The Chicago Cubs are heading into the 2018 MLB season with big goals of winning their second World Series in three years. Joe Maddon and company have gone through a bit of change this offseason, but they believe that they a stronger team than they were last season.
After falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, the Cubs entered the offseason knowing that changes were needed. Among those changes were the additions of Brandon Morrow, Tyler Chatwood, and Yu Darvish. Unfortunately, the addition of Darvish meant saying goodbye to Jake Arrieta, who ended up signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, as ESPN noted.
While the Cubs are going to be one of the top teams in the National League, there are quite a few other contenders as well. Teams like the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and even the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals will try to give the Cubs trouble.
Chicago still has one of the league’s most potent lineups. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras are all expected to continue their big production, while the supporting cast is expected to improve as well. Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr., Jason Heyward, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber aren’t bad depth to have behind the big stars.
All of that being said, what reasons can be given to support the statement that the Cubs will win the World Series this season?
Improved Starting Pitching
Say what you want about the struggles that Darvish had in World Series last season with the Dodgers, he is still an upgrade over Arrieta. As much as Chicago loves Arrieta, he struggled with consistency in a big way last season. Darvish is a better pitcher, and the Cubs’ staff with him — Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and Chatwood — will be tough to beat.
The Development Of Young Talent
If there is one thing that the Cubs have, it’s young talent at the MLB level. Following yet another offseason of hard work, players like Happ, Almora Jr., and even Contreras should put up bigger seasons. Kyle Schwarber has also put in a lot of work this offseason and many think he will finally show more of his full potential.
More Bullpen Depth
Even though the Cubs lost their star closer Wade Davis to free agency, they improved their bullpen depth. Chicago brought in Morrow and Steve Cishek in free agency, while also re-signing Brian Duensing and keeping C.J. Edwards and Pedro Strop. Justin Wilson should be able to rebound from a tough second half of 2017, which gives Maddon plenty of options.
Joe Maddon Is Still A Genius
Frustration has been obvious from the Cubs’ fan base over the past couple of postseasons in Joe Maddon’s decision-making, but Chicago wouldn’t have a World Series without him. While some of his moves are risky, he is still a managing genius. Having Maddon on their side will almost always give the Cubs an advantage over opponents.
Finally and quite simply, the Cubs have a lot of star power on both sides of the diamond. From Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras to Darvish, Lester, Hendricks, and Quintana, this team has a lot of big names. Add in the fact that Baez and others could breakout seasons offensively and the Cubs should be able to make a run at another World Series victory.