Cubs Finishing Last? Get Serious

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

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.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Last season may have shocked people a bit, simply because the Northsiders did not look as dominant as they once were. Pitching and hitting both took a step back in regards to overall quality. But the Cubs were riddled with injuries all last season. Brandon Morrow missed a good chunk of the season with an injury, as well as former NL MVP Kris Bryant. Addison Russell had issues to deal with regarding non-baseball matters. With all of these team issues, Javier Baez came out and delivered an MVP season, finishing second in voting. Baez hit 34 HRs with 111 RBIs while batting .290. In 2016, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were actually battling for the MVP award. My point: young teams mature and improve.

USA Today
USA Today


Yu Darvish signing a 6-year, $126M deal was controversial, especially because he only pitched 8 games while earning a 5.46 ERA. But to put it in a good way, there is simply no way Darvish can get worse. In fact, Darvish may even have the best year of his career this year. After being rocked in Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros, Darvish lost all of his confidence as a pitcher. He looked flat on the mound and definitely did not have the same intensity he had in him that was seen while he was playing for the Rangers. He was another player who was injured at the beginning of the year. Having him sit out a year and regain confidence not only as a pitcher but as a person, will lead him down a very successful road. In 2013, this guy finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young voting, losing only to Max Scherzer. Darvish is capable of having a bounce-back year, and possibly being the Cubs number 1 guy to an already deep starting pitching rotation of Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana.


Jason Heyward has increased his average every single year since signing his deal, Albert Almora and Ian Happy get another year of experience. Kyle Schwarber gets another year of his experience under his belt. Ben Zobrist, the Cubs "swiss-army knife" Joe Maddon calls him, had the best batting average on the Cubs and was 11th in the MLB at .305. David Bote has another year to work on his craft and get better.


The Chicago Cubs should feel disrespected for being projected last in the NL Central. It will not be long until this team shows the nation that they are not the Chicago Cubs from the 2016 World Series, they are better.