Predicting the Chicago Cubs' opening day 26-man roster

Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson
Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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Marcus Stroman
Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Opening Day roster - 2. The starting rotation

1. Marcus Stroman
2. Justin Steele
3. Jameson Taillon
4. Hayden Wesneski
5. Drew Smyly

The top three are definite locks for the rotation. After that, you could flip out the bottom two in Wesneski and Smyly for a plethora of pitchers listed on the bullpen page. However, based on the pure filth we saw from Wesneski on the mound, I'm envisioning more of the same from him in Spring Training. Kyle Hendricks, most likely starting on the IL, further solidifies my belief here, and upon his return, it will be interesting to see the role he provides the Cubs moving forward.

Drew Smyly in the five spot seems likely, but it's certainly not guaranteed. If we were going into the 2022 season, penciling him into a spot would be plausible. This season, however, the Cubs are looking to compete and won't be as flexible if guys show a prolonged bout of underperformance. It will be beneficial, though not an absolute must if the Cubs can lock two lefties into the rotation. The Cubs boast the luxury of depth this year, so if injuries occur, it will be next man up. Thankfully, the next man up for the Cubs is full of players who have success at the major league level.