This Cubs rookie is expected to be one of the most impactful in all of MLB

Newcomer Michael Busch could be the most productive first baseman the Cubs have fielded since trading longtime face of the franchise Anthony Rizzo to New York back in 2021.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are hoping that Michael Busch's track record of offensive production at every stop along the way of his minor league career continues in 2024, his first extended look at the big league level.

After trading highly-regarded pitching prospect Jackson Ferris and Zyhir Hope to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Busch and reliever Yency Almonte, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs expect big things from Busch. The 26-year-old former first-round pick will open the year as the team's starting first baseman after struggling to work his way into a crowded Dodgers infield picture in 2023.

In a piece over at The Athletic (subscription required) Keith Law listed his top 20 rookies expected to make an impact on their respective MLB clubs this season - and Busch checked in #3, trailing only the Giants' Kyle Harrison and Evan Carter of the Rangers. Law notes that given the fact he's already in the back half of his 20s, the pressure will be on Busch to perform in 2024.

Cubs betting big on Michael Busch producing at the big league level

If the Cubs are going to make a postseason run, they'll need him to produce or otherwise, they'll have to quickly pivot after getting subpar performance from the position, as a whole, with the failed Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini experiment quickly going off the rails.

Busch also adds another left-handed bat to the mix. In fact, the Cubs are in a position one would hardly have envisioned a year ago and could roll out a very left-handed heavy lineup should the situation ask for it. Busch could join Cody Bellinger, switch-hitter Ian Happ, Miles Mastrobuoni and Mike Tauchman as left-handed bats in the starting lineup against a righty with severe splits.

There will likely be a learning curve as Busch works through all that comes with your first extended taste of big-league life - and the competition that comes with it. But expectations are high and, as former Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said, when there's pressure, that means good things can happen.