Chicago Cubs: Our staff makes their predictions for the 2017 campaign
By Jake Misener
Cubs win the Central; Bryant wins another MVP Award
And now for my own personal thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season.
For the first time in years, I’m not sure what to expect. The end goal has always been winning a championship – and it’s not like that changes once you’ve won one. But it’s hard to temper expectations after winning 103 wins and bringing home a World Series title.
That being said, there are scarcely a handful of scenarios that result in this team missing the postseason. Most importantly, the Cubs need to stay healthy. The club was remarkably injury-free last year (minus Schwarber) and it helped them make a smooth run at a division title.
In 2017, Chicago will take a step backwards – albeit a small one. Joe Maddon’s club will win the Central, but will suffer four more losses than in 2016, finishing the year at 99-63.
Kris Bryant will win his second-straight National League MVP Award – becoming only the second Cubs player to win back-to-back honors, along with Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. He’ll also smack 45 homers and drive in 125 runs, leading the offensive charge for the team.
As for Jason Heyward, I think he bats around .250. This is the one regard in which I have managed to temper my expectations. Even if he hits at that clip, he brings immense value on and off the field. He’s the best defensive corner outfielder in Major League Baseball and his leadership is immeasurable.