The Chicago Cubs are still feeling the effects of not being able to repeat as World Series champs in 2017. For a team that has waited an eternity to win their first title, the Cubs squandered away their second chance last season. But with a new season comes a new opportunity and the Cubs will be ready. How far will the Cubs go is the question? According to Joshua Sadlock of FanSided, the Cubs will win 100 games and be the team to beat in the National League.
Each year, a new threat emerges in the National League. Despite their run to the World Series last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers was not supposed to be there. The same can be said of the Washington Nationals, who despite having possibly, the best player in the NL, has yet to make it to the NLCS. This is why the Cubs will be the team to beat, yet again in the NL.
Despite losing Jake Arrieta, the Cubs will still have a rotation of pitchers who can get the job done. With Yu Darvish (10-12) paired with Jon Lester (13-8) and Kyle Hendricks (7-5), the Cubs’ rotation is still good enough to get by. The issue here is, is that the Cubs will need each to be better than they were last season.
One of the reasons Sadlock believes they can topple 100 wins is that there’s no way Kendricks and Jose Quintana (7-3) will finish the year with just seven wins each. If the Cubs can get at least 10 wins from both and Darvish can put his awful World Series performance behind him, that’s easily an extra 10 wins on the year from three arms.
The Cubs winning 100 games will also come down to their offense. Led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs will once again be ranked among the top ballclubs in the National League as far as plate production. Last season, in the National League, the Cubs’ offense was ranked sixth in BA, first in OBP, 12th in SB, second in BB, third in RBI, third in HR, sixth in Hits, and second in Runs. The Cubs are ready to continue that trend of offensive dominance.
While the road won’t be easy, the Cubs will have to fend off the Dodgers, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Brewers. Adding Darvish was a good move, but all that did was replace Arietta. While some teams improved by addition, the Cubs managed to keep their core of guys. I mean, how can you argue with the success of a World Series title coupled with 292 regular season wins to go along with three straight trips to the NLCS?
No matter the competition, the Cubs have taken on all challengers for the past three seasons. They are and have been the team to beat. 2018 will be no different.