Michael Busch Has Been a Huge Addition for the Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs needed someone to step up, and so far Michael Busch has been that guy, and he is making a case for the Rookie of the Year.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 05: Michael Busch #29 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning at Wrigley Field on April 05, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs had a lot of needs to fill during the offseason. One of those needs was first base, and they filled it by trading for Michael Busch. It seems they have made the right move as Michael Busch is beginning to look like an early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

The trade for Michael Busch was a big one. Chicago did not quite know how good he would be, but they knew he had a lot of potential. This was evident by the prospects they had to give up just to acquire Busch from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Busch does seem to be living up to the hype, though. He has become a regular at first base and in the lineup, and should be an everyday player moving forward.

Michael Busch in 2023 with the Dodgers

Busch was called up by the Dodgers, but did not live up to what he was able to do at Triple-A. In 27 games with Los Angeles, Busch hit just .167/.247/.292 with two home runs, and seven RBI. Along with that, Busch had an OPS of just .539, and wOBA of .241.

Needless to say, Busch had a season to forget in 2023.

Ad – content continues below

Along with those stats, Busch found the barrel just 6.5 percent of the time, had an average exit velocity under 90 mph, and his strikeout rate was 33.3 percent. With those numbers, it is easy to see why Busch had such a low batting average and OPS.

On the defensive side of the ball, Busch played mainly third base, but had some time at second, and first base. He did have his misfortunes at the hot corner, though. His OAA was -4, and had a 61 percent success rate. In total, Busch had a 63 percent success rate at all three positions combined. He did not live up to the standards set in Los Angeles, but the change of scenery was good for him

Michael Busch in 2024 with the Cubs

Busch became an instant hit in Chicago. In fact, Busch hit his first home run as a Cub against his former team at Wrigley Field, which had to feel good. On the season so far, Busch has played 17 games, hit six home runs, driven in 12, and his OPS is north of 1.000.

Even more impressively, Busch has a wOBA of .453, a 20.5 barrel percentage, an average exit velocity just over 93 mph, and his strikeout rate is down while his walk rate has gone up. The Cubs have done something right with Busch as all of his numbers have improved in his short time with the team.

One more impressive accomplishment for Busch was what he just did. From April 10-15, Busch homered in every single game. His five-game home run streak was the fifth time someone has done that in Chicago Cubs history.

Unfortunately, Busch’s streak of home runs ended with an 0-for-4 day in the second game against Arizona, but his impact has still been made.

Ad – content continues below

Defensively, Busch has played exclusively at first base. He holds an OAA of zero, but his success rate is at 72 percent. This is two percent higher than estimated success rate, so he has been playing well at the position. He seems to have become the everyday first baseman for the Cubs, and it is now his job to lose.

Michael Busch Impact with the Cubs in 2024

With all his success, Busch has made a massive impact with the Cubs. Of course there is the hitting side of things, and his defensive metrics are not half bad. However, the most important impact he has made is stability. Busch has given the Cubs someone they can trust and play at first base everyday, rather than platoon a bunch of different players.

In 2023, the Cubs used five different players at first base. Three of those players are no longer with the team, and one is in Iowa with the Triple-A team. The other is Cody Bellinger, and he is now the full-time center fielder for Chicago.

The Cubs needed someone that can step up and play over 100 games at first base for them. Busch is on track to play more than that, and play it well. With him becoming the player he is, it is just one less thing Craig Counsell and the Cubs have to worry about.

Michael Busch Rookie of the Year Case

We have had a look at all the good Busch has done in 2024 so far. With that success, Busch has now made a strong case to put himself at the top of the Rookie of the Year race. He started the season at +2000, according to BetMGM. However, Busch is now at +500 to win the Rookie of the Year award in the National League.

He has a lot of competition as there are plenty of talented rookies making a name for themselves, but Busch being in the conversation alone is an accomplishment. If he were to win the award, he would be the sixth Cubs player to do it, and first since Kris Bryant in 2015.

Ad – content continues below

Oh, and nobody on the Just Baseball staff picked Busch to win the award, not even myself.

Michael Busch has been excellent this season, but it has only been 17 games. Baseball is an up-and-down sport, so the chances of him keeping this pace the whole season are small. Despite that, Busch has shown the type of player he is, and it turns out to be a very good one. Not only that, but he is just the player the Cubs needed to man the first base position.