Chicago Cubs: Fangraphs projects them for most wins in 2016
After a trip to the NLCS, the Chicago Cubs made some moves that appear to have them ready to compete again in 2016. According to Fangraphs, they’re projected to post the most wins in baseball.
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I’m not real big on getting into preseason projections, especially when it isn’t really preseason yet. So much can happen or change before teams break camp. But with pitchers and catchers reporting soon, it’s hard not to want to start talking 2016 expectations. With the additions the Cubs have made,
them for a 95 win season, the most in baseball. Too soon? Eh, let’s not be pessimistic just yet.
Last season, the Sporting News predicted the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series. Maybe they got caught up in the Back to the Future excitement. But in the end, they did a better job than Sports Illustrated that picked the Cleveland Indians. Last year’s team was ahead of schedule by most assessments, and the improvements made along with the development of several rookies makes these projections look legitimate.
Looking around the diamond, the Cubs have a player forecasted for a 2.0+ WAR at five positions, six if you count starting pitchers (All five projected starters have a 2.0 or better). Miguel Montero just misses behind the plate with 1.9. Kyle Schwarber projects with a 1.8, and Jorge Soler a 1.3 in right field. Both could exceed those projections. Soler will need to stay healthy, and Schwarber just needs to make some adjustments and improve his defense.
The Cubs’ bullpen will have a new look, with a few standards locked in. Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop will lock down the back-end. Adam Warren‘s role is to be determined, but his versatility should be a huge benefit. Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill re-energized their careers and will look to help solidify the middle of the pen, as well as seeing a spot start occasionally.
Javier Baez figures to be a person of interest this season–as if he isn’t already. He continues to be mentioned in what trade rumors remain involving the Cubs. If he isn’t traded, his ability to play the entire infield–and possibly center field as he works out there this winter–makes him the new Ben Zobrist. The original will take over second base duties while moving around to spell others at times.
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Again, these type of projections are way too early. Trades, other acquisitions, injury, etc. can all affect these forecasts. But with what Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have added, it’s hard not to get at least a little bit excited when you see things like this.