The Chicago Cubs finish their 2022 regular season with a 74-88 record. The finish looks disappointing, but there’s plenty of excitement for what can come next season.

Fans knew this season would be more disappointing than the last few. Three core pieces to the 2016 championship season were traded in 2021, and other top contributors found new homes.

Still, the Cubs were active in the 2021 offseason, landing All-Star pitcher Marcus Stroman and Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki to multi-year deals, among others. 

To start the season, Suzuki proved worthy of his hefty price tag.

He played phenomenal in his first 10 games as a Cub. Despite battling injuries throughout the season, Suzuki looked promising. Due to the injuries, though, his flashes of promise were inconsistent.

He finished his rookie campaign with 14 home runs, 46 RBI and an above-average OPS of .770.

Seasoned professionals catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ had successful campaigns, both making the 2022 All-Star Game.

Photo: Mary Clarke/USA Today Sports

Contreras was voted to his third All-Star Game start, and Ian Happ made his first All-Star Game roster. Both Happ and Contreras were in deep trade conversations with contending teams. During what could have been their final game together as Cubs, the pair was found hugging in the dugout. Both trades fell through, and they both remained with the team during 2022. Happ finished the 2022 season playing in 158 games, hitting 17 home runs and totaling 72 RBI. Additionally, Happ was named a Gold Glove finalist for his defensive abilities in left field. Happ has one more season in his contract with the Cubs.

Contreras possibly played his final game as a Cub. He had 22 home runs, 55 RBI and a stellar .815 OPS.

A key part of the 2022 offseason will be trying to extend Contreras, one of the best catchers in baseball, who has been in the Cubs’ organization for since 2009. 

Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner made an impressive jump this season.

The biggest jump he made is with his power. Prior to the 2022 season, Hoerner was known to be a solid contact hitter who lacked the pop in his bat to utilize the long ball. In 2022, however, he smashed 10 home runs and added 55 RBI, both career bests. Additionally, Hoerner added 20 stolen bases, a huge jump from his career best five in 2021.

More importantly, Hoerner has emerged as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball.

Hoerner appeared at shortstop in 133 games, tallying over 1100 innings at the position. The young shortstop was snubbed and wasn’t named a Gold Glove finalist, despite impressive play.

His overall play has resulted in a 4.5 WAR season, by far the most of his career.

Rookie center fielder Christopher Morel burst onto the scene in 2022.

In his first career at-bat, a game at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he hit a pinch-hit home run to deep left field. The fans went crazy for Morel, who initially missed first base while rounding the bases.

Morel continued his excellent play by getting on base in 22 straight games to begin his major league career. That streak is a Chicago Cub record.

Morel quickly became a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines because of his bubbly personality, contagious smile and promise as a player.

Overall, in his rookie campaign, Morel finished with 16 home runs, 47 RBI and an above-average .741 OPS.

The second half of the 2022 season showed a ton of upside as the Cubs finished 39-31 after the All-Star break.

The last 22 games were even more impressive. The team went 16-6, sweeping the 101-win New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, who are currently making a deep playoff run.

With the addition of a few free agents, the Cubs could make a playoff push in 2023.

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