Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Bold Predictions for the starting rotation

jfrancis
Jul 12, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League players from the Chicago Cubs on left Dexter Fowler , Ben Zobrist , Jake Arrieta , Addison Russell , Kris Bryant , Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo before the 2016 MLB All Star Game at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 12, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League players from the Chicago Cubs on left Dexter Fowler , Ben Zobrist , Jake Arrieta , Addison Russell , Kris Bryant , Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo before the 2016 MLB All Star Game at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Surprise performance

Last year, we witnessed a surprise performance from Jason Hammel. Winning 15 games and having an ERA under 3.00 for a good portion of the season was not expected. Over the years, he showed flashes of ability, but not consistently. There were always games that left us shaking our heads.

The Cubs may not know who the fifth starter will be for this year, but the candidates should perform well. Again, the offense and defense will help. However, I expect Manager Joe Maddon to rest starters toward the end of the season. This means using a sixth starter. While there are options on the team to fill that role, the surprise will come from the minors.

Who? Oscar de la Cruz or Caleb Smith. Both have great potential. However, de la Cruz already possesses three plus pitches: a fastball that reached 96 MPH, curveball, and a changeup that keeps hitters off balance. Should he stay healthy, he may well be the sixth starter at the end of the season.

Next: What should we expect from Cactus League play?

These are merely predictions and are bold. Will they happen? Maybe. Or maybe not. A better offense and solid defense will help. That makes everything plausible.

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