The Chicago Cubs are only three years removed from their first World Series Championship in 108 years. Since then, the team has changed significantly. After missing the playoffs, they come in at number 18 in my rankings.
The Cubs lineup is loaded. Javier Baez has been outstanding in the past two seasons and he has silenced his doubters with his unorthodox style at the plate. Kris Bryant was the subject of trade rumors this offseason but he’s likely staying in Chicago. Anthony Rizzo had another productive year at first base and Nico Hoerner began to showcase his potential when he came up to the big leagues last season. They did lose Nicholas Castellanos to free agency but the team can slot Jason Heyward right back into the lineup in his place.
The pitching rotation is solid as well. Led by Jon Lester who, while somewhat declining, is still a very efficient pitcher. Yu Darvish came back into form after a poor debut season in the Windy City. Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana are also very solid options for the rotation.
The bullpen is another story. It’s basically Craig Kimbrel and that’s it. Kimbrel is coming off his worst season as a professional. He’ll need to step it up if the Cubs want to be successful.
The farm system sn’t very good, ranked 26th by Bleacher Report. Nico Hoerner is their top prospect but he’s already in the major leagues. Other than him, there isn’t anyone of note. This team is all in on winning right now until the core breaks apart.
Overall, I think the Cubs could make a post season run, but I’m still not sure if their bullpen will be able to guide them so success. For now, I have them missing the playoffs as the 18th best team in baseball.
Top Acquisition – Steven Souza Jr.
Biggest loss – Nicholas Castellanos
MVP – Javier Baez
Projected Finish – 3rd in NL Central
Ian Happ, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, SS
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Willson Contreras, C
Jason Heyward, RF
Nico Hoerner, 2B
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