A Player from Each NL Central Team That Will Give the Cubs a Problem

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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The projected standings have been released and each projection has the Chicago Cubs finishing in third behind the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. These projections should be no surprise, though. With the additions of Jameson Taillon, Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, and Michael Fulmer among others, the Cubs have improved their roster quite a bit. These signings should keep them ahead of the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, but they will need to really outperform projections in order to overtake the Brewers or Cardinals. Colleague Ryan O'Rourke dives into the latest PECOTA standings projections here.

The Cubs finished last season in third place in the NL Central division, but they were 37-39 on the year against those teams. However, the Cubs had a winning record against every team in their division except for the Cardinals (6-13 vs the Cardinals in 2022). 2022 marked the last year of divisional rivals playing each other 19 times. The new Major League Baseball schedule has changed this to only 13 games against division opponents.

Even though there will not be as many games played against NL Central teams this season, the Cubs will still play their divisional rivals more than any other team. This means there are going to be players they see more than any other player in the league and some of these players are going to dominate against the Cubs. For example, the reigning NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, is a notable Cub killer. He hit .300 with 7 home runs and 16 RBI in 2022 when he went up against the Cubs. Each team has one of these players, so here is a player from each NL Central team the Cubs will have the most difficulty facing in 2023.