Chicago Cubs: Despite flashy additions by Brewers, Cubs still reign in Central
By Logan Whaley
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Schwarber, Heyward need to find their swing for the Cubs
Despite batting just .211 last season, Kyle Schwarber still managed 30 home runs and 1.5 Wins Above Replacement. Notwithstanding, it is immediate Schwarber return to form in 2018.
Arguably 2017 was Schwaber’s first full season in the majors. He played 69 games after his call-up in 2015, but only played two games in 2016 before tearing his ACL and MCL in his knee. He did make a surprisingly heroic return in time for October and was a catalyst in helping the Cubs to their first world title in 108 years.
According to Fangraphs, Schwarber is projected for 1.9 Wins Above Replacement in 2018 so with this in mind it is imperative he can return to form.
Jason Heyward is another important piece for 2018. Heyward has been worth only 2.4 Wins Above Replacement since joining the Cubs in 2015. What he has lacked in offense, expressly, he more than makes up with his gold-glove caliber defense and his public speaking. His infamous speech before the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series will carry a mystical allure with it as one of the all-time greatest.
It is essential to remember speeches don’t produce statistical results, and the Cubs need J-Hey to be a driving force in the line-up.
Heyward is capable of a productive season. His 27 home runs in 2012 were a career high, and Cubs fans hope he returns to that form.
Currently, Albert Almora is the best outfielder the Chicago Cubs have. In 2017, Almora slashed .298/.338/.445 posting 1.2 Wins Above Replacement and a 103 wRC+. Almora is currently slated to start in center field and is an intriguing piece in the lineup who could be a great help for the team in 2018.
The Brew Crew Bombers
Three days ago the Brewers outfield was above average but nothing to scoff at. My how things can change in the blink of an eye.
In a couple of days, Milwaukee went from an outfield of Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, and Danny Santana to now an outfield of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, and Christian Yelich. The upgrade is night and day.
If there is one area in the lineup in which the Brewers possess an advantage, it is precisely the outfield. Even though Braun had a down season in 2017, he is still a dangerous bat.
Cain, meanwhile, makes his return to Milwaukee where he played from 2006-2010. He had a fantastic 2017, worth 4.1 Wins Above Replacement and batting .300 with an uptick in both home runs and runs batted in.
There is nothing that needs stating about Christian Yelich. Yelich has been worth 17.2 total Wins Above Replacement since making his major league debut. Miller Park will help play to his production, and he should be a guy close to the 30/100 mark in 2018.