After a disappointing 2019 campaign, the 2020 season is almost here. Cubs fans don’t fully know what to expect, but they know Willson Contreras will be a Cub when the season starts March 26th in Milwaukee. For now, there are a lot of question marks around the pitching. No one really knows for sure who will be the Cubs 5th starter. The bullpen doesn’t seem fully set. Spring Training will give more clarity on the pitching. Here is my Cubs Season Preview: Pitchers and Catchers.
Front End Of The Rotation
Kyle Hendricks could be the leader of the rotation this season, he’s at the point that you know what you’ll get from him. Hopefully, this is the season he eclipses the 200-innings pitched mark. Onto Yu Darvish, Cubs fans don’t have much expectations for him. This is a make or break year for Darvish and Cubs fans. This should be the bounceback everyone’s hoping for. He’ll be in the top 3 of the pitching staff and has a good chance to get the nod opening day.
Back End of the Rotation
Jon Lester is entering his 15th season and isn’t getting any younger. The Cubs can’t expect him to carry as heavy of a load as in the past. But they can expect Lester to be a solid a 3rd or 4th pitcher in the rotation. Jose Quintana will be entering his 4th season with the Cubs and will likely be take the spot Lester doesn’t in the rotation. With lots left in the tank, Quintana will be a big part of the pitching staff. The 5th starter is still up in air. The conscious pick is Tyler Chatwood, but anything could happen this spring.
The bullpen has a lot of question marks this early. Although Cubs fans can expect Craig Kimbrel to be the teams closer. Kyle Ryan, Rowen Wick, Brad Wieck will also likely be in the bullpen. There is a good chance to see Adbert Alzolay come out of the bullpen or in the rotation at some point. There isn’t much competition to take Kimbrel’s closer role, but Brandon Morrow is someone to watch. Morrow signed a minor-league contract after missing the entire 2019 campaign. If Morrow can stay healthy and make the roster, he will be a big asset to the Cubs bullpen, either taking Kimbrel’s closer role or forcing him to be better in order to keep the closer role.
Trade rumours aside, Willson Contreras will a cub for the foreseeable future. He is a key piece to the Cubs core. After finding his footing again last season, expect to see Contreras to build off it. 2019 saw him hit a career-high 24 home runs, Cubs fans should be ready to see him put more around 30 home runs and if he can do that, he’ll have a good shot at beating his career-high 74 RBIs. His batting average should be around his usual .275. Victor Caratini will play the backup role this season, depending on if Contreras spends the whole season with the Cubs. Hope from Cubs fans is Caratini sees less time behind the plate, meaning Contreras stays healthy or doesn’t get traded.
With the season fast approaching, it is what you see is what you get with the pitchers and catchers. Cubs fans know who the first 4 pitchers will be and have a good idea who the 5th starter will be. Although the bullpen isn’t set in stone Kimbrel will likely be the closer. And Contreras will be starting behind the plate come opening day. It is at the point in the season fans stop looking back at what who was lost or missed. And start looking forwarded to the team taking the field this season.
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