Baseball is back. Spring training has begun. Machado has signed to the Padres, Bryce Harper is still looking for a home and the predictions are beginning to roll out. One prediction that has garnered some attention around Chicago is that the Cubs will not make the playoffs, and even possibly finish last in the NL Central. That's certainly not the case.
This is almost a replica of the team that won the World Series in 2016. The Cubs have made the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years, with the only time not making the postseason on a tiebreaker for the division against the Brewers. I understand it will be harder to improve in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. The Cardinals added Paul Goldschmidt, an NL MVP Candidate every year, to an already up-and-coming offense. While the Brewers regained 3B Mike Moustakas, signed Yasmani Grandall, and have NL MVP Christian Yelich fresh. And we haven't even discussed to Yasiel Puig to the Reds. The Cubs should still be favored.
When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, the average age was 27.4, according to the Baseball-Reference. To put this into terms, last years World Series featuring the Dodgers and Astros had average ages of 28.8 (LA) and 29.1 (HOU). The Cubs were a much younger team when they won the World Series in 2016. Winning the World Series gives young teams confidence and postseason experience. This team is not different and will continue to improve.