2024 Cubs Season Projections: Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

2024 Cubs Season Projections: Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson

by - Senior Writer -

It's almost time for Cubs baseball as their Spring Training Schedule kicks off on Friday. In the meantime, it's finally time for full squad workouts to begin this week as the rest of the roster will join the pitchers and catchers as they prepare for their upcoming season.

Although there are plenty of roster changes that this team would like to make heading into the season, one area on this team doesn't need any adjusting and will be set in stone for the next several years is the middle infield, where Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson will anchor the fort for at least the next three seasons together.

These two played a crucial role in the team's overall improvement last season defensively, and that will once again be the case this season and beyond. If both of these men can stay healthy, expect more of the same, if not better, in 2024, as they will be two of the more critical pieces on this team.

Nico Hoerner: What else is there to say about Nico Hoerner coming off the season he had last year? Formally one of the Cubs top prospects, Hoerner has been a mainstay in the Cubs everyday lineup since he was called up in 2019. However, he dealt with a rash of hamstring injuries his first few seasons and showed what he truly could do in the past two seasons.

After starting his career at second and then moving to SS, Hoerner was back at 2B last season, which is where he will be for the remainder of his Cubs career, barring any significant injuries. As long as he is healthy, you are getting a gold-glove-caliber defender who is one of the best contact hitters in the game. Now, all he needs to do is be a little more consistent at times, and the Cubs will be in great hands going forward.

Prediction: 152 games, .289 average, 10 homers, 57 RBIs and 36 steals

Hoerner is a great hitter; everything will remain the same, but no one knows how good he can be. If he had even a bit more plate discipline or patience with his approach, he would be a .300 plus hitter and in the top 10 in average every season. Still, you know what you're going to get out of him, and that is a reliable hitter who will hit near the top of the order and be one of the Cubs table setters on offense.

Dansby Swanson: The big free agent acquisition for the Cubs last season, Swanson was as good as advertised most of the season until the final six weeks of the year. Sure, he missed games for the first time since 2022, but when he was in the lineup, he continued to provide the gold glove defense everyone was accustomed to while also being one of the best hitters in the lineup.

Once the calendar flipped to August, Swanson struggled and hit under .220 the rest of the season while his power numbers declined. A big reason for that was the fatigue after not sitting out for nearly two months, which affected many Cubs down the stretch. No one will use that as an excuse, but look for many of these regulars to get more days off this season, with Swanson being one of them.

Prediction: 150 games, .263 average, 23 home runs, and 78 RBIs

For the most part, Swanson will be a middle-of-the-line hitter, even if the numbers won't always tell the story. However, he has been very consistent in his production most of his career, which continued last season and should continue in 2024.

He may not always be the high-average guy you look for, but with gold glove defense and 20-plus homers per season, you can overlook that average. Look for Counsell to give him more days off this season to keep him fresh, which could help him produce for more extended periods this season.

Miles Mastrobuoni One of the final roster decisions the Cubs will have to make this season falls on Miles Mastrobuoni. Listed as a Utility player, Mastrobuoni came into the league as a SS, but has also seen time at 3B and 2B. In other words, he is the Cubs utility infield player who will bounce all over the infield and start when needed.

When you look at the season Mastrobuoni had last season, he made the team out of camp and then got off to a horrendous start, thus seeing him end up in Iowa. Once in AAA, Mastrobuoni started to get the regular at-bats he desired and was one of the better hitters in the Cubs lineup for roughly a month.

With several players getting injured during the summer, Mastrobuoni returned to the Cubs, where he was one of the better hitters on the team over the final two months, including the final stretch run in September. He will be counted on to fill even bigger shoes this season.

Prediction: 88 games, .275 average, 2 homers, 19 RBIs, and 15 steals

Mastrobuoni isn't going to wow anyone at the plate, but he can give you everything you need from a utility player. He plays multiple positions and knows how to make contact at the plate, and some argue that he is the fastest player on the team, making him a legitimate base-stealing threat. It will be curious to see how Counsell uses him this season.

Some other potential names to watch for in the middle infield this season would be David Bote, who is back with the Cubs as a non-roster invitee, Chase Strumpf, and James Triantos, who could all see action this spring with a chance to earn a spot later this season.

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