Blue Chip Stocks:
Jose Quintana: I probably wasn’t alone yesterday when I thought Quintana wouldn’t make it past the fifth inning after a rocky start, but Quintana settled down to pitch seven innings with six strikeouts and only two earned runs. Q gave rest to a bullpen that so desperately needed it. Over his last nine starts, Quintana owns a 4-2 record with a 2.94 ERA, recording a quality start in five of those games.
Anthony Rizzo: The Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All Time added to his resume this week, going 9-for-15 with nine walks (!!), three extra-base hits, and three runs batted in, amounting to a .600/.739/.867 line worth 313 wRC+. Rizzo desperately needed to come out of the break hot, and he did just that, providing the Cubs a spark at the top of the lineup.
Willson Contreras: Willy only played in three games this week, but he went 4-for-11 with a homer, three runs batted in, and three walks. Since the start of June, Contreras is hitting .302/.395/.452, good for 131 wRC+.
Ian Happ: Happ only had three hits in 12 at-bats this week, but he walked four times, drove in four runs, and had two extra-base hits, one of which was a homer. Over the last 30 days Happ is hitting .343/.477/.529, good for a 174 wRC+. That’ll play.
Jason Heyward: Heyward didn’t have a spectacular week at the plate, after all, he only recorded a slugging percentage of .278. But he had five singles, five walks, and five runs. While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of him hitting third in the lineup, once Rizzo moves back to his typical spot in the middle of the order, dare I say maybe it’s time to try J-Hey at leadoff?
Will Little: Little’s strike zone was all over the place in the second game of the doubleheader, and to put the cherry on top of things, he ejected both Javier Baez and Joe Maddon when he failed to ask for help on a check swing. It was the first ejection of Baez’s career.
Brian Duensing: After a couple of good outings on his return from the DL, he got smacked for a three-run homer by Matt Carpenter in the Friday blowout. Could he still be hurt?
Buy: Jesse Chavez will be a good addition to the bullpen. Chavez threw three perfect innings over the weekend, coming in and pounding the strike zone with heaters. While the soon to be 35-year-old isn’t going to come in and blow guys away, he consistently throws strikes, a refreshing change of pace from the majority of arms in the pen. He provides an excellent upgrade to the frequent riders on the Des Moines/Chicago Express, at least until September 1st rolls around.
Sell: The Cubs don’t need to address the bullpen. While the addition of Chavez has already proven to be a good one, he still isn’t going to be a difference maker in October. Between Brandon Morrow’s injury history, Carl Edwards Jr.’s inconsistency, and the hundreds of innings on Pedro Strop’s arm, the Cubs are going to have to upgrade the bullpen in some fashion. I hope it’s Zach Britton, but I’m sure Theo and Co. have a plan in store to bring in another arm before July 31st.