2018 Chicago Cubs Depth Chart
The Cubs entered the season still riding the high of a World Series Championship that was two years removed. Recovering from a championship hangover was neared but was failed to be cleared in 2017. The team fell just short of representation for the National League in the finals, leaving a sour taste amongst the organization. The transition to the off-season is now a welcomed period in Chicago as the money limitations are long gone. This allowed the team to sign the top free agent pitcher, Yu Darvish. This signing would be mirrored by a pause for health concerns, rendering the effectiveness to the signing. While Darvish continues to undergo a massive rehab assignment, the team builds around the areas where they excel most.
|Catcher||Wilson Contreras||Victor Caratini||Taylor Davis|
|1st Base||Anthony Rizzo|
|2nd Base||Javier Baez||Daniel Murphy||Ben Zobrist|
|3rd Base||Kris Bryant||Tommy La Stella||David Bote|
|Left Field||Kyle Schwarber|
|Center Field||Albert Almora||Ian Happ||Terrance Gore|
|Right Field||Jason Heyward|
Taking from the rotation was the first step for the team in 2018. The team lost out on Jake Arrieta thanks to contractual issues, leaving a career record of 68-31 open for other teams to claim. Most of Arrieta’s strong impressions came in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He favored a major league low 1.77 ERA in 2015, adding 22 wins to the team’s best recorded season. To replace Arrieta, the team added Jose Quintana from the cross-town rivals, Chicago White Sox. Quintana immediately adapted to a middle rotation position, a downgrade from his time with the White Sox. He has struggled with run affordance, coming in at a 4.14 ERA, the highest amongst starters. Boasting a veteran presence was the goal with the way the team designed their starting rotation. Jon Lester has the lowest ERA amongst starters at 3.53 and he is the oldest player in the rotation. Kyle Hendricks and Mark Montgomery round-out the beginning-of-the-season rotation and each own a sub-4 ERA. At the trade deadline, the team was able to add a pleasant boost with the acquiring of Cole Hamels. Hamels operates in a system that mimics that of Jon Lester’s body of work. He is a constant 6 to 7-inning starter that strikes out at a rate of 1.25 per inning pitched. The main intrigue of the pitching staff might be the bullpen. This grouping is firmly seated within their roles, leaving accomplishable goals for easy travel each time one is featured. An interesting note is the filler for the closer position. Steve Cishek has adopted the role, when predictions pointed to Pedro Strop. Strop still comes on late, but he seems to have found a niche in the late-inning role.
The infield has been blessed with the consistent production found in one, Javier Baez. Baez has transformed his game from chasing bad pitches to ball-watching. He has increased his plate presence and continues to be one of the top producers from the team at all levels. Batting just under .300 is a stance that creates much promise for the young short stop. At best, Javier is a .250 lifetime hitter, which really boasts for his production in 2018. Anthony Rizzo comes in at .284 and is third on the team in home runs with 24. Having Rizzo behind the likes of Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez in terms of home runs creates for an impressive offensive spread. Daniel Murphy was acquired in the Nationals fire sale and has since risen his average above .300 for the first time in 2018. This infield continues to click and they have formidable replacements in Addison Russell, David Bote, and Tommy La Stella should someone require relief.
The outfield is a crowded area. Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Ian Happ, Ben Zobrist, and Jason Heyward all reside in this second fielding tier. Amongst the team’s leaders in terms of RBIs, all five of these talents can be found within the top-10. While production might not be MVP-worthy, the production is consistent. Schwarber and Happ have struggled with hitting, something that comes as no surprise for Happ. The other players trend at .275 or high in terms of batting average, which continues to right the stride for the team in 2018.
The starting lineup leaves little holes for improvement. At any given combination, the team batting average comes near .275, which is a strong showing of hits for any organization. The team’s on-base percentages are near the top of the league, which is important for the team that found to be the top of the league in terms of strikeouts last season. It is no more feast of famine for this offense and the defense continues to produce gold glove talents.