The Cubs Have a Lot of Capable Position Player Depth, So That's a Start

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The Cubs Have a Lot of Capable Position Player Depth, So That’s a Start

Chicago Cubs

When I was reading Michael’s piece yesterday on the projections for Cody Bellinger in 2023, and how they are pretty rosy in comparison to his last two seasons, it sent me off to re-look at the projections for other Chicago Cubs players.

FanGraphs’ Depth Charts offers a combination of various projections for players – it’s not quite a “consensus” set of projections, but I believe it blends together ZiPS and Steamer, together with expected playing time.

That’s what I was looking at when I noticed that just one of the 18 Cubs position players who are projected to get playing time this year is projected for a wRC+ below 89. It’s Tucker Barnhart at 76, and we know he’s not here for his bat. The other 17 Cubs are all projected at 89 or better, with 13 of them projected somewhere from 94 to 109.

The flip side, of course, is that just two Cubs (Ian Happ at 113 and Seiya Suzuki at 131) are projected to top a 110 wRC+.

In a way, this echoes a lot of what we’ve said about the farm system AND the starting rotation for the Cubs right now: they are missing the big-time impact, and yet they have so much solid depth. I hadn’t really thought about it much on the big league positional side, but you could certainly argue that it’s true. Not a lot of monster bats, but loads of playable ones.

Does that alone make for a playoff team? No, but it does help the floor not be exceedingly low, since we know that injuries and underperformance will happen. The more league average-ish bats you have available – for injury replacement and for just coordinating starts – the harder it is to imagine the bottom completely dropping out.

All that said, the Cubs are going to need some surprises to the upside from this group if they are going to compete for a playoff spot. I am encouraged when thinking about all the solid depth they have, but – not unlike the farm system and the rotation – you want more impact at the top.

Oh, also important to point out: the Cardinals and Brewers each ALSO have a whole lot of decent depth on the positional side. Easily as much, on paper, as the Cubs. Those two also – especially the Cardinals – have far more impact-caliber projected players.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.