Chicago Cubs Walk Off: Hitting Takes Center Stage as Opening Day Approaches

Cubs starters hitting is all over the board. What else do you expect from Spring Training.
Christopher Morel is focused on an everyday role for the Cubs this season.
Christopher Morel is focused on an everyday role for the Cubs this season. / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the focus of the narrative for Spring Training surrounding the Cubs has been on starting and relief pitching. Instead, let's take a moment to see how the hitting has progressed this Spring.

All Three Corners

Yan Gomes has pretty much locked up the starting catcher spot though Miguel Amaya will see plenty of playing time behind home plate. Gomes couldn't be happier with his spring sitting with a .320 batting average, two home runs (in the same game), 7 RBI's and a .920 OPS.

Michael Busch, MLB's No. 51 prospect, looks like the likely first baseman on Opening Day, beating out prospect Matt Mervis. Busch's output has tailed off since the beginning of spring training but still sits with a .869 OPS. Most wrote off Patrick Wisdom after last season, but he is not going to go away quietly. He has been getting reps at first and has rewarded the Cubs with a .375 batting average, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs and a whopping 1.188 OPS. Wisdom could see time at DH as well.

Christopher Morel was told by Cubs management that they would give him a shot at third base. Like the rest of Cubs fans, they seemed to have been rooting for Morel, too. Morel has cleaned up his defense this spring and strikeout ratio. Morel is batting .300 this spring with two home runs, and a .989 OPS.

Middle Infield

Defensively, the Cubs boast the best second base/shortstop combination in the majors. This is just a fact. Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson won Gold Gloves last year. And their offense was not too shabby either.

Spring hasn't been kind to either player. Hoerner is batting .171 with a .365 OPS. Swanson is batting .222, no home runs, one RBI, and a .545 OPS.


The Cubs outfield is fairly set in stone. Two-time Gold Glove winner Ian Happ in left, newly signed and most recent Comeback Player of the Year Cody Bellinger in center field, and Seiya Suzuki, one of the best hitters of the second half last year, in right field.

Happ has been dealing with hamstring issues most of Spring and only has 13 AB which has resulted in .154 batting average and .445 OPS. Things get much better from there. Bellinger is hitting .353 with 6 RBI's and a 1.017 OPS. Not to be outdone, Suzuki is swinging .444 batting average, three home runs, 6 RBI's, and a 1.409 OPS.

The Cubs also have a decent bench of outfielders including Michael Tauchman, Alexander Canario and prospects Kevin Alcantara and Pete Crow Armstrong. Canario is batting .250 and everyone else is under .200. Armstrong has already been optioned to Triple-A but the assumption is that he'll see MLB playing time this year.

Zero Earned Run Watch

A week later and there is still one Cub that has not given up an earned run. Jose Cuas gave up an earned run in his sixth inning pitched and then came back to pitch another 1.2 innings of scoreless ball. Keegan Thompson gave up 2 runs in his last outing last week. Julian Merryweather gave up two runs on March 12 and rebounded on March 16 to pitch a scoreless inning.

Adbert Alzolay stands tall. At six innings, he has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of .50.


We don't fret over Spring Training hitting as hitters are trying out new things. Hoerner is working on power and Morel is working on contact. All hitters are working on a host of things. The expectation is that the Cubs hitters will produce at least what they did last year if not better. In 2023, the Cubs were 15th in homeruns, 11th in batting average, 6th in RBI's, 6th in runs scored, and 8th in OPS.

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