Chicago Cubs: Some bold predictions for the 2018 season

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 10: Jason Heyward
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 10: Jason Heyward /

Spring training is underway, and we pretty much know what the Chicago Cubs Opening Day roster will look like. Now is the time when predictions and projections start coming for the 2018 season. Why not have some fun with it?

Opening Day 2018 is a little over a month away as spring training has begun. The Chicago Cubs have made their final major moves and they can focus on training. Despite a few depth questions the Cubs have regarding who will make the final few spots, most of the projected opening day roster seems certain.

Time for some predictions. While much analysis has been done on the PECOTA and/or FanGraphs projections, sometimes it is interesting and fun to make bold predictions. Some of these can be stat-based and some can just be on a hunch.

What kind of bold predictions will be featured? Most of these will be individual performances/accomplishments. Ten Chicago Cubs predictions will be made, five considered to be “basic” or “more reasonable” while the other five will be a bit more bold and even ridiculous. Why not have both!?

Five more realistic predictions

  1. Kyle Schwarber will reach the 45-home run mark.
    • In 129 games last year he hit 30 homers while still working on holes in his swing. After some tuning and his workouts, it can be easy to see Schwarber having a more consistent bat and more long balls.
  2. Jason Heyward will have a season closer to his 2015 performance.
    • One of the more frustrating things the past few years has been Heyward’s bat. With a new coach in Chili Davis, and the skill set he has, a redemption year seems possible. If all goes well, he can slash around  .280/.360/.430.
  3. Carl Edwards Jr will be an All-Star reliever.
    • When it comes to pure stuff, Edwards has as good stuff as it gets. When he is on, he is on. The walks are the issue. He had a 2.98 ERA and 3.40 FIP with 38 walks in 66.1 innings in 2017. If he can find his command with that hard fastball and wicked curve, he can be dominant.
  4. Jon Lester will be a Cy Young contender
    • Last year was rough for Lester, a few injuries and a 4.33 ERA in 1.323 WHIP. The year before in 2016 he was a Cy Young finalist with a 2.44 ERA and 3.41 FIP in 202.2 innings. The 34 year old Lester is a workhorse and looked very solid in last year’s postseason. He is too good to stay down, he will bounce back.
  5. Willson Contreras will be an All-Star and MVP contender
    • Talk about breaking out, Contreras electrified Cubs fans in 2017. Despite missing some time due to injury, in 117 games he slashed .276/.356/.499 with 21 home runs and threw out 23 runners. With the way he looks now and his continued growth, he will accomplish great things.

Some BOLD predictions

  1. Jose Quintana will hit a grand slam
    • Two hits and three RBIs in 29 plate appearances in 2017. Hey, Jon Lester has hit a home run, why not Q?
  2. Tyler Chatwood will throw a perfect game
    • Chatwood’s ERA away from Coors Field is 2.77 since 2013, and now he pitches at Wrigley where his career ERA is 0.69 (granted small sample size), but the promise is there. With his stuff and the Cubs defense, Chatwood will make history as a fifth starter.
  3. Javier Baez will do a flip over the catcher to win a game
    • On a base hit in the ninth or later, Baez will be heading home as the winning run. The catcher will get the ball and slide over in attempt to tag him out. Baez will then do a cartwheel flip over the diving catcher’s body and land on his own two feet right on home plate. Similar to our old pal Chris Coghlan, but more acrobatic. Ta-da!
  4. Pedro Strop will make a game-saving diving catch…in the outfield
    • Remember some of those extra inning games when Joe Maddon used relievers in outfield? That will happen again, and Strop will be in there and he will dive and catch a ball in the gap which will be ticketed to be the game-winner for the other team.
  5. Bryzzo will have a combined eight-homer game

Next: Control will make or break Alvarez this spring in Mesa

Plenty more crazy predictions can be made in any season, these are just a few. If any of these are right, it will feel even better.