MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs collected plenty of postseason awards last year, including the coveted World Series trophy. The emphasis this spring has been on the team, but, looking ahead to this season, what individual honors could Cubs players capture?The Cubs have the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs collected plenty of postseason awards last year, including the coveted World Series trophy. The emphasis this spring has been on the team, but, looking ahead to this season, what individual honors could Cubs players capture?
The Cubs have the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner in Jacob Arrieta, and batterymates Jonathan Lester and Kyle Hendricks finished second and third, respectively, in 2016. Any one of those three could win the top pitching award in 2017. The Cubs' five starters are vying for 200 innings each.
Arrieta likes to hit, and won his first Silver Slugger Award last year, hitting .262 with two home runs. This spring, he belted a 465-foot homer in his first at-bat. He's ready.
Jason Heyward has won four Gold Glove Awards. Why not make it five? Anthony Rizzo won his first Gold Glove Award last year, impressing the Major Leagues with his acrobatic play when he jumped on top of the wall along first base to make a catch. He's also jumped over the tarp. What will Rizzo do next?
Rizzo finished fourth in the NL Most Valuable Player voting, which teammate Kristopher Bryant won. Rizzo batted .292, the same as Bryant, and finished with seven fewer home runs and seven more RBIs. Could Rizzo claim MVP?
The biggest question is what will Bryant win? He won top collegiate honors at the University of San Diego in 2013, was named the Minor League Player of the Year in 2014, then won NL Rookie of the Year in '15 before capturing the MVP honors last year. He'd like a Gold Glove Award, although it will be tough to unseat four-time winner Nolan Arenado.
Addison Russell also has played standout defense at shortstop, but it will be difficult to win the Gold Glove Awards over two-time winner Brandon Crawford of the Giants.
The one award that most Cubs fans feel is a lock would be Comeback Player of the Year for Kyle Schwarber. The outfielder tore two ligaments in his left knee in the third game of the regular season last year and was able to come back and be the designated hitter in the World Series. Schwarber may be wearing a brace this year, but that's the only reminder of the injury.
Schwarber is the third catcher on the Cubs' depth chart, but he'll be starting in left field the majority of the time.
"I'm ready to roll, really excited for Game 1," Schwarber said. "I can't wait to get back out there and play again."
Of course, the Cubs wouldn't mind adding another trophy either.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.