Which Cubs can compete for what awards? It’s a question a lot of fans wonder before the season starts. As fans wait and hope for the 2020 season, the question lingers. Can Cubs players bring hardware to Chicago? Will they?
Gold Glove Award
In 2019, two Chicago Cubs took home Gold Glove Awards. Anthony Rizzo was the first base recipient and Jason Heyward took home one of the outfield awards. In 2020, Rizzo and Heyward give legitimate shots at winning Gold Gloves back to back. A player who can join Heyward and Rizzo would be center fielder Albert Almora. He has a great glove and if he gets his shot as an everyday starter, Cubs fans shouldn’t be shocked if his name comes up as a finalist. Another player that has a slight shot is shortstop Javier Baez. Baez has a stellar glove but is known to be wild and a little bit too flashy at times. If he can calm down and lock in, he has a chance to get his name in the Gold Glove hat.
Silver Slugger Award
Last season saw no Cubs take home a Silver Slugger. The last time a Cubs player won a Silver Slugger was 2018 when Javier Baez took the second baseman’s award. In 2020, there are a couple of Cubs that can compete for the award, but it will be tough competition. Baez could be one of those players competing from the shortstop spot. The only blemish to his chances would be his batting average, coming off a 2019 season where he batted .281. His batting average would need to be boosted to the .300 mark. The other player that has a chance is catcher Willson Contreras. He’s got power potential, which can very possibly lead to a high number of runs batted in. If Contreras can also boost his batting average from .272 to at least .280, his name may show up as a finalist.
Comeback Player of the Year
The last Cubs player to win the Comeback Player of the Year was outfielder Jim Hickman, way back in 1970. One option and a longshot to win this is third baseman, Kris Bryant. After two rough seasons, he would have to have a major boost in production. However, there is a slight chance Bryant can be considered for Comeback Player of the Year. The obvious choice from Chicago for this award is pitcher Yu Darvish. He has had a rough career since his departure from Texas. However, Darvish was a phenomenal pitcher at one point and could bounce back enough to take home Comeback Player of the year in 2020.
Hank Aaron Award
There have been 3 Cubs players to win the Hank Aaron Award: Sammy Sosa, Aramis Ramirez, and Kris Bryant. In 2020, a fourth Cubs player could be added to the list. Javier Baez seems to be the likely option. Baez has a sweet swing and power potential. Last season, he hit a .281 batting average with 85 runs batted in and 29 home runs. Although those numbers aren’t staggering, he did finish second in MVP voting two seasons ago.
Rookie of the Year
Many people around the league believe Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop prospect Gavin Lux is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. However, the Cubs also have a middle infielder in the race. Second baseman Nico Hoerner showed well during his short stint in the majors last season. He hit a .282 average with 17 runs batted in. Hoerner had 78 at-bats in 20 games, he did not exceed the 130 at-bats, therefor he will still be classified as a rookie in 2020.
Cy Young Award
In 2015, after a two-decade wait, Jake Arrieta brought the Cy Young award back to the Cubs. Fast-forward to 2020 and the rotation doesn’t seem strong enough to compete. Although if Yu Darvish can pick back up and play to the worth of his contract there is a chance he could compete. It’s a long shot and Darvish isn’t getting any younger. However, if he can replicate his numbers from his second season in the majors, he will make a strong argument for the National League Cy Young.
National League Most Valuable Player
The Chicago Cubs have had nine past MVPs. Could 2020 be the year another Cubs player is crowned? Only two seasons removed from being second in the MVP voting, Javier Baez should be a player to watch during the 2020 campaign. Baez is strong on both sides of the ball. And regarded as the lifeblood of the Cubs offense. However, for Baez to win MVP a few things need to happen. His average needs to spike up above his career-high .290, his strikeouts should be lower than last seasons 156, and, most importantly, he has to outdo Brewers slugger Christian Yelich.
As a Cubs season seems far off, there’s still hope. However, when the season does finally start, Cubs fans and baseball fans alike should be excited. The hope for Cubs players to compete should be on all fan’s minds. If the players can compete for awards, the team should have a legitimate shot at the World Series.
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