Season Preview of the Chicago Cubs
Written by Kyle Thibideau
Kyle Hendricks RHP CHC / Jayne Kamin-Oncea USA Today Sports
Last season, the Chicago Cubs basically cleaned the house, trading Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Tepara, in an effort to start a much needed rebuild. Only 6 years removed from the memorable 2016 World Series win comeback against the Cleveland Indians, now the Cleveland Guardians, the management felt like it was time to regroup the pieces again. It's not like this team didn't have a run for the ages though, from 2015-2020, going to the playoffs 5 of those last 6 years, including a World Series to show for it, that ended a 100+ year drought of winning a World Series. No matter how it ended, any Cubs fan would tell you that they wouldn't trade that World Series for anything, it's one for the ages. Let's take a look at the Cubs future and their 2022 season preview.
The Chicago Cubs finished the season 71-91 (.438) and in 4th place in the NL Central. That's probably where they will be for a couple years, until some of their young prospects are ready. The last trade deadline they acquired Kevin Alcantara, Alexander Vizcaino, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Alexander Canario, Caleb Killian, Nick Madrigal, Codi Huer, Anderson Espinoza, Greg Deichmann, Daniel Palencia, and Bryce Ball. They got those players and prospects in return for Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Andrew Chafin, Joc Pederson, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Tepara in different deals from numerous teams. Their best acquisitions were acquiring Nick Madrigal from the rival, White Sox in the Kimbrel deal, and adding highly touted prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong from the Mets in the Baez deal. This was a step in the right direction for Manager David Ross and the Chicago Cubs organization, as I will explain in this article.
Future wise, they have a good farm system after those trade deadline moves. Their top prospect is outfielder, Brennan Davis, currently ranked as the 14th best prospect in the MLB coming into 2022, ahead of guys like Jasson Dominguez, Joey Bart, and Nolan Gorman. The 22-year-old selected 62nd in the 2018 Draft should absolutely be given a shot to make the opening day roster and you will see him this season. Outside of Davis, you got Brailyn Marquez (86th ranked prospect), Peter Crow-Armstrong (former 1st round pick in 2020), Jordan Wicks (Selected 21st overall in the 2021 Draft), and Ed Howard (Drafted 16th overall in the 2020 Draft). Jordan Wicks was one of my favorite prospects coming out of college and was the guy I wanted my White Sox to pick, just to get sniped by the Cubs. He has one of the best changeups I've seen in quite some time, followed by the ability to command strikes and work both sides of the plate, keeping batters guessing and uncomfortable at the batter's box. Furthermore, all of those prospects mentioned should be on their chase for the pennant in 5 years or so, depending how quickly this rebuild develops. The future is bright in Chicago for the Cubbies, just be patient with it.
Jordan Wicks LHP CHC / Kansas State Athletics Media Relations
This season, the Cubs have some optimism, adding Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley in their pitching rotation, to help out ace Kyle Hendricks. Their starting 5 pitching rotation looks like it's most likely to be Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley, Adbert Alzolay, and either Justin Steele, Alec Mills, or Brailyn Marquez as the 5th man. I wouldn't be surprised to see Peter Crow-Armstrong in the bullpen or in the rotation some point in this season, either especially if the 5th man in the rotation struggles and if it's a lost season for the Cubs. Their lineup, on the other hand, is highlighted by newcomer Nick Madrigal, Wilson Contreras, Patrick Wisdom, David Bote, and Nico Hoerner. That's a solid 5 batters, but they will need depth and outfield help for this team to exceed expectations, even though those are pretty low. My prediction for the Cubs for the 2022 MLB season is they go 75-87, 4th in the NL Central again and having a relatively good season, given their circumstances.