Chicago Cubs: Despite flashy additions by Brewers, Cubs still reign in Central

"W Flag" -(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
"W Flag" -(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

 A corner infield duo to remember

To say that the corner infield duo of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant
are good is a severe understatement. In fact, to say this pair is excellent is still not enough praise to the job these two have done for the team.

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Since he stepped into the full-time first base role in 2013, Anthony Rizzo has been a Top-5 player. Over that span he has been worth 22.1 total Wins Above Replacement, averaging 30 home runs and 90 runs batted per year in that span. With Rizzo you know you will get consistent production, especially since he does not miss many games.

Kris Bryant has also been arguably the best third basemen in the game since making his debut. Since his call-up in 2015 Bryant has been worth, a total of 21.5 Wins Above Replacement, winning Rookie of the Year. In 2016 he added hardware to his collection, as he took home the Most Valuable Player award after posting a .292/.385/.554 line with 39 home runs and a 146 wRC+. Behind Mike Trout, Kris Bryant may be the best player in baseball.

Return, and emergence

The Brewers took a chance on former journeyman Eric Thames upon his return from Korea in 2017 and signed him to a major league contract. They also acquired for Boston third basemen, Travis Shaw. One returned while one emerged.

Thames started the year on fire, at one point homering in five straight ballgames. In the first two weeks of the season, he slugged .921. Ultimately he cooled way off batting just .246 with eight home runs in the second half. Thames also posted a 29.6 K%. Despite his low average he still surprisingly found himself worth 2.1 Wins Above Replacement and slugged .516, which set a career high.

Travis Shaw consequently found his swing in 2017 as well. Shaw slashed .273/.349/.513 on his way to a career-high 3.4 Wins Above Replacement, besting his previous two seasons combined while in Boston. Shaw also posted a career-high wRC+ of 119.

By and large, the duo of Rizzo and Bryant is untouchable. To logically compare the likes of Travis Shaw and Eric Thames is insulting to baseball fans everywhere.

Verdict: Cubs in a landslide