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The CHGO Cubs staff makes its predictions for the team and the 2023 MLB season

Ryan Herrera Avatar
March 29, 2023

The 2023 MLB season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for predictions! Here’s how our CHGO Cubs staff thinks the season will shake out …

The Cubs final record will be …

  • Cody Delmendo: 88-74
  • Luke Stuckmeyer: 83-79
  • Ryan Herrera: 85-77
  • Corey Freedman: 84-78
  • Brendan Miller: 84-78
  • Jared Wyllys: 84-78

They’ll finish ahead of …

  • Cody: “Delmetrics algorithm says everyone. I trust Delmetrics.”
  • Luke: “Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Milawukee. They’ll soon retake the North and never give it back. ”
  • Ryan: “At least the Pirates and Reds. Anything less feels like a failure.”
  • Corey: “PIT, CIN, and MIL”
  • Brendan: “Brewers, Reds, and Pirates.”
  • Jared: “Everyone except the Cardinals. Sorry, guys.”

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Will Cody Bellinger have a bounceback season?

  • Cody: “They don’t trade him at the deadline, so, yes.”
  • Luke: “If he does the Cubs are in the mix for a division title.”
  • Ryan: “Do we consider a league-average season at the plate a ‘bounce back’ for Bellinger? I don’t think he’ll get anywhere close to his 2019 peak, but above-average offensive production isn’t out of the question.”
  • Corey: “Yes. I don’t think he goes back to MVP form but I think he ends up closer to a league average hitter which still makes him an incredibly valuable player overall.”
  • Brendan: “It’s honestly difficult to say with any semblance of confidence. I’d bet he finishes between 2.0-2.5 WAR, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he falls under 2 WAR and goes well above 2.5 WAR. The big questions are whether his shoulder and swing changes boost him to league-average offense — if they do, then he’s a well beyond 3 WAR guy due to his defense.”
  • Jared: “YES! Maybe not MVP levels, but he will be a far cry from the shell of himself we saw in 2021.”

The most important player for the 2023 season is …

  • Cody: “This team is built on pitching and defense, so Justin Steele has to continue his path of becoming a quality starter in the rotation. If Steele pitches over 150 innings , it probably means the Cubs win total is much higher than last season.”
  • Luke: “Steele, Wesneski, Hoerner, Swanson. Pick one. In fact, it’s possible that player may not even be on the opening day roster. Next starts here.”
  • Ryan: “It kind of feels like cheating to say Dansby Swanson, but it’s true. He signed the second-biggest deal in Cubs history. He’s the guy who forced rising star Nico Hoerner back to second base. The Cubs have invested a lot in Swanson, and they need him to deliver as they look to finally put the low points of the rebuild behind them.”
  • Corey: “Seiya Suzuki. I think he has the potential to break out and become a true star, and if he does, the Cubs potential for success this season skyrockets.”
  • Brendan: “The Cubs need to hit on the extremes to be successful. The player with the biggest extreme is Bellinger. If Belllinger hits his top projections, then he’s one of the best center fielders in MLB and a middle-of-the-order bat in whom the Cubs can play every single day.”
  • Jared: “Nico Hoerner. He’s the future of the franchise (hopefully) and a key part of the middle infield defense. Without the shift, a lot of their defensive success will hinge on how well he does. Add to that the expectation that he continues to grow as a hitter — there’s a lot riding on Hoerner’s shoulders in 2023.”

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

  • Cody: Seiya Suzuki 31
  • Luke: Cody Bellinger 31
  • Ryan: Trey Mancini with 26.
  • Corey: Cody Bellinger 30
  • Brendan: Danbsy Swanson 31
  • Jared: Cody Bellinger with 32 home runs.

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

  • Cody: Nico Hoerner
  • Luke: Ian Happ. Don’t forget Ian Happ!
  • Ryan: It’s got to be Dansby Swanson. He just came off his first All-Star season with Atlanta in 2022. I don’t see him giving up that All-Star shortstop spot this year.
  • Corey: Dansby Swanson
  • Brendan: Dansby Hoerner
  • Jared: Nico Hoerner. This is his year.

The Cubs’ best case scenario is ….

  • Cody: “Probably within the division, but with injuries plaguing both the Mets and Phillies this spring, the Wild Card isn’t a pipe dream like many believe.”
  • Luke: “2023 becomes a springboard just like 2015 was for the franchise. I’m not saying they are just one year away from a World Series. However, best case scenario has them making major progress at every level of the organization. ”
  • Ryan: “Winning the division. I don’t see a likely scenario where they steal a Wild Card spot, but the division still feels winnable. If the new guys perform and the young guys continue to ascend, they can take the NL Central crown.”
  • Corey: “The focus on improving the defense combined with their depth in the rotation allows the Cubs to compete for a playoff spot either in the Wild Card or by catching the Cardinals in the division. They get bounce back seasons from Bellinger and Mancini to lift the offense. ”
  • Brendan: “With the Cubs leading MLB in defensive value, their starting pitching also receives a significant boost. This is due to Hayden Wesneski’s continued development and Jameson Taillon’s slider, which boasts an above-average whiff rate. Their rotation is anchored by Stroman, Taillon, Steele, and Wesneski, all of whom start at least 25 games with a 3.5 ERA or lower. Additionally, Cody Bellinger reaches his top projection, and Trey Mancini benefits from the Wrigley park factor, with Nico and Dansby combining for 8 WAR+ in total could help the Cubs become a 92-95 win team and the surprise team in MLB this year.”
  • Jared: “They’re capable of close to 90 wins and taking the division. A lot of things need to go right for this to happen, but I do think it’s possible. This is a much-improved team from what it was last year.”

The Cubs’ worst case scenario is …

  • Cody: “Willson Contreras proves the Cubs wrong as a defensive catcher, leading to annoying Cardinals success giving the BFIB more ammo in my Twitter mentions.”
  • Luke: “Next doesn’t start here. More selloffs. The prospects don’t develop and the stop gap additions don’t work. Any rebuilding team could say the same thing.” –
  • Ryan: “Trading Ian Happ at the deadline, because that means they’ve given up on the playoff race. Say what you want about the outfield prospects, but trading away one of your best players in-season is the opposite of what a team does when it’s contending. If Happ is no longer a Cub by August, that means the Cubs are probably looking at another disappointing season.”
  • Corey: “They get off to a slow start in April/May that starts the trade deadline discussions early once again. The reclamation projects don’t hit and this is just another “building” year as we wait for the Next Great Cubs Team. ”
  • Brendan: “If the Cubs suffer injuries or workload-related issues with the back end of their starting pitching depth, they won’t win 80 games, just as the computers thought would happen. They are heavily relying on Steele to maintain or even improve his performance from last season. Additionally, Stroman needs to pitch 190 innings or more, competing with Taillon for the most innings pitched. Any hiccups with Steele, Wesneski, Sampson, or Assad could be detrimental, as these four pitchers must contribute significantly to avoid the Cubs’ 80-win projection becoming the likely outcome.”
  • Jared: “They mire just below .500 and we’re considering being sellers at the trade deadline. Neither Ian Happ nor Nico Hoerner gets an extension and we have to go back and forth for months about their future. The Cardinals win the division and Willson Contreras becomes 2023 World Series MVP.”

National League award predictions

World Series predictions

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