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3 Chicago Cubs Players to Watch in the Second Half

Even with many second-half losses likely in the cards for the Cubs, there are still several players to keep an eye on.

Christopher Morel Chicago Cubs
Photo: Cubs/Twitter

With the All-Star break coming to an end, it’s not too early to start thinking about which Chicago Cubs players will still be on the team by the time the August trade deadline rolls around. It’s pretty much a guarantee that catcher Willson Contreras will be gone, as well as bullpen veteran David Robertson, and maybe even Ian Happ.

With that being said, let’s look at three players who more than likely will be on the Cubs’ roster in August that fans should keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

Seiya Suzuki

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki caught everyone’s attention when he kicked off the season getting on base at a ridiculous rate. Across 21 games in April, the righty had 19 hits, including four home runs and five doubles, 14 walks, a .405 OBP, and a .934 OPS. He easily took home NL Rookie of the Month honors.

After an exciting start to the season, Suzuki hit a bit of a downside, but some of that was due to injuries. From May 1 through the All-Star break, Suzuki only appeared in 33 games thanks to a nagging finger injury that kept him out for the entire month of June. Still, he managed to put up pretty good numbers.

In 127 plate appearances, Suzuki posted a slash line of .267/.323/.405 with two home runs, eight doubles, one triple, 12 RBIs, and 10 walks. Are these horrible numbers? Of course not, but the Cubs would definitely like to see his power stats increase.

If Suzuki can have consistent and patient at-bats, as he showed at the beginning of the year, don’t be surprised if he catches fire in the second half. Could 15 second-half homers be a possibility? Definitely. A healthy Suzuki could present danger for opponents, and this All-Star break could be just what he needed to jumpstart a thunderous next few months.

Christopher Morel

Christopher Morel took everyone by surprise when he burst onto the scene in May, and rightfully so. Before the season, other than the hardcore Cubs fans, not too many people had heard of Morel. Considering he didn’t make the Cubs’ 2022 preseason top 30 prospects list, it’s shocking that the young utility player has taken his big-league opportunity and ran with it so far.

In 55 games this year, Morel has posted an impressive stat line that includes a .266 batting average with 57 hits (nine home runs, 10 doubles, four triples), 23 walks, eight stolen bases, and an .814 OPS. For a guy that wasn’t even considered a top 30 prospect before the season started, Morel has been a diamond in the rough for the Cubs so far.

Morel is arguably the most electric player on this Cubs team. What’s there not to like about this guy? With his energy, versatility, and consistency, Morel could be a major cornerstone piece of the Cubs for years to come. At the very least, if he continues to put up numbers similar to his first-half production, don’t be surprised to see Morel as a finalist for the NL Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.

Nico Hoerner

Before the 2022 season, the shortstop position was a question mark for the Cubs. Nico Hoerner has stepped up and owned the role.

After hovering close to a .300 batting average for the first two months of the season, Hoerner’s bat scorched in June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old posted a slash line of .344/.392/.452 with six extra-base hits and played stellar defense in the six-spot.

For the year, Hoerner is batting .307 with a .344 OBP, 19 extra-base hits, and a team-leading nine stolen bases. It would be nice to see him continue to get on base at a consistent rate as well as slap a lot more extra-base hits during the second half of the season.

Is he going to hit 30 home runs? Probably not. But if he can continue to hit for average, steal bases, and play strong defense at the shortstop position, there’s no reason why Hoerner can’t cement himself as a Cubs’ mainstay for years to come. Who knows, maybe he’ll convince the Cubs to lock him up for the next several years during the offseason?

What to Watch For Down the Stretch

There’s a strong chance that this Chicago Cubs team won’t have a .500 record for the second half of the 2022 season. There will likely be a lot more bad games than good. With that being said, there are still things to keep an eye out for down the home stretch.

Perhaps the Cubs will call up another prospect that makes a splash. Maybe they’ll spoil the St. Louis Cardinals’ chances of making the playoffs. Regardless of team records, the Field of Dreams game against the Cincinnati Reds should be quite the spectacle. All we can do is buckle up, be patient, and try to find joy in the small things. The dog days of summer are upon us.

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