The 2020 Cubs outfield will be very similar to the outfield at the start of the 2019 season. With depth player, Nicholas Castellanos signing with the Reds, the Cubs had to look elsewhere to fill the hole left by his departure. However, Chicago made a low-risk potentially high-reward signing when they inked Steven Souza Jr. to a 1 year $1 million deal this summer. Let’s look ahead at what the Cubs have at each outfield position.
This upcoming season, left field will mainly be occupied by the heavy-hitting Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber isn’t the strongest fielder on the roster, but he makes up for it with his bat most of the time. Last season he batted .250 while hitting a career-high 38 home runs and 92 runs batted in. Although there have been rumors every year surrounding Schwarber going to an American League team, those should be put to rest due to the rumors of the National League adding the DH at some point in the future. Left field backups will likely be new addition Steven Souza Jr. and starting third baseman Kris Bryant. Fans may also see Ian Happ play a few games on that side.
The Centerfield position is up in the air to start the season. Certainly, with a strong Cubs outfield, there are a couple of options to man the middle of the outfield. The first option is Ian Happ. Although he spent most of last season in the minors, he has a legitimate chance to be the starting centerfielder. Happ has a career average of .246 and doesn’t make a whole lot of errors in the outfield.
The other option to start at center field is Albert Almora. After the incident in Houston, last season fans could see he wasn’t comfortable at the plate. But Almora is the stronger fielder between him and Happ. Almora hit .237 in 339 plate appearances, but fielding is his strong point. Either Happ or Almora are good options to man the middle of the outfield in 2020.
The right side has been held down by Jason Heyward for the past few seasons, and that likely won’t change in 2020. Although Heyward’s contract is a disaster, he brings some key abilities to the Cubs. It’s no secret the five-time gold glove winner is great on the defensive side of the game. He also brings leadership to a young clubhouse. But his offensive game has dipped since joining the Cubs. Through four seasons and 1915 at-bats, Heyward has batted a .252 average with 47 home runs and 227 runs batted in. A few other players for rightfield include Steven Souza Jr. Ian Happ, and Kris Bryant.
Entering the 2020 season the Cubs outfield seems to be in a good state. With Schwarber and his power bat holding down the left side and Heyward and his gold glove on the right side, the corners are strong. The Cubs have the option to run either Almora or Happ up the middle in center; this Cubs team has potential to be a fun to watch.
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