State of the Cubs: Where roster stands at first base in 2022 and beyond
With the lockout over and Spring Training kicking into gear, the focus shifts to the Cubs’ roster. Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins and the rest of the front office still have some holes to fill before the first regular season game on April 7.
We break down the organizational depth chart at each position post-lockout and what to expect in 2022 and beyond.
Next up: First base
1. Frank Schwindel
2. Alfonso Rivas
3. Patrick Wisdom
Frank Schwindel took his opportunity and ran with it. Now, he’ll be rewarded for it.
After a strong ending to his 2021 campaign, Schwindel will enter Spring Training as the front-runner for the Cubs’ Opening Day starter at first. Slashing .342/.389/.613 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI across 56 games will earn you that opportunity.
Schwindel, who was named the NL Rookie of the Month the last two months of the season, started his Cubs career under the radar. After the trade deadline that saw the Cubs wheeling and dealing players, Schwindel was called up to the big league roster. He made his first start on Aug. 3 and cemented his role, hitting safely in all but 4 games that month.
“Watching the way he played, the energy he had, the way he grinded his at-bats, the ability to hit for power without striking out much was really special and I couldn’t be more happy for him in his situation to go out and prove it the way he did,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said in his end-of-season press conference in the fall. “I’m not gonna make out lineups or anoint different guys at different positions but you know, certainly excited he’s on our team for next year and I think he’ll play a big role.”
Alfonso Rivas should see time at first base this season, too. Acquired in January 2020 for Tony Kemp, Rivas flashed potential in his 18 games with the Cubs last season. He hit .318 with a .797 OPS in that time before a finger injury ended his season prematurely.
Patrick Wisdom started 8 games at first base and with his versatility, can cover the position if needed.
Schwindel is under team control through 2027 and if he can sustain his success from his strong end to 2021, could prove to be a real diamond-in-the-rough find for the Cubs. Rivas was the A’s 4th round pick in 2018 and is only 25. The Cubs also acquired first baseman Bryce Ball in the Joc Pederson trade. He spent the 2021 season at High-A South Bend after the trade.
Schwindel will have the opportunity to prove that his strong ending to 2021 was no fluke. He should be the team’s Opening Day first baseman and will look to build on the strong finish he had.