It has been a while since Cubs fans were truly satisfied after an offseason of work. Since the addition of Yu Darvish, which came early in the spring of 2018, it was nearly four years before the Cubs once again dipped into free agency and came away with what one would describe as a top-tier addition.

Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki were the start of a process that most fans likely felt wasn’t nearly aggressive or quick enough. That calculated build-up continued this winter with Cody Bellinger, Dansby Swanson, Jameson Taillon, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer, Tucker Barnhart and Brad Boxberger among the primary additions.

It wasn’t the home-run offseason some may have been aching for, but it’s clear the Cubs are attempting to turn the corner from rebuild to contention. With six teams — the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Atlanta — looked at as the clear front-runners to make the postseason in 2023, this is likely an uphill climb for the Cubs. Still, what they’ve done is set a floor for a team that had far too many depth issues and holes in the lineup.

But just because they’ve set a floor, doesn’t mean there aren’t a large variety of potential outcomes. With the help of The Athletic’s Eno Sarris, we can look at some of the position players whose potential outcomes could have the biggest impact, good or bad, on what direction this season goes for the Cubs.

Take it away, Eno!

Volatility is not all bad! A team full of average guys who were also not volatile should produce an average team most years. But fill that same team with volatile players, and there would also be much better, luckier years where it all came together. So the players on the Cubs who are the most volatile by this description might actually be the guys driving a good year in Wrigley by hitting the top end of their projections.

Thanks to Dan Szymborski and his ZiPS projection system, we can take a look at which Cubs, projected for at least 300 plate appearances, have the widest disparity between their 80th-percentile and 20th-percentile projections. 

One of the biggest sources of volatility when it comes to projections is a lack of track record in the major leagues. Sure, Seiya Suzuki has a season under his belt, and a bunch of time in Japan’s NPB, which systems can fairly easily translate into big league numbers — but not every player that comes over from Japan with similar numbers produces the same way in America.