Chicago Cubs: FanGraphs predicts a 99-win Cubs season


As if the North Side of Chicago needed another reason to count down the days until Opening Day at Angel Stadium, ESPN’s stat-focused website FiveThirtyEight released an article Friday with the numbers backed prediction that the Chicago Cubs should win 99 wins next year.

The article, written by Neil Paine, used FanGraphs to predict that the Cubs will produce 52.6 Wins Above Replacement collectively. Using some math equation that goes beyond my knowledge, they pair that with the 2,430 wins possible per MLB season and come to the conclusion that the Cubs should win 99 wins in the 2016 season. 

Which is a lot. Paine called the number “ridiculously high.”

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The 99 wins put the Cubs at a 15% chance to win the whole thing in 2016. For fear of jinxing the Cubs like FiveThirtyEight “admitted” to during the NLCS, the article mainly focused on the 85% chance the Cubs won’t win it all.

Going by pure percentages, each team has a 3.33% chance of winning if every team was evenly matched with one another. The Cubs chances are five times that, giving fans, even more, hope and confidence heading into the 2016 campaign.

While 85% is monstrous compared to 15%, it’s hard to receive a better chance this early before the season. The additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey had a collective 13.4 WAR last season which spells good things for the Cubs next season. 

The departure of Cub favorite Starlin Castro though takes away 0.6 wins making the total difference for next year 12.8 wins.

That’s a substantial difference to a team that won 97 games in 2015 without the extra help. Does that mean the 2016 Chicago Cubs are going to go 109-53?

Of course not. While anything is possible, it’s simply way to early to make assumptions based on one site’s prediction in December. Besides, lots of free agents are still available. Other teams can still improve.

It’s still pretty reassuring to know that your Cubbies are the best team in baseball. On paper. Four months before the season starts. Hey, it’s something.

But what say you Cubbieland? Is 15% nothing to get excited about? Is it way too early to be thinking World Series? Is it really only 111 days until Opening Day?

No matter, something’s got to occupy our time until Cubs Con.