Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs are heading into the 2018 MLB season with big goals of winning another World Series. After coming up short last season in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cubs decided to make some changes this offseason that they believe will help them get back to being the best team in the National League.
Heading into the offseason, the Cubs were expected to try to add starting pitching and bullpen help. Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis both left in free agency, while the Cubs replaced them with Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow, who are both looking to rebound from a tough World Series loss last season, as ESPN noted.
Some may not view the moves as an upgrade for the Cubs, but the team certainly feels that they are stronger than they were last season. Darvish and Morrow were both part of the Dodgers’ run to the World Series this season, and it was obvious that Theo Epstein wanted both players in Chicago all along.
Looking ahead at the upcoming season, the Cubs certainly look like a team that could contend for a title. Having a rotation that includes Darvish, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood gives them one of the best starting rotations in the league. Offensively, the Cubs are still one of the most feared teams in baseball, with names like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and more leading the way.
All of that being said, what bold predictions can be made for the Cubs heading into the 2018 MLB season?
Yu Darvish Will Be In The Cy Young Conversation
Darvish was signed by the Cubs to replace Arrieta, and many think that he will end up being the best pitcher on the staff. He is going to come through with a big year for the Cubs and will work his way into the Cy Young conversation. Losing Arrieta was tough for Cubs’ fans to deal with, but Darvish will help them move on quickly.
Chicago Will Win The NL Central Yet Again
Chicago has won the NL Central the last two years and will not allow the division to slip away from them this year. Even though the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers made big moves this offseason, the Cubs will take the division once again this season.
Javier Baez Finally Becomes A Two-Way Star
Javier Baez is one of the most popular and polarizing players in baseball due to his flashy style of play. He has become one of the league’s best defensive players but will take his game to a new level offensively. Baez has always struggled with the breaking ball in the dirt and fastball up out of the zone, but he will get those issues in check and will become a two-way star in 2018.
Anthony Rizzo Wins The NL MVP
While he has been close in the past, Anthony Rizzo has not won an MVP award just yet. His teammate, Kris Bryant, came into the Majors and won an MVP, and Rizzo will finally get his award this season. Rizzo is the heart and soul of the Cubs’ franchise, and his numbers will finally translate to hardware this year.
The Cubs Will Win The World Series
Predicting a World Series win is the obvious bold prediction, but it is something that this team is certainly capable of doing. They have the pitching, the bullpen, the offense, and the coaching to get the job done. Anything short of a World Series win will be a disappointment for this team.