This isn’t a 2018 Chicago Cubs preview post. But today someone made the argument to me that the Cubs are going to be mired in mediocrity this upcoming season. It’s weird, in my head I just kind of have them penciled in to make the playoffs one way or another over the next half-decade.
But obviously the Cardinals will have their say. They always do – they always get their bounces. And the Brewers have an electric lineup and their recent moves would seem to signal that they believe there remains an open window in their division.
So here is how it was presented to me: the Cubs have two elite hitters, a bunch of other guys in the lineup who don’t really hit much, and an average starting pitching staff that is led by Jon Lester; who was terrible last season.
I don’t quite see it as this. I have a feeling that Albert Almora emerges – this year at least – to hit a lot more than people think he’s going to hit. He’s a fine athlete and I think guys like that have a tendency to rise with their other tools. It could be an anomaly-type season for Almora and I think he ends up leading off and doing the job well. From there they certainly have some bats who could be effective for them in Zobrist, Schwarber, Happ, Russell, Contreras, and Russell. I think it’s negligent to label this lineup as simply ‘average’. That’s without giving you stats, simply a gut feeling.
You look at the rotation of Lester, Jose Quintana, and Kyle Hendricks; and sure they need another starter and none of those guys are superstars, but they’re sure to be solid starters who give the Cubs a fighting chance on most nights. They’re incredibly thin in starting pitching with Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood filling out the rotation; so an injury could really hurt them. But they’re the Cubs, they’ll go get someone if they are deficient here and their bullpen is still solid in my opinion.
I see a team in Chicago that will bully their way to around 90 wins at the minimum and be in this all year. Sure, that 2017 team lacked sizzle and signature moments; but they’re a long way from being average.