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Kyle Hendricks: Ladies and gentlemen, The Professor is back. Hendricks pitched 16⅓ innings this past week, surrendering only a run in each start, and logging game scores of 78 and 81. Over his last six starts, Hendricks is 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA. Kyle is ready to go for the playoffs.
Javier Baez: Back in May I added a poll asking if Javier Baez would win this year’s MVP, and the majority of voters responded with a resounding ‘no.’ I thought that was fair, we were only a month and a half into the season and while Javy had been on a tear, we had seen too many valleys in the past to think this was who he had now become. Welp, here we are in late September, and Baez is the favorite to bring home the second MVP for the Cubs in three years. This week, Baez launched three home runs in 23 at-bats, drove in seven runs, and even walked twice! With all due respect to Christian Yelich, my completely unbiased opinion says that Javy wins this year’s NL MVP.
Daniel Murphy: It was a huge week at the plate for Murphy, as he went 8-for-19 with a double, two home runs, and seven runs scored. In 95 at-bats in the leadoff spot this year, Murphy owns an .881 OPS and a 135 wRC+.
Ben Zobrist: This is your obligatory Ben Zobrist appreciation post. Zorilla had eight hits in 23 at-bats, including three multi-hit games. Zobrist owns a 3.6 fWAR this year and a 128 wRC+ over nearly 500 plate appearances this year. Start engraving his name on the NL Comeback Player of the Year award.
Kyle Schwarber: In a brief three game stint, Schwarber recorded three extra base hits over nine at-bats, including his first homer off a southpaw this year. He also drew three walks in the process. With Javy, Rizzo, KB, and Schwarber all healthy and back in the lineup, that’s as good of a middle of the order you’ll find anywhere in baseball.
Albert Almora Jr.: It’s been a rough second half for Almora; he owns a .224/.260/.273 line, good for a wRC+ of 44. This week was no exception. Even though he recorded five hits, all of them were for singles. Since the start of the second half, Almora only has six extra base hits. (!!) With Ian Happ’s second half wRC+ at 72, I have a feeling we may see a lot of Jason Heyward in center field come playoff time.
Willson Contreras: Like Happ and Almora, it’s been a dreadful second half for Contreras. Since July 20, Contreras owns a .209/.303/.288 line (65 wRC+), and only two home runs. It was another awful week at the plate for him, going just 2-for-21 with five strikeouts.
Buy: We’re going to see Jason Heyward in center field a lot in October. With Ian Happ’s second half wRC+ at 72, and Almora’s at 44, I don’t think you can expect anything offensively from either of those guys in the postseason. With Murphy presumably leading off and playing 2nd, Ben Zobrist will have to move somewhere, and that somewhere is in right field, thus, sliding Heyward to center.
Sell: Happ and Almora are expendable in the playoffs. Almora is a really, reaaaallllyyy good defender in center. Even if his bat is almost non-existent right now, he still provides value as a late inning replacement in the outfield. Happ, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as good of a defender as Almora, but his versatility and power make him a great bench option in the postseason. Happ has the ability to change a game with one swing of the bat, and I think he’ll be the lead pinch hitter next month.
Who will be the Cubs’ starting center fielder in the postseason?
This poll is closed
Albert Almora Jr.