3 Surprising Cubs Players Who Could Come Up Big in 2020

Jason Schandl
Cubs breakout players for 2020, including Duane Underwood Jr..
Cubs breakout players for 2020, including Duane Underwood Jr.. / Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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The Chicago Cubs are in a tricky spot heading into the 2020 season. They're flush with talent, but they have a bunch of contracts set to expire soon, and they could very well be sellers at the trade deadline.

Needing to keep an eye on the future to avoid having to blow it up for a total rebuild, the Cubs are likely going to be looking for some new players to step up in 2020. These three breakout candidates could do just that.

1. Duane Underwood Jr.

Duane Underwood Jr. during a 2019 game against the Reds.
Duane Underwood Jr. during a 2019 game against the Reds. / Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Duane Underwood Jr. made multiple major league appearances for the first time in 2020, and he played a heck of a lot better than his 5.40 ERA might have you believe. He fanned 25.5 percent of the hitters he faced while only walking 5.9 percent, and he forced soft contact on 23.5 percent of the batted-balls he allowed. That translated to a stellar 3.38 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). That came in just 12 games (11 2/3 innings), but getting in a bigger sample of action in 2020 could allow his production to more closely reflect those impressive underlying numbers.

2. Ian Happ

Ian Happ during a spring training game against the Rangers.
Ian Happ during a spring training game against the Rangers. / Ralph Freso/Getty Images

You could make an argument that Ian Happ has already broken out, but it's hard to say he's really lived up to the hype, or reached the levels he appears to have the potential to hit. He had his most impressive season in 2019, notching a career-best .368 weighted on-base average (wOBA), but he only played 58 games. The Cubs need Happ to sustain that level of production for an entire season if they want him to be the potential franchise cornerstone that they drafted him as in 2015.

3. Robel Garcia

Robel Garcia during a spring training game against Cleveland.
Robel Garcia during a spring training game against Cleveland. / Norm Hall/Getty Images

Robel Garcia tore up the minors in 2019. He played in 22 Double-A games, notching a .437 wOBA. He posted a .385 wOBA while going yard 21 times in 76 Triple-A games. His wOBA fell to just .315 in his 80 MLB games, but he was crushing baseballs. Among Cubs hitters with at least 25 batted balls on the year, none hit barrels on a higher percentage than Garcia (15.8 percent). He had a staggeringly high 43.8 percent strikeout rate in the big leagues, but if he can get his discipline in check, his powerful bat gives him a ton of upside.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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