The Chicago Cubs are aiming for a third National League Central title in as many seasons – but face improved division rivals in the Cardinals and Brewers.
Note: This is Part I of a three-part series evaluating the Chicago Cubs and the rest of the National League Central.
Most articles build toward a shocking reveal or unexpected twist. This is not one of those articles. infield positions avoid “burying the lede,” let me go on the record in saying, unequivocally, yes, the Chicago Cubs are still very much the team to beat in the NL Central.
As this article will convey, it isn’t even particularly close. While this assertion will elate Cubs fans and irritate those who are not (mainly Brewers and Cardinals fans), the numbers don’t (usually) lie.
It stands to reason the team that played in three consecutive NL Championship Series is considered the favorite in their division. By no means should there be a significant amount of pushback here. But there has been a lot of chatter around this storyline nonetheless. Discussions cite bold offseason moves, overrated players and circumstantial evidence that implies a tightening of a gap. Remember, Chicago ran away with the division in 2016 but struggled to sew up the Central until late last season.
To clarify the landscape within the National League Central Division, this article will speak to specific measures of success and will qualify each team within the context of those measures.