The Chicago Cubs have officially punched their ticket back into the MLB postseason and have once again hit the 90 win mark on the season. Joe Maddon and the Cubs may have gotten off to a slow start this season, but they are getting hot at the right time. Despite the slow start, the Cubs strongly believe that they can bounce back and make another run to the World Series.
Knocking off the Washington Nationals will not be an easy task, nor will defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers if both the Dodgers and Cubs take care of business. It is safe to say that the National League is stronger this season than it was last year.
That being said, the Cubs have shown over the past few years that they can get hot at any time. They have top-notch starting pitching, to go along with a bullpen with a lot of potential. Chicago also has put together one of the best lineups in baseball that is capable of putting up football-like numbers on the scoreboard.
If the Cubs are going to repeat as champions, however, there are some players that will need to step up. Outside of the main stars, the Cubs need some role players to take their game to a new level.
All of that being said, which five players do the Cubs need to play major roles if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs?
Starting off the list with Javier Baez just feels right. Baez was a major key last season both offensively and defensively and has come on strong this season. Chicago will need his glove playing at its best and will need the power in his bat to pick up in order to win the National League.
Theo Epstein went out and acquired Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox earlier this season. It was a move that has paid off in a big way this season, with Quintana finishing the season at 7-3. Quintana will be asked to shoulder a massive workload in the postseason and will likely face off against opposing teams’ aces.
Addison Russell was one of the Cubs that got off to an incredibly slow start this season. He is a major key for the Cubs and is capable of having the same kind of impact that Baez has made. Russell may not have the most powerful bat, but his defense is much-needed and he has shown the ability to come through with clutch at-bats in the postseason.
Last season, Kyle Schwarber was able to come back from a torn ACL to help lead the Cubs to a World Series win. His story was incredible, but has had a rough season this year. Chicago could use Schwarber’s offensive firepower this postseason and need him to pick things up.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Finally, the Cubs need to see Carl Edwards Jr. pitch consistently out of their bullpen. Carl Edwards Jr. has been one of the featured relievers and Maddons need him to pick up his game. Chicago cannot afford to give up runs late in games and Edwards will be a key part of that goal.
Do you think the Chicago Cubs can repeat as champions this season? Would you add any other players to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Images]