Chicago Cubs: One early 2020 prediction does not bode well

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As spring training is almost here, we’re starting to see 2020 MLB predictions come in. One such forecast does not look good for the Chicago Cubs.

Even though spring training camps do not start to open for several more days, that hasn’t stopped one major publication from predicting 2020 records for all 30 MLB teams. On Tuesday, USA Today released the results of their survey of six writers and put together their aggregate projected standings. If they are to be believed, it doesn’t look good for the Chicago Cubs.

According to these standings, the Cubs will finish 2020 with a record of 82-80, a slight regression from their 84-78 record in 2019. All six writers predicted the Cubs to finish in fourth place in the National League Central, and all put them somewhere between 83 and 80 wins. On justifying this prediction, the article states, “A moribund off-season after three years of gradual decay won’t win many caucuses.”

Now, though it still seems unlikely the Cubs will do anything big between now and spring training, the offseason technically isn’t over yet. And in a way, it’s hard to take too seriously an article that doesn’t spell “Cincinnati” correctly or still refers to the Marlins as being from “Florida.” (They’ve been the Miami Marlins for several years.)

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That being said, if this article is any indication, the Cubs will not be held to a high standard as we move closer to Opening Day. That’s not unjustified. There still are a few holes in the everyday lineup. Two key starting pitchers, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana, appear to be on the downside of their careers. And the bullpen is a giant question mark.

Still, it’s way too early to write the Cubs off for 2020. They have a new manager in David Ross. Quintana and Lester could bounce back. And the bullpen, though unproven, will look different from last year, including a full season from a (hopefully) healthy Craig Kimbrel. Besides, USA Today has the Cardinals taking the division at just 88 wins, so it’s there for the taking if a few things go well.

The main point here is that Cubs fans should not be discouraged by these predictions that have expected them to do well over the past few years. It’s easy to take them too seriously, but we don’t know what will happen until the players actually get on the field at the end of March.

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So as the 2020 season predictions continue to appear over the next several weeks – and we’re sure to see many more that don’t have the Cubs making the playoffs – don’t let that take away from your joy that baseball season is almost here. Though the Cubs’ roster on paper looks weaker than it has perhaps since 2014, I’m still looking forward to a fun season and holding out some hope that the Cubs can at least stay in the playoff picture late into the season.