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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

What the Chicago Cubs’ 2022 Opening Day Lineup Should Look Like

The Chicago Cubs are a baseball team from the city of Chicago, Illinois. They’re in their 108th season playing professional ball, having won three World Series championships before that. The most recent title came back in 2016 with Joe Maddon at the helm as their manager and David Ross behind the plate — who will retire this year after 20 seasons. Their next manager is already chosen – Manny Machado!

The “cubs projected lineup 2022” is a prediction for what the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day Lineup should look like in 2022. The lineup will be based on projections from players who have been around for at least 2 seasons and are still active.

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, ending a 108-year drought. Only a few members of that championship squad are still wearing Cubbie blue today.

Chicago made the difficult but necessary choice to part ways with many key players, including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo, at the last trade deadline. The adjustments cost the Cubs in the near term, as they finished fourth in the NL Central with a 71-91 record. However, they were able to unearth a few fascinating items while laying the groundwork for what they believe will be a bright future.

The Cubs will not be strong contenders in 2022, despite the fact that their division is the worst in baseball. There will be a few must-see batters to keep an eye on when manager David Ross submits his first lineup card of the season.

The Cubs will rely on two of last year’s breakthrough performers to keep the momentum going.

Rafael Ortega (LF), Frank Schwindel (1B), and Ian Happ are the top three batters in the league (DH)

Even under Joe Maddon, the Cubs have had trouble finding a reliable leadoff hitter. For the time being, Ortega is the man in charge in the clubhouse. Until he slashed a career-high, the 30-year-old was the essence of a four-A player. In 330 plate appearances, he hit 291/.360/.463 with 11 home runs and 12 steals. When facing left-handed pitchers, Chicago could deploy Clint Frazier in lieu of Ortega, but the rangy outfielder should still get the brunt of the leadoff chores.

Last season, the Cubs had a few shocks, but none more so than Schwindel, who is 29 years old. The right-handed slugger hit.342 with an OPS of 1.002 and 13 home runs after being claimed off waivers in mid-July. He’ll be an overwhelming favorite for MVP if he hits at that pace this year, so anticipate some regression. Regardless, he’s won the first base position and the second place in Ross’ lineup.

For Happ, it was a story of two seasons. Before the All-Star break, the 2015 top-10 pick hit.183 with a.626 OPS. After the break, he batted.268 with a.886 OPS in three less plate appearances and hit 16 of his 25 total home runs. Throughout his first five seasons in Chicago, Happ has always been a streaky hitter. At this point, the Cubs can only hope that in 2022, they get more of the good Happ than the bad.

In ’21, all three players outperformed their season projections, indicating that they had the ability. However, a large part of Chicago’s success will hinge on whether each hitter can show that last season was not an exception.

In 2022, Seiya Suzuki will be the Cubs’ X-factor.

Willson Contreras (C), Patrick Wisdom (3B), and Seiya Suzuki round out the top six (RF)

Contreras managed to survive last season’s massive purge. The 29-year-old is in his sixth season with the Cubs, but it will be his first without Bryant, Baez, or Rizzo on Opening Day. Willy is expected to conclude the season with another club, given this is the last year of his current contract. However, while he’s in town, he’ll still provide 20+ home runs and a good OBP to a lineup that lacks a clear All-Star.

In the midst of their shortened season in 2020, the Cubs signed recently released Wisdom. He’s now their starting third baseman, coming off a 28-homer season and a fourth-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Wisdom possesses a lot of power, but he’s also a strikeout monster, with 153 strikeouts in just 375 plate appearances. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old will never be a high-average hitter, he might easily become the team’s leading dinger hitter.

Despite the fact that Chicago is plainly rebuilding, it spent money on two crucial free agents: starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and Suzuki, Japan’s newest star. The 27-year-old outfielder has been professionally playing since 2013, and has progressed to become one of the top power hitters in the Japan Central League. Despite a sluggish start to his spring training, the Cubs’ $85 million rookie has a lot of upside.

The Cubs’ middle infield boasts a lot of raw power. Suzuki will hit a lot of home runs at Wrigley Field in 2022 if he becomes the star that Chicago believes he can be.

The lineup will be completed by a product of last year’s trade deadline.

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Jason Heyward (CF), Nico Hoerner (SS), and Nick Madrigal are the top three players on the team (2B)

Although it’s not by choice, Heyward joins Contreras as the only World Series Cubs in the opening lineup. The 32-year-old has never been a very good hitter, but he hit a career-low. Last season, he hit 214/.280/.347 in 104 games. Not only that, but as part of his eight-year, $184 million contract, he will earn $24.5 million this year and next. On the plus side, Heyward should provide solid senior leadership to the Cubs’ inexperienced squad.

Hoerner, Chicago’s 2018 first-round selection, is easy to like. The 24-year-old has shown he can bat in the major leagues, hitting.302 in 2021, a personal high. Hoerner was restricted to only 44 games due to three different trips on the injured list, four less than his career best from 2020. For the first time in his MLB career, it will be intriguing to observe how the rookie shortstop handles a full workload. In the event that he falters, veteran Andrelton Simmons will be ready to step in.

Finally, around last year’s trade deadline, the Cubs acquired a slew of exciting young prospects. Madrigal was one of them, having been traded from the White Sox to the Cubs in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel. The 25-year-old has a comparable lifetime batting average to Hoerner, hitting.317 in 83 games with little to no power. Madrigal’s development across a full 162-game season, like that of his new double-play partner, will be interesting to observe, given his ’21 season ended with a ruptured hamstring in June.

The 2022 Cubs clearly lack the star power that they formerly had in their lineup. However, with a few breakthrough veterans and high-potential kids, it would be unwise to dismiss Chicago’s possibilities in the batter’s box.

Baseball Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided contract information.

RELATED: Imagine an All-Time Starting Lineup comprised entirely of St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs legends.

The “chicago cubs 2022 roster” is a question that has been asked many times. In this article, I will give you the lineup that the Chicago Cubs should have in 2022.

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