Positional Power Rankings Are Not Too High on the Cubs Catching Tandem

At their best, the 2022 Chicago Cubs offense is a group full of What Ifs?

What if Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel can actually be productive after finally getting their shot? What if Nick Madrigal can hit for just enough power to be an impact-bat, relatively speaking? What if Nico Hoerner stays healthy? What if Clint Frazier’s injuries are behind him? What if Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki hit as well as we think they can? And so on.

The only truly established position player, then, is Willson Contreras. And given that he’s backed up by the dependable Yan Gomes, the catcher position is arguably the Cubs greatest projectable strength heading into the 2022 season. Unfortunately, their greatest projectable strength is still just middle-of-the-pack.

FanGraphs is rolling out their 2022 positional rankings, and when it comes to their projected impact behind the plate, the Cubs are unspectacular.

Specifically, the Cubs rank 13th, though it’s important to remember this is just a ranking of projected WAR and just for contributions behind the plate. I say that for two reasons: (1) The Cubs will likely use Contreras at DH a fair amount this season, and that value is not captured above (indeed, it could actually be syphoning off some projected value) and (2) I’d actually take the potential UPSIDE of the Cubs catching duo over some of the teams ahead of them.

We’ve all seen what Contreras can do when he’s healthy and rested, which should be easier to obtain this season with the DH and a very good backup. Plus, Gomes is just a really solid catcher. He’s a borderline starter and one of the better backup catchers in MLB. If deployed strategically, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another very solid season from him behind the plate.

But that doesn’t mean we can just ignore the reality of the situation. We may have some reasons to be more optimistic about the Cubs catching duo, but so do other teams. The entire point of these projections is to eliminate the noise and bias and hope, and that leaves us with the Cubs strongest positional group as barely more than average heading into the year.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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