The Chicago Cubs hopes for the 2023 season may rest on Marcus Stroman.
He had been brought in to help stabilize the Cubs’ rotation during the previous offseason serving as their nominal ace. Stroman did have a solid enough first season in Chicago, posting a 3.50 ERA and a 1.147 WHiP over his 138.2 innings, but that was not what the Cubs had in mind. They needed him to take another step forward if they were going to contend.
A sign of hope for Marcus Stroman and Chicago Cubs
But there are signs that Stroman can be that pitcher for the Cubs. He had a stellar second half, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 1.105 WHiP over 91.1 innings in his final 16 starts of the season, striking out 74 batters with 24 walks. Stroman held the opposition to a .226/.283/.343 batting line over 371 plate appearances in that time frame, numbers that would make Stroman a solid top of the rotation arm.
It is reasonable to expect that the Cubs will be better in 2023. They improved their defense, added depth to the rotation, and brought pieces in to shore up their bullpen. Their statement that they were reloading instead of rebuilding is starting to look like reality. But it all comes back to whether or not they have the pieces needed atop their rotation.
That brings it all back to Stroman. He is still atop the Cubs depth chart and is projected to be their Opening Day starter. Even with Jameson Taillon and Drew Smyly being part of the rotation, it is Stroman’s staff. The Cubs need him to be the top of the rotation arm they signed him to be. If his final 16 outings are any indication, that should happen this year.
The Chicago Cubs are eyeing a return to contention in 2023. It may come down to whether or not Marcus Stroman can build on his strong ending to last season.