Chicago Cubs: Your way too early 2018 season predictions

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Chatwood shines, Morrow stellar for Cubs 

Many predicted Alex Cobb would be Chicago’s first major offseason acquisition. An even larger group of lifelong fans (present company included) prayed Chicago would win the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.

Instead, Epstein took a three-year, $38 million leap of faith on Tyler Chatwood. The right-hander owns an abysmal 4.31 career ERA. Fans scratched their heads, looked at his solid ground ball rate and agreed Theo made the right choice. When you take him out of Coors Field, he actually performed well last year. Everyone missed the fact he’s a .217 career hitter (that translates to a .300 hitter if playing every day).

So many of you wonder if Chicago is where bad pitchers turn great. The best example of this? 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta. The righty was just 27 years old when he split 2013 between Baltimore and Chicago.

Comparisons between Chatwood, Arrieta?

And, to be blunt, there’s a stark contract between his performance with the O’s and that with the Cubs. Arrieta’s best season in Baltimore: 10-8, 5.05 ERA. Arrieta’s worst season in Chicago: 14-10, 3.53 ERA.

Tyler Chatwood just turned 28, so there’s optimism left here.

Arrieta’s age 28 season (with Chicago): 10-5, 2.53 ERA which accompanied his still-career best 9.6 K/9. Kind of hard not to draw some pretty lofty assumptions about Chatwood knowing this.

Chatwood will shine, given his new pitching coach has groomed Cobb, Alex Colome and Chris Archer into great young stars. I’m guess a 13-9 clip, a mid-3.00 ERA and around a strikeout per inning.

As for Brandon Morrow, I believe his stuff is best suited for rough sixth innings or a secondary setup role behind Carl Edwards. He’ll keep his ERA below 3.00, but I think he’ll shine a bit later in the year as opposed to right off the bat.