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5 bold predictions for the 2024 Cubs

In which I go out on the proverbial limb to forecast the year to come.

Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images

You know what? A year ago today I posted 5 bold predictions for the 2023 Cubs and, revisiting them in November, I did pretty well.

All that did is make me more confident that I can do it again this year. That’s probably misplaced confidence, but it’s not going to stop me.

I’m going to begin by repeating one of my predictions from last year.

Adbert Alzolay will have a 40-save season

Last year, I said Alzolay would become the Cubs closer and post a 40-save season. And if David Ross had given him the job from Opening Day and he hadn’t missed most of September, he might have done it.

This year, I’m confident Alzolay will remain healthy and Craig Counsell will know how to best deploy him to keep him that way, so I’m going to say a 40-save season is in Alzolay’s future.

That would make him just the third Cubs reliever to have such a season. Randy Myers had 53 saves in 1993, the franchise record, and Rod Beck had 51 in 1998. No other Cubs pitcher has had more than 38 (Myers in 1995 and Carlos Marmol in 2010).

The Cubs will sign Cody Bellinger to an eight-year, $200 million deal with an opt-out after the second year

It seems clear to me (and others) that Bellinger is a good match for the Cubs. He showed that in 2023, obviously, and finished 10th in NL MVP voting, the first time he’d received MVP votes since 2019.

I’ll give this prediction a bit of a bonus: Bellinger will hit 35 home runs, score 100 runs and steal 30 bases, becoming the Cubs’ first 30/30 guy since Sammy Sosa in 1995.

Justin Steele will win the NL Cy Young Award

Steele was in strong contention for the Cy Young in 2023 before running out of gas in September. Still, Steele’s first full season (30 starts) resulted in a 3.06 ERA, 3.8 bWAR and a fifth-place finish in the Cy voting.

Bonus: Steele will win 20 games, to become the Cubs’ first 20-game winner since Jake Arrieta in 2015.

Christopher Morel will become at least an average defensive third baseman and hit 40 home runs

Morel had one of the best home-run rates in all of baseball in 2023, hitting 26 in just 388 at-bats.

The Cubs need a third baseman and they need Morel’s bat in the lineup. Counsell and his staff will do everything possible to improve Morel’s defense enough that he can be put at third base most of the time, with Nick Madrigal serving as a backup.

The Cubs will be NL Central champions with a 90-win season

It will be their first 90+ win season since they won 95 in 2018. They’ll have the third-best record among division champions, behind the Dodgers and Braves, and thus will have to play a wild card series. They’ll win that, but be eliminated in the division series round.

Poll

Which of these bold predictions is most likely to come true?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Adbert Alzolay will have a 40-save season
    (460 votes)
  • 36%
    The Cubs will sign Cody Bellinger to an eight-year, $200 million deal with an opt-out after the second year
    (930 votes)
  • 5%
    Justin Steele will win the NL Cy Young Award
    (150 votes)
  • 17%
    Christopher Morel will become at least an average defensive third baseman and hit 40 home runs
    (439 votes)
  • 23%
    The Cubs will be NL Central champions with a 90-win season
    (603 votes)
2582 votes total Vote Now