It has been seven years since the Chicago Cubs clinched their first World Series title in 108 years. In that time, the team has experienced its fair share of highs and lows, but it seems that they are finally starting to look relevant again. Led by star shortstop Dansby Swanson and a solid core of talented players, the Cubs are once again a team to watch.
After their historic win in 2016, the Cubs struggled to find their footing in the years that followed. They struggled with injuries, inconsistent play, and issues within the clubhouse. However, things started to turn around for the team last season. Despite some early struggles, the Cubs finished the shortened 2020 season with a record of 34-26, earning a spot in the playoffs.
This year, the Cubs seem to be building on that success. Swanson, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in a trade in 2020, has quickly become a fan favorite in Chicago. He is hitting .299 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs through the first 70 games of the season, earning him a spot on the National League All-Star team. Swanson’s leadership on the field and in the locker room has been a key factor in the Cubs’ recent success.
Of course, Swanson is not doing it alone. He is supported by a talented core that includes third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and catcher Willson Contreras. Bryant, who had struggled in recent years, is having a resurgent season, hitting .297 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs. Rizzo and Contreras are also having strong seasons, providing the team with consistent offense and solid defense.
Beyond their top players, the Cubs have also benefited from the emergence of some talented young players. Second baseman Nico Hoerner, outfielder Ian Happ, and pitcher Adbert Alzolay are all players to watch for the Cubs. Hoerner, in particular, has impressed this season, hitting .304 in limited playing time.
The Cubs have also made some smart moves off the field. In addition to acquiring Swanson, they made a series of moves in the offseason to shore up their bullpen. They signed relievers Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin, and traded for closer Craig Kimbrel. The moves have paid off, as the Cubs bullpen has been one of the best in baseball this season.
The Cubs still have a long way to go before they can capture another World Series title. They are facing stiff competition in the National League, with teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants standing in their way. However, for the first time in years, the Cubs are once again a relevant team in the league. With their solid core of talented players and smart offseason moves, they could very well be a team to watch come October.