Friday, June 2, 2023

5 Predictions For The Second Half Of The Cubs’ Season


We’re more than halfway through the 2022 MLB season, and for the Cubbies, it’s essentially over. At 22 games below .500, it’s time for Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer, to focus on 2023 and beyond.

That said, all is not lost. The Cubs sent Willson Contreras and Ian Happ to the All-Star Game. Import Seiya Suzuki is healthy again after a finger injury slowed his hot start. Starters Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele are proving that they belong at the major league level. Centerfielder Chris Morel has burst onto the scene, providing clutch play and injecting energy into the clubhouse. Unfortunately, none of that has led to a winning record, and more tweaks are needed for the club. Here are five second-half predictions for the Cubbies:

Cubs Trade Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, & David Robertson

This one is tough to swallow. Willson Contreras just started the National League All-Star game and is having his best season as a pro, but we’ve been through this before. Unless Contreras is willing to take a team-friendly deal, he will be shipped out of town just like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javy Baez. Sadly, Contreras’ time as a Cub is likely coming to an end.

The Cubs’ other All-Star, Ian Happ, is having a phenomenal year. His 23 doubles rank 11th in all of baseball. Happ ranks in the top-35 in Major League Baseball in OPS, ahead of guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Kyle Schwarber (also an All-Star), Matt Olsen, Gleyber Torres, and George Springer. Happ is under team control through next season, so the Cubs will have to be blown away by an offer for the switch-hitting outfielder. But if a contender offers two top prospects, the Cubs will likely pounce. Cubs’ prospects Brennan Davis and Pete Crow-Armstrong aren’t far from the majors, and outfield stop-gaps come a dime a dozen.

One of the best signings by Cubs’ President Jed Hoyer this offseason has been veteran reliever, David Robertson. Sporting an ERA below 2.00 with 13 saves, Roberston is the perfect sign-and-flip candidate. Hoyer and the Cubs are just waiting for a desperate contender to offer the prospect they covet.

Six Cubs Rookie Starters By September

Make no mistake, several Cubs will be traded before the August 2nd deadline. The only question is who? Assuming that Contreras and Happ are traded, the Cubs will be expanding their 2023 auditions. Between Chris Morel, Seiya Suzuki (technically a rookie), and Nelson Velazquez – the Cubs already have three rookies starting on a semi-regular basis in the outfield. By September, the Cubs could be auditioning new faces at first, second, third base, and catcher. Rookie P.J. Higgins has been hot of late behind the plate. Add in likely September call-ups at 1st (Matt Mervis) and 2nd/3B (Chase Stumpf) – six rookies will be playing every day in September.

Keegan Thompson Wins 15 Games

Righty Keegan Thompson was the bright spot for the Cubs’ starters in the first half. After beginning the year in the bullpen, he now leads Cubs starters in wins (7) with a respectable 3.43 ERA. Thompson looks like a keeper in the starting rotation for years to come.

Wisdom Clubs 35 Home Runs

The Cubs’ slugging 3rd baseman, Patrick Wisdom, gets hot with the best of them. He leads the Cubs with 17 home runs but is looking to top last year’s mark of 28 long balls. Eclipsing the 30-homer mark would cement Wisdow as a legitimate power threat at the major league level.

Cubs Won’t Finish Last In The N.L. Central

The Cubs begin the 2nd half 14.5 games back in the National League Central, a half-game above the last-place Cincinnati Reds. Trades aside, the Cubs have more talent than the Reds or Pirates and won’t finish the season in the N.L. Central cellar.

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