Chicago's rookie infielder has been the team's most valuable position player heading into late June.
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Say what you will about a Chicago Cubs offense that's left much to be desired, but one player who's held his own - especially considering this is his first extended taste of big league action - is infielder Michael Busch, who collected two more hits in Tuesday's win over the Giants to raise his OPS to a team-leading .809.

Now, you can paint that however you'd like: in a positive light given Busch is learning the job on the fly while, now, playing multiple positions, or in a negative one, because if your team leader has an OPS just above .800, you've got some problems. Either way, given the production the Cubs had gotten (apart from the summer of Frank Schwindel in late 2021) since trading Anthony Rizzo, this is a big win in my book.

Michael Busch has been the Cubs' long-awaited first base answer

We are just a year removed from the ill-fated Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer experiment, which didn't even last the entire 2023 season, with both players being sent on their way by early August. Neither provided any value in terms of production and many wondered what Jed Hoyer's plan to address the position looked like.

Then, on the eve of Cubs Convention this January, the Cubs pulled off a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, bringing the top 100 prospect to the North Side in exchange for left-hander Jackson Ferris. To this point, the trade has worked out remarkably well for Chicago, with Busch showing the ability to ride the ups and downs of a 162-game season without getting too high or too low at the plate.

There's too much swing-and-miss in his game, to be sure, but most of his metrics love his body of work. He barrels the ball up a ton, walks at a near-elite rate and stays in the zone well for a rookie. Busch also brings that previously-mentioned defensive versatility, which has come in handy recently as the Cubs battled through injuries on the infield.

He's not yet a transformative offensive presence, but the Cubs clearly hit on this move. Busch has been a solidly above-average piece and, if the club's key pieces can get things going offensively around him, it could help him tap into another level as we head deeper into the summer months.