Chicago Cubs: Where does the 2016 team rank among recent champions?

Anthony Rizzo #44, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Anthony Rizzo #44, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Dominating the stat sheets all year

The way the Cubs stacked up against other squads in key statistical categories in the regular season unsurprisingly reflects why they had 103 wins.

Chicago had a double-take inducing +270 run differential in 2016, which was almost 100 runs clear of the second-best club, the Boston Red Sox (+176).

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Offensively, the Cubs were third in the game in runs, first in offensive wins above replacement and third in wOBA. From Dexter Fowler at the top to the Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez grinder in the middle to getting a combined 45 home runs and 218 RBI from the seventh, eighth and ninth spot there were no breaks in this lineup.

Defensively is where this team shined though compiling a whopping 107 defensive runs saved which cleared the next best club, the Houston Astros, by 30 runs (the Cubs’ 107 defensive runs saved was fourth most of all-time according to FanGraphs).

Certainly helping out the fielders was a starting pitching unit that didn’t give up much hard contact. The five mainstay starters Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jason Hammel had a combined 2.96 ERA which led MLB. It’s also the second-best ERA for an entire regular season for a starting pitching staff in the last 25 years (first was the 2011 Phillies who had guys like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and a much younger Cole Hamels on it).

Joe Maddon’s relief corps wasn’t quite as good as their counterparts in the starting rotation, but they still were top 10 in MLB during the regular season in combined ERA.