The Chicago Cubs offense struggled as a whole during a shortened 2020 season due to Covid but heading into the 2021 season, this team has a lot to prove.
The offseason is almost over and this team has done little to nothing to improve. Traded away their Cy Young pitcher in Yu Darvish, along with Victor Caratini. While also losing Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, and Kyle Schwarber. Needing a backup catcher, they went out and signed Austin Romine. Romine slashed .238/.259/.323/.582 in 130 plate appearances with the Detriot Tigers last year.
As of recently, the Cubs ended up finding their Schwarber replacement, by signing former Dodgers outfielder, Joc Pederson to a 1-year, $7 million dollar contract. Pederson is a big lefty power bat like Schwarber was, but Pederson is just better as a defender. Adding to their rotation with recently signed, Trevor Williams. 28 years old, and holds a career 4.43 ERA in 534.2 innings pitched.
As we inch closer and closer to the start of Spring Training, the Chicago Cubs have a lot of questions that need answers. Like what is their starting rotation going to look like without Lester, Darvish, Chatwood, and Quintana? Will Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant bounce back in 2021? What will their bullpen look like? And what will their starting lineup look like? Well, I’ll be giving you my predictions for the 2021 season.
Will Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant bounce back in 2021?
The 2020 season was a strange one for Major League Baseball and a lot of players struggled during a 60-game season.
Anthony Rizzo slashed .222/.342/.414/.755 in 243 plate appearances and had 11 home runs, and 24 runs batted in. Javier Baez slashed .203/.238/.360/.599 in 235 plate appearances with 8 home runs, and 24 runs batted in. Kris Bryant had arguably the worst season of his career in 2020. Bryant slashed .206/.293/.351/.644 and had an OPS+ of 73, in 147 plate appearances.
If the Chicago Cubs play a full 162-game season in 2021, then Cubs fans should be excited to see what this Cubs offense can do. Fully expecting Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez to all have a huge year.
What will the starting rotation look like?
Well, the starting rotation will look a lot different heading into the 2021 season. The Cubs declined Lester’s option, Quintana left to go to the Angels, Chatwood signed with the Blue Jays, and Yu Darvish who finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting in 2020, got traded to the Padres.
Obviously, Kyle Hendricks will be the ace of the staff, then Zach Davies will be the number two, Alec Mills, Trevor Williams who they recently signed, and then if they sign another veteran 5th starter, but if not, then either Adbert Alzolay, Tyson Miller, or Brailyn Marquez will get a shot in Spring Training. If it ends up coming down to either Alzolay, Marquez, or Miller, think the Cubs will end up going with Alzolay.
What will their starting lineup look like?
- Ian Happ
- Kris Bryant
- Anthony Rizzo
- Javier Baez
- Joc Pederson
- Willson Contreras
- Jason Heyward
- Nico Hoerner/Kolten Wong (If the Cubs can find a way to sign him)
What will their bullpen look like with Jeremy Jefferies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Pedro Strop, and Cody Allen all free agents?
Now, the Cubs still have a decent amount of free agents, and most of them are bullpen arms.
- Craig Kimbrel (Closer)
- Rowan Wieck
- Brad Wieck
- Andrew Chafin (Gives them another lefty in the pen)
- Kyle Ryan
- Duane Underwood Jr.
- Jeremy Jeffress (would love it if they resigned him)
- Dan Winkler
If there are 162 games for the 2021 season then I’m predicting that the Chicago Cubs win 70+ games and will finish in 3rd place in the NL Central, with the Cardinals finishing in 2nd place, and the Reds winning the division.