State of the Cubs: How first base is shaping up ahead of crucial offseason for team | Marquee Sports Network

The 2022 season is over and the Cubs are going through one of the maximum necessary offseasons in contemporary reminiscence. Before the range begins heating up, we read about the place the Cubs intensity chart stands at every place and the place the holes could be for Jed Hoyer’s entrance place of business to fill.

Next up: First Base

DEPTH CHART

  1. Alfonso Rivas
  2. Patrick Wisdom
  3. P.J. Higgins
  4. Matt Mervis

ANALYSIS

At the get started of 2022, first base gave the impression to be locked down via one of the feel-good tales of the 2nd part of 2021: Frank Schwindel. By the finish of 2022, Schwindel was once not in the group and the place appears to be in query simply up to it was once when the team traded Anthony Rizzo at the 2021 business time limit.

Schwindel suffered a again damage, ignored time in Spring Training because of it and not was once in a position to get it going. He was once in the end optioned to the minors and via the 2nd part of the season, he was once designated for project. The Cubs grew to become to the rookie Rivas in his stead and he performed the majority of the video games for the Cubs at the place, making 92 appearances all through the yr. Higgins and Wisdom made appearances at first platooning with Rivas.

“I think there’s a big hole for me at first base and the production we’re getting out of that,” David Ross stated in Pittsburgh close to the finish of the season.

And Ross was once proper about the manufacturing out of the place. First basemen for the Cubs slashed .223/.288/.339. The .627 OPS out of the place was once 27th in baseball and their 0.1 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference, was once 23rd in baseball.

It’s easy, the Cubs want higher manufacturing out of the place and know they want it, however the place does that come from?

Theoretically, it might come from the choices they’d ultimate season — Rivas was once shuffled between the majors and Triple-A, was once platooned and may by no means actually get right into a groove offensively. Rivas’ left-handed bat is one thing the Cubs don’t have in abundance, however he must upload extra energy and spice up his offense general.

“I came to understand things I could improve on this offseason,” Rivas stated. “Hit the ball harder. Learn my body better, focus on the offensive side and keep improving as a hitter. [The team and I are] talking about how to make a good plan to work on that this offseason.”

Wisdom’s talent to play first and his prowess towards lefties (.250/.336/.557, 10 house runs) creates a cast platoon alternative with a lefty hitter that may hit righties and it offers the Cubs some positional flexibility, too.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The long run of the place for the Cubs is probably not too a ways away at Triple-A in Mervis. Mervis had one of the very best minor league seasons in contemporary historical past, incomes the honor of Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year. Mervis hit .309 with 36 house runs and a .984 OPS throughout 3 minor league ranges. His performances in the minor leagues has proven the talent to fill some of the holes the Cubs lately have at the main league stage.

“Yeah, I mean I think he’s definitely put himself on the radar,” Ross stated in Pittsburgh close to the finish of the season. “There’s no doubt he’ll have a great opportunity in front of him moving forward unless something transpires in the offseason that would negate that.” 

For the time being, even though, there’s no rush to claim Mervis the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Mervis isn’t on the 40-man roster and given the Cubs’ crunch ahead of the Rule-5 draft this iciness, there’s no wish to upload him to it this offseason. He will have to, even though, have a chance to compete for the place in Spring Training and from there, the rest is conceivable.

“I want to be a Major League Baseball player,” Mervis stated in Chicago all the way through the ultimate homestand when he was once at Wrigley Field for a prospect developmental camp. “That’s been my goal since I was 4 years old. I’m going to keep doing what I can do to get there and let the front office make their decisions.”

The Cubs may elect to fortify the place thru loose company or by means of business. There are a number of larger names that can develop into loose brokers this iciness — José Abreu and Josh Bell are only a few of the avid gamers that may be to be had this iciness. Abreu posted a 4.2 WAR ultimate season to head with an .824 OPS and has quite equivalent splits towards lefties and righties.

Bell, a switch-hitter, posted a three.0 WAR, .784 OPS and hit 17 house runs with the Nationals and Padres in 2022. He did fight after being dealt to the Padres, slashing simply .192/.316/.271 in San Diego in comparison to .301/.384/.493 in Washington. 

BOTTOM LINE

First base is a place the Cubs should fortify — that’s a given. Whether that comes from enhancements from the present roster, from the minor leagues or thru loose company or the business marketplace, they want extra manufacturing from a place that is in reality a scorching spot for offense. If the Cubs hope to compete in 2023, offensive positive factors from the first base aspect are wanted.

State of the Cubs sequence
Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
Starting Rotation
Bullpen

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