Chicago Cubs All-Decade Team
With the 2019 season wrapped up for the Chicago Cubs, it’s also the end of a decade. Allowing us to take a look back at the best performances for the “North-Siders” in the past ten years. Chicago fans saw it all this decade, the team began with five losing seasons, before the addition of Joe Maddon. Then they rounded the last half of the decade with five straight winning seasons and four separate playoff appearances.
Overall, this decade will probably be remembered the most fondly, as the team finally won a World Series, in 2016. They also made three NLCS’ during this stretch. It’s easy to see the improvements made within the organization, throughout the 2010’s. With these successes, there is plenty of talented players to offer for the 25-man, All-Decade team roster. The only rule being, no player can be represented more than once. So, without further ado, here is the Chicago Cubs All-Decade team.
Starting Pitcher: Jake Arrieta (2015)
Jake Arrieta spent five seasons with the Cubs this decade. He had a historic year in 2015, in which he won a Cy Young award. The star pitcher finished with a total of 22 wins, and 1.77 ERA. He struck out 236 batters in 33 starts. Arrieta also threw his first no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His impact was clear, as he often out-performed new addition, Jon Lester. It was the first year this decade that the Chicago Cubs made the playoffs. A pitching rotation led by Jake Arrieta took the team to the NLCS. With an 8.3 WAR and a 0.865 WHIP, it was the best season for a Cubs pitcher in the 2010’s.
Relief Pitcher: Wade Davis (2017)
2017 marked Wade Davis‘ third straight All-Star appearance and his first as a Chicago Cub. Davis was added to the roster to replace elite closer, Aroldis Chapman, who left for the New York Yankees. In his only season with the team, Davis didn’t disappoint.
In this particular season, the Cubs closer totaled 58.2 innings pitched with 32 saves. He only allowed 39 hits in 242 batters faced. Fastball reliant, Wade Davis, had 79 strikeouts and a team-leading 2.30 ERA.
Catcher: Willson Contreras (2019)
This is a position that the Cubs were struggling to fill, after the departure of long-time catcher, Geovany Soto. Breakout star, Willson Contreras filled this role well. This season he hit .272/.355/.533 in 409 plate appearances.
Additionally, he had career highs in home runs and runs scored, with 24 and 57 respectively. While Miguel Montero might have the most important knock by a catcher for Chicago this decade, Contreras secured the overall best season performance. Look for this young gun behind home plate in the seasons to come.
First Base: Anthony Rizzo (2016)
Anthony Rizzo was a no-brainer selection here, it was just a matter of which season was his best. Ultimately, his 2016 campaign stands out the most, when he hit a slash line of .292/.385/.544. The left-handed slugger finished fourth in the MVP voting, won by his teammate Kris Bryant.
However, he did beat out Bryant in a very important category, finishing with a team-high, 109 RBI. Rizzo also won his first Gold Glove award and a Silver Slugger, for being the best offensive first baseman in baseball. He’s been the role-model for consistency over the past decade and will go down as a Chicago Cub’s legend.
Second Base: Javier Baez (2018)
Javier Baez is a shortstop now, but in the 2018 season, he played 104 games at second base. This was his best season as a Cub. The free-swinging batter led the league in RBI with 111 total. Baez hit .290/.326/.881, all career highs.
In fact, his play in 2018 was so incredible, that nearly every stat he accumulated was a career-best. The Cubs second baseman at the time finished second in the MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger award. Javier Baez truly lived up to the nickname, “El Mago”, during that amazing run.
Third Base: Kris Bryant (2016)
The second half of the “Bryzzo Souvenir Company” has made the All-Decade roster. Kris Bryant had a fantastic 2016 season leading to an NL MVP award. In, his second year with the Cubs he batted .292/.385/.554.
Bryant led the league in runs scored with 121 and had an impressive OPS at .939. The MVP was also able to draw 75 walks, this being just one year after he led the NL in strikeouts. Chicago enjoyed watching their young star takeover the MLB, on their way to a World Series championship.
Shortstop: Addison Russell (2016)
Yet another player from the championship team has made the roster, this time it’s Addison Russell. Russell was a mainstay at shortstop in 2016, while Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist shared time at second. Russell batted .238/.321/.417.
It was yet another All-Star performance by a Cubs player. His 95 RBI was third on the historic team. Most of his statistics from 2016 are career highs, including his 21 home runs and 125 hits. Chicago acquired Russell via trade in 2014, when he was just a prospect — I’d say they have little regrets, based solely on his production.
Outfielders: Dexter Fowler (2016), Alfonso Soriano (2012), Kyle Schwarber (2019)
Dexter Fowler was a prototypical lead-off hitter, with the ability to get on and steal bases. He raked up 126 hits, 79 walks, and 11 HBP to have a career-high, .393 OBP. This is one of the most important statistics for lead-off batters, Fowler was able to score 84 runs this season after reaching. Since his departure, the Chicago Cubs have struggled to fill the void at the top of the order.
Up next, we have the seasoned veteran, Alfonso Soriano. He played 16 years with four different teams. Some of his best seasons were in the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field. In 2012, he hit 32 home runs and had a surprisingly career-high 108 RBI — at age 36! Soriano also batted .262/.322/.499. Chicago probably wishes they got the outfielder earlier in his very productive career.
To round out the starters is, Kyle Schwarber. The slugger had a sneaky good season this year, that got overshadowed by the Cub’s misfortunes. He is known for his power at the plate and he didn’t disappoint with a team-leading 38 homers. He also managed to bat .250/.339/.531, all personal bests. If, Chicago was in a better position among the standings, Schwarber’s performance would’ve been watched more closely.
- CF – Dexter Fowler
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 3B – Kris Bryant
- 2B – Javier Baez
- RF – Alfonso Soriano
- LF – Kyle Schwarber
- C – Willson Contreras
- SS – Addison Russell
- P – Jake Arrieta
- C – Geovany Soto (2010)
- 1B – Derek Lee (2010)
- 2B – Ben Zobrist (2016)
- 3B – Aramis Ramirez (2011)
- SS – Starlin Castro (2011)
- OF – Jason Heyward (2019)
- Jake Arrieta (2015)
- Jon Lester (2016)
- Kyle Hendricks (2016)
- Jeff Samardzija (2011)
- Matt Garza (2013)
- Wade Davis (2017)
- Carlos Marmol (2010)
- Aroldis Chapman (2016)
- Pedro Strop (2018)
- Hector Rondon (2015)
A major turnaround can be seen throughout this decade, with the Chicago Cubs finally achieving the ultimate goal in 2016. After, seeing how the team panned out, it’s crazy to see how good the championship team actually was — with 12 total players off that historic roster, making this hypothetical All-Decade team. It may also attest to the early struggles to begin the 2010’s for the franchise, but luckily for the Cub fans, it looks like more success could be headed their way to begin the 2020’s.