The MLB season is right around the corner, and I’m going to tell you six Cubs I expect to hit 25+ homers this year.
This is a no doubter for me and anyone else who watches baseball. Since Kris Bryant got the call in 2015, he has not hit under 26 home runs in a season. In 2016, he posted 39 homers and won MVP. Even though he hit ten less last year, I still expect him to hit AT LEAST 30 homers for the Cubs this year. Bryant had an OBP of .409 last year, so he can take his share of walks. With this being the case, will pitchers try to attack him this year?
Let’s take a quick look at Anthony’s home run numbers since 2014. 32, 31, 32, 32. Yeah, there is no way he drops down to 25 homers this year. Last year he posted a .273 batting average, which was his worst since his 2013 season. Even though his BA was down, he posted his best OBP since that same season. So I do expect Rizzo to have another fantastic year, and maybe even bring home an MVP award.
Since Willson joined the Cubs in 2016, he has been nothing but a blast to watch. Last year, Willson moved into the primary catching spot and posted a .276 batting average with 21 home runs and 75 RBI’s. This year I fully expect Contreras to get over the 25 homer mark and record his best season. Contreras will be catching almost every game this year so he’ll get a huge chance.
Last year, Addison Russell hit 12 home runs. TWELVE. So people may wonder, why would you pick him to hit 25+ home runs? He missed some time with an off the field issue last year, and he was not the same person for the rest of the year. We’ve seen what Russell can do, and we know he CAN be a stud. This year, I expect those off the field issues to be behind him, and he will have a great year at shortstop. His best year was in 2016, when he hit 21 homers and posted a .238 average. Russell is 22 this year, so now with some more experience under his belt, he will slug 25 homers and get his batting average over .250 for the first time in his career.
Ian Happ has hit four homers so far in Spring Training this year, and I expect more of the same when the season comes around. Last season, he hit 24 home runs, but you have to think, that was his first season in the MLB. With one year under his belt, I fully expect him to hit at least 30 home runs. In my opinion, he needs to start in right field, and Albert Almora needs to be in center. Yes, Jason Heyward has a very good glove, but he is an offensive liability. If Happ continues to tear it up in Spring Training, he can carry it into the regular season look for him to take that RF spot.
Skinny Kyle Schwarber
Is there really anything to say? Schwarber is in the best shape of his life, and he could still break a brick wall in one punch. He hit 30 homers last year, but now that he is skinny, he will hit 40 AND win a gold glove. But for real, Kyle Schwarber hit thirty bombs last year, and with him being in much better shape I can see him becoming an everyday player. Watch for Kyle to have a great year while winning a gold glove!
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