Ranking 4 surprisingly valuable Cubs from the first half

Several unexpected players have had strong first halves for Chicago

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees
Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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4 surprisingly valuable Cubs at the All-Star Break: #3 - Cody Bellinger

Signed to a one-year, $17.5 million 'prove it' deal last winter, Cody Bellinger (when he's been healthy) has looked more like the guy who won NL Rookie of the Year and MVP early in his career, rather than the listless offensive presence from the last couple seasons.

He's brought his Gold Glove-level defense to center field, shoring up a glaring weakness on the roster on a daily basis, and his bat has been scorching hot since returning from a knee injury: in 21 games, he's slashed .351/.390/.487 and is up to a 128 OPS+ on the year, which would be his best since his 2019 MVP campaign.

His resurgence has made him a popular topic of trade chatter here in July and the Cubs' play in the next two weeks will determine whether he closes out the season on the North Side. But he's been Chicago's third-most valuable position player, behind only Swanson and Hoerner. If he can tap back into his power stroke, he could prove to be the missing piece of the team's offensive puzzle coming out of the break.