Stats forecasters don’t seem to think much of the Chicago Cubs. The analysts seem a little more reasonable. But the team itself? You’d be very wrong to question them and the challenge ahead of them.
Underdog. It’s a strange word to see associated with the Chicago Cubs–at least in the last few years. The Cubs have been the favorites almost every year since 2016, losing the division by just one game last year. This season, PECOTA has the Cubs at 79 wins, down from 80 when first released. That might have been my pick last year when the team was riddled with injury and down years. That team won 95. So to believe this team can’t live up to the challenge is preposterous.
Years ago, before Sloane Park, before Ho Ho Kam Park was Catalina Island. The little island that was the home of the Cubs in spring for almost 30 years. 19 Hall of Famers set foot and played on the island. Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby and more. After the Cubs had left Catalina Island for the ‘mainland,’ Philip K. Wrigley made one more effort to bring them back to the island. It didn’t work out, and eventually, the Cubs have ended up in Mesa, AZ. And Catalina Island? It ended up Whatever, USA by Bud Light. Seriously.
In two seasons with the Cubs, Ian Happ has shown some flashes of great potential. But it’s been shared with struggles and slumps. Happ is young. Less than two years in the league. To believe he’s ‘peaked’? That’s just silly. And if he was to model himself after Ben Zobrist? That might be his best bet to show value to the Cubs. The likenesses are there, but they’re harder to see when you see Happ swing at three terrible pitches in a row. Something Zobrist doesn’t often do. But he’s also had some ‘seasoning,’ which is what Happ needs.
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These and other stories you might have missed:
‘No reason to believe this team isn’t up to the challenge‘ – Cubbies Crib
‘Catalina Island used to be the place to be’ – Cubbies Crib
‘Why Happ would be smart to model his game after Zobrist’ – Cubbies Crib
‘The 79-win Cubs? Sure, whatever’ – Bleacher Nation