We’re fresh into training camp, and the Chicago Cubs are already being counted out. But is this something that the team and fans should be paying attention to?
First, the only predictions that matter regarding the Chicago Cubs are the ones we do here at Cubbies Crib. Second, if you’ve already read where this team is going to finish in 2019 then you know it’s already flat-out nuts.
I want to make it clear, for the 400th time, that Theo Epstein built this team to succeed. Might I add, for years to come. From top to bottom, Chicago has enough firepower to compete with the best of the best.
Even the Boston Red Sox. A team they’ll meet for a brief exhibition before their 2019 season in Texas kicks off. That’ll be an exciting matchup, marking the return of Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jon Lester‘s return to Boston.
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Surely, retired catcher and World Series champ with the Red Sox and Cubs, David Ross, will be in attendance as well.
Now, onto these “predictions” we’re here to discuss. According to PECOTA via the Chicago Tribune, our Cubs are projected to finish dead last in the N.L. Central.
Also, the Cardinals reeled in slugger Paul Goldschmidt prior to inking reliever Andrew Miller. As for the reigning Central champs, they added Yasmani Grandal behind the dish. But fifth place in the division with a record of 80-82? Yeah, that may be a bit of a stretch.
Right now, Chicago’s bullpen appears to be a major question mark moving forward. With Brandon Morrow expected to miss part of the first half, Maddon will likely turn to Pedro Strop for closer duties. Something we are not opposed to.
"“It is entertaining. Who knows why or how they arrive at that stuff. It really means nothing. You’ve got to go out and play the game. You’ve got to compete. I have zero interest in something like that.” Joe Maddon via Chicago Tribune"
Their starting rotation has a ton of upside, being led by southpaws Jon Lester and Cole Hamels. Hamels put on a pitching clinic during the second half of the 2018 campaign after landing on the North Side.
If he’s capable of duplicating those performances, there shouldn’t be much trouble coming from this starting rotation. Cross out consistency issues via Jose Quintana, and they could easily have a Top 10 pitching staff on their hands.
On the offensive side, you can’t count them out either. Remember, once the World Series wrapped in 2016, the Cubs had a run differential of +270. Most of the hitters contributing to that stat are still on the roster. Let that marinate.
So, if you haven’t done so already, toss these predictions to the side and focus on the task at hand. Something similar to what Maddon said. This year may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean Thanos is snapping his fingers a second time.
Let these Windy City Avengers assemble and handle their business. For now, continue to count the days till the first Spring Training game is played. We’ll reflect on the season once the 2019 postseason wraps and the Cubs hold their second parade in three years.
*Editors Note: David has been with Cubbies Crib for quite a while, and today is his birthday. So be sure to reach out on Twitter (by his name at the top) and wish him a great birthday if you can. Happy Birthday, Miniel!