Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs finalize 2016 Opening Day roster

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Jul 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Compared to last season, the Cubs’ 1-3 starting pitchers in 2016 look to be a formidable group, starting with Jake Arrieta. Coming off of winning the Cy Young award in 2015, Arrieta is the clear cut ace of this year’s staff, taking the role from Jon Lester, who was the ace coming out of spring training last season.

Speaking of Lester, Arrieta being the clear cut ace is no slight to him, as he is still the same workhorse, ace and winner that he was last season. Realistically, Arrieta is the 1A. in the rotation, with Lester being 1B. Both are dominant guys who represent one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball.

Rounding out the top of the rotation is John Lackey, another workhorse who had a 2.76 ERA as a 36-year-old last season. He is being counted on to bring experience and leadership to a young team, as well as another strong season like 2015.

Next: Lester hits two-run homer vs Rockies

After these three pitchers is where things get interesting. Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks both had up-and-down seasons in 2015, especially the former. Hammel had a 2.86 ERA before the All-Star Break last season but struggled to a 5.10 ERA afterward. The Cubs need him to deliver a complete season, not just one-half of one.

All in all, though, Hammel and Hendricks should have better seasons in 2016 simply because they are in less stressful spots in the rotation. Below is this year’s starting staff, with their 2015 stats included.

Starting Pitchers:

1. Arrieta: 33 starts, 229.0 IP, 22-6, 1.77 ERA, 236 SO

2. Lester: 32 starts, 205.0 IP, 11-12, 3.34 ERA, 207 SO

3. Lackey: 33 starts, 218.0 IP, 13-10, 2.77 ERA, 175 SO

4. Hammel: 31 starts, 170.2 IP, 10-7, 3.74 ERA, 171 SO

5. Hendricks: 32 starts, 180 IP, 8-7, 3.95 ERA, 167 SO

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