The Chicago Cubs were fairly mediocre last season, with a 74-88 record and a third-place finish in the NL Central.
That’s a division they dominated for much of the 2010s, and they want to return to the top spot this year.
Whether or not they have the goods to take the divisional crown is a hot debate, but they could potentially compete for a postseason spot via one of the Wild Cards.
To help themselves, they revamped their roster in the offseason.
They added solid floor with shortstop Dansby Swanson, and rebound potential with Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, and Eric Hosmer.
They also brought in pitchers Jameson Taillon, Michael Fulmer, Brad Boxberger and Julian Merryweather.
There is particular optimism surrounding the Swanson – Nico Hoerner pairing in the middle infield.
They are both expected to be at the top of the lineup, and they both impressed in 2022.
Hoerner broke out to the tune of a .281/.327/.410 line with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Swanson has a couple of seasons playing at a high level, and has 52 home runs over the last two years.
Both of them play elite defense at their respective positions and will be the foundation of an excellent fielding team.
We've all been waiting for the first Nico/Dansby double play footage. It's here. Thank you, @Cubs, for capturing this. pic.twitter.com/5Xj9lABwRA
— Brendan Miller (@brendan_cubs) February 20, 2023
Swanson won the 2022 NL Gold Glove award for shortstops and accumulated nine Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and 20 (!) Outs Above Average (OAA).
Hoerner had 10 and 13, respectively, at second base.
Excellent defense fueled their Wins Above Replacement (WAR) totals: Hoerner had 4.0, and Swanson posted 6.4.
They are both young, athletic, talented, and able to field their positions admirably.
Fans are already excited to watch them in live games.NEXT: Ian Happ Discusses The Cubs' Outlook For 2023