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The CHGO Cubs staff makes its predictions for Craig Counsell's team and the 2024 MLB season

Ryan Herrera Avatar
March 27, 2024

The 2024 MLB season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for predictions for Craig Counsell’s first campaign with the Chicago Cubs.

Here’s how our CHGO Cubs staff thinks the season will shake out …

The Cubs’ final record will be …

  • Cody Delmendo — 89-73
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — 90-72
  • Ryan Herrera — 87-75
  • Brendan Miller — 90-72
  • Corey Freedman — 86-76
  • Kevin Wells — 88-74

The Cubs will finish ahead of …

  • Cody Delmendo — Delmetrics algorithm says everyone. I trust Delmetrics.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Ahead of last year’s 83 wins. The question is how much progress? I’m confident they will win more games than the White Sox. 90 might be drinking blue kool-aid but the division is mid.
  • Ryan Herrera — The rest of the NL Central. It could be a tight race, and I don’t think the fifth-place finisher will end up all that far behind the division winner, but I think the Cubs take the crown in the end.
  • Brendan Miller — The entire NL Central. 
  • Corey Freedman — The rest of the NL Central. The division is not good and the Cubs are in the best position to take advantage of that. 
  • Kevin Wells — Going to win the NL Central by 2-4 games, barring any long term injury to Bellinger, Swanson or Steele. 

The most important player on the Chicago Cubs for the 2024 season is …

  • Cody Delmendo — Seiya Suzuki. It’s a prove it season for Seiya. He’s shown stretches of All-Star caliber play, but also had a lot of lows as well. If he’s more consistent in 2024, he can help this Cubs offense build off of last season.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Cody Bellinger.
  • Ryan Herrera — Justin Steele. The Cubs’ roster isn’t vastly different from 2023, but who we’re going into the season looking at as the team’s No. 1 starter is. Steele broke out to a top-5 finish in Cy Young voting and was a major catalyst for this team almost getting to the postseason. To get over that hump, Steele turning in another standout year feels like a must.
  • Brendan Miller — Christopher Morel. The Cubs desperately need cost-controllable position players. If Morel fails to be that 3B, the Cubs will need to immediately find potential replacements (eg, Shaw), otherwise the 2024 trade deadline will be crunched like it was in 2023 and 2025 will also have more roadblocks than Jed wants.
  • Corey Freedman — Cody Bellinger. There’s a lot of ways to answer this, but simply put, if Cody is not near or the same player as 2023, the Cubs are inbig trouble. They’ve taken the risk (that I agree with fwiw) that Cody has made adjustments to move beyond the player he was at the end of his Dodgers tenure, but this Cubs team is not at all built for them to be wrong about that. If Cody is not a star, this team will be in big trouble. 
  • Kevin Wells — Justin Steele. He made a monumental leap in his second year as a full-time starting pitcher (2.0-3.8 WAR). The very good to elite pitchers in baseball are the 4.5-5.0+ range. He is the lynch pin to the Cubs success. If he hits elite range and stays healthy, he should be far and away the best pitcher in the NL Central and give the Cubs a chance to win the majority of his starts.

Who leads the Cubs in home runs and how many will he hit?

  • Cody Delmendo — Christopher Morel with 38
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Cody Bellinger with 32
  • Ryan Herrera — Christopher Morel with 33
  • Brendan Miller — Seiya Suzuki with 34 
  • Corey Freedman — Seiya Suzuki with 31

Most likely to represent the Cubs at the All-Star Game?

  • Cody Delmendo — Cody Bellinger. It’s the year of the Codys.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Justin Steele
  • Ryan Herrera — Dansby Swanson. For one, I expect the same stellar defense we saw in 2023, but I also think we get offensive production more on par with what he did his last season in Atlanta. I know there’s a lot of talented shortstops in the NL, but Swanson can definitely earn his way to the Midsummer Classic for the third straight year.
  • Brendan Miller — Justin Steele. All things considered, he’s the most likely Cub to produce top-tier value.
  • Corey Freedman — Justin Steele. He was deserving of the honor he got in 2023, and I expect him to put himself in a similar position in 2024. 

The Cubs’ best case scenario in 2024 is ….

  • Cody Delmendo — Win the NL Central and the stars align to a playoff series win. That’s probably the ceiling for this team.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — An NLCS bid.
  • Ryan Herrera — They hold a comfortable lead in the NL Central for most of September, win the division and a playoff series. For basically the last two-plus months of 2023, every game felt like a playoff game for the Cubs, and we saw how that took its toll on various aspects of the team. Having a solid lead late in the year would (1) most likely get this team the division title and (2) allow them a little more rest heading into the playoffs.
  • Brendan Miller — The best case is they pull off an extreme season like the Giants’ 2021 season. This means the Cubs finishing 2.5-3 standard deviations away from their average mid-80s win projected and win +100 games. This requires 4-6 wins from Morel, +5 from Bellinger, +5 from Suzuki, 8 total from Dansby and Nico, top 3 starting pitching value, and impeccable bullpen health and management from Counsell. As crazy as this sounds, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
  • Corey Freedman — Best case is they win a bad division and are healthy enough to get hot in October. I don’t currently expect a deep run in the playoffs or anything, but just getting there is the hardest part. The best-case scenario would also have Morel and/or Busch give us a long-term answer at their respective positions, as well as guys like PCA/Horton coming up and setting themselves up not only as contributors for this year, but for a bigger year in 2025.
  • Kevin Wells — Matt Shaw having a Corbin Caroll-like impact and an NLCS berth. This team is ready to compete now. I know prospects are coming and we will likely see two, maybe three of them by mid summer but they aren’t ready to win the World Series. The Braves, Dodgers and Diamondbacks will all have something to say. I like all of their respective rosters more than the Cubs (obviously), as currently constructed. We will see what happens in July and then the trade deadline. The Cubs have plenty of pieces to trade and call up. Look at Craig Counsell’s track record in September and dream big. 

The worst-case scenario in 2024 is …

  • Cody Delmendo — Cubs miss the playoffs, again. There are no more excuses. It’s the playoffs or I’m going to start calling for jobs in October.
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Move to Nashville
  • Ryan Herrera — Not making the postseason. They haven’t been back at the end of a 162-game regular season since 2018. After getting so close last year, and then not doing as much as they probably could’ve to add to the roster, the Cubs need to be correct that they have the right players in place to get to the playoffs.
  • Brendan Miller — Just a few fragile building blocks on the roster could break the Cubs, leading to their worst-case scenario. This includes not just missing the postseason but also failing to address their pre-arbitration positional gaps. The worst-case scenario unfolds if Morel fails at 3B, Busch fails at 1B, and the farm fails to support the MLB team (PCA, Caisee, Shaw). In this scenario, the win-loss record might still be around 80 wins (not as bad as a 65-win outcome), but the long-term effects are disastrous. If the Cubs enter the 2025 offseason with a similar roster to last year’s — including greater uncertainties with PCA, Morel, and the farm — they will have to consider rising arbitration costs for depth players and an aging roster with mediocre projections. This could force the ownership to decide between keeping Jed’s front office or starting another rebuild with a completely different, younger and more cutting-edge front office.
  • Corey Freedman — The worst outcome is that this year provides no long-term answer at either 3B or 1B, the offseason moves aren’t enough to keep the team afloat and this team misses the playoffs for another season. That outcome is especially scary because it doesn’t really advance anything in the organization. There remains a scenario where this team enters the offseason with most/all of the same issues and unanswered questions and the only thing that has changed is the time gone. 
  • Kevin Wells — Missing the playoffs and Cody Bellinger regressing. I’m not sure the Cubs have a superstar hitter in the wings who can be a perennial MVP candidate like Bellinger. If he regresses, that is very, very bad news for the team’s ceiling and willingness to spend in 2025 (because he would opt-in). They have bats in the minors that have serious potential (Cassie, Shaw), but the team needs Bellinger to be an MVP candidate for them until/if someone else can take that role. You don’t win without stars. 

National League award predictions


  • Cody Delmendo — Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Ronald Acuña, Atlanta Braves
  • Ryan Herrera — Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Brendan Miller — Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Corey Freedman — Ronald Acuña, Atlanta Braves
  • Kevin Wells — Corbin Caroll, Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Cy Young

  • Cody Delmendo — Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Logan Webb, San Francisco Giants
  • Ryan Herrera — Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves
  • Brendan Miller — Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves
  • Corey Freedman — Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves
  • Kevin Wells — Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers 

NL Rookie of the Year

  • Cody Delmendo — Pete Crow-Armstrong, Chicago Cubs
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Jackson Chourio, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Ryan Herrera — Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Brendan Miller — Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs
  • Corey Freedman — Jung Hoo Lee, San Francisco Giants
  • Kevin Wells — Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs 

NL Manager of the Year

  • Cody Delmendo — Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Ryan Herrera — Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs
  • Brendan Miller — Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs
  • Corey Freedman — Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs
  • Kevin Wells — Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs

NL Comeback Player of the Year

  • Cody Delmendo — Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves
  • Ryan Herrera — Edwin Díaz, New York Mets
  • Brendan Miller — Edwin Díaz, New York Mets
  • Corey Freedman — Luis Severino, New York Mets
  • Kevin Wells — Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

World Series predictions

  • Cody Delmendo — Cardinals defeat Orioles
  • Luke Stuckmeyer — Dodgers defeat Orioles
  • Ryan Herrera — Braves defeat Astros
  • Brendan Miller — Mariners defeat Braves
  • Corey Freedman — Astros defeat Dodgers
  • Kevin Wells — Braves defeat Orioles 

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