State of the Cubs: Where roster stands in right field 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: Right Field
1. Seiya Suzuki
2. Jason Heyward
3. Clint Frazier
4. Harold Ramírez
The biggest signing the Cubs made after the lockout is locking up Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a 5-year deal.
In 9 years in Japan, the righty has slashed .309/.402/.541 with 189 home runs. Last season, he hit .317 with 38 home runs. Suzuki won 3 Gold Gloves in Japan and was a 4-time All-Star.
“He has the ability as a power hitter, he makes really good swing decisions and doesn’t swing and miss a lot,” Hoyer said at Suzuki’s introductory press conference Friday. “That’s a really good place to start. He also plays really good defense in right field and has a strong arm; he’s a good baserunner. In some ways, the entirety of the game. … That’s a really good package to translate to the game over here.”
While it’s unlikely that Suzuki can replicate those numbers in his first season in the big leagues, his skillset could be a boon for the Cubs. The Cubs used 12 different players in right field last season and they slashed a combined .235/.307/.402 with 22 home runs.
Heyward should still get opportunities in right, especially in right-handed pitching matchups. However, he has been doing drills in center and has expressed his willingness to play wherever the team needs him.
Frazier and Ramírez provide depth at the position. Greg Diechmann, whom the Cubs acquired for Andrew Chafin before the trade deadline, played 7 games in right last season and could see time there again this season.
The Cubs have plenty of outfield depth in the minors with Brennen Davis, Nelson Velázquez, Alexander Canario and others.
It’s clear the present and future of the right field position for the Chicago Cubs is Suzuki. At 27, Suzuki should just be entering his prime and if he can replicate some of his success, the Cubs should be set at the position for years to come.