Chicago Cubs: By far the biggest asset of the team all year was the staff
The staff, led by the young 22-year-old stud Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, posted the third-best ERA in baseball among starting staffs (3.69) with the highest K/9 (8.62) and highest fWAR in the National League (21.0).
Prior put up a 2.43 ERA and 1.103 WHIP in 211 1/3 innings and Wood led the NL in strikeouts with 266 and posted a 3.20 ERA in 211 innings. They also featured a young Carlos Zambrano who posted a 3.11 ERA in 214 innings and Matt Clement who carried a 4.11 ERA in 201 2/3 frames. Between those top four, they struck out 850 batters in the regular season.
It was really heartbreaking to see the promising career of Prior fade away in an array of injuries, but nothing can take away his 2003 season. He and Wood turned in some dominant outings in the postseason, including Prior’s complete game in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves and Wood’s eight dominant innings in the clincher against Atlanta.