Chicago Cubs’ 5 Most Irreplaceable Players Right Now

The Chicago Cubs' 5 Most Irreplaceable Players Right Now

Jeff Samardzija
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes it can be difficult to find positives to say about a team that has an 18-29 record, the second-worst in baseball. Nevertheless, the Cubs have a surprising amount of talent despite their dismal record and characteristic collapses. Here are the Cubs’ most irreplaceable players who are invaluable to the North Siders at the moment.

5. Mike Olt

Mike Olt
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

5. Mike Olt

Mike Olt
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to get distracted by the fact that Mike Olt is indeed hitting just .175 on the season. However, he leads the Cubs in RBIs with 25 and home runs with nine. Seventeen of those RBIs came with runners in scoring position, showing a tendency to deliver when the opportunity presents itself. But Olt’s days as the Cubs’ regular third baseman could dwindle, especially if he doesn't improve his batting average and given the rise of Kris Bryant.

4. Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

4. Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Rizzo became fully entrenched as the Cubs’ long-term first baseman after he signed a seven-year, million contract in May of 2013. His numbers that season weren’t much to look at, turning 2014 into a sort of redemption year for the almost 25-year-old. This season looks much better, with Rizzo posting a .263/.399/.443 slash line. He also has 23 RBIs and eight home runs to his name, reaffirming the faith of the Cubs’ brass and fans.

3. Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

3. Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Chicago newcomer Jason Hammel came in as a question mark after missing part of the 2013 season with an injury while playing for the Baltimore Orioles. Hammel quickly emerged as a strong third starter who anchors the rotation from the middle. In nine starts in 2014, Hammel is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA 0.90 WHIP.

2. Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

2. Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Like Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro also had a 2013 to forget, but seems to be using his 2014 to once again prove himself. Castro hit .317 in April, but cooled off significantly in May. Nevertheless, he’s still hitting .274 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.

1. Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

1. Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Samardzija is having a career season despite being winless in 10 starts. His 1.46 ERA leads baseball, and his 1.09 WHIP ranks 11th in the National League. It’s a travesty that Samardzija doesn’t have any wins to show for all of his efforts. The Cubs’ rotation as a whole ranks eighth in baseball with a 3.57 ERA, and credit Samardzija for his huge contribution. He will more than likely be traded come July, but is still a valuable Cub now.

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