Theo Epstein says the Cubs may have a weapon that not many teams in the NL Central have.
“In baseball, anything can happen,” Epstein said. “We might not have the most talent in the division, but I know we’re going to play hard, and we have young players with upside, (several) entering their prime or pre-prime years. When you have that, you can surprise a little bit.
“We have one advantage over some of the opponents we might face, in that we can withstand an injury or two and still throw a very reputable starting pitcher out there every day, five days around the rotation. And if our opponents in the division can’t – because of injuries or attrition or poor performance – then we might surprise some people.”
Epstein also says the Cubs could surprise if they get some quick progress from some of their younger players.
“If we stay healthy – and one or two or three or four of the players we have actually takes a big developmental step forward – I think you might look up and be surprised in the middle of the summer. Especially with the depth of the starting pitching we have now."
For starters, the Cubs president is probably expecting a jump in production form Starlin Castro. The young shortstop could be a prime candidate to make the ascension to an all-star caliber player.
Then you have young players like Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo that could make their moves into the starting line up before the all star break and make an impact.
These are ifs that we are all well aware of.
It is interesting to see Epstein pointing to pitching depth as something of a Cubs strength. I wonder how deep it would be if the Cubs pull the trigger on a Matt Garza trade?
A lack of pitching depth alone made the Cubs unwatchable last season.
Here is hoping I don't have to see guys like Doug Davis, Russ Ortiz, and Rodrigo Lopez on my television much anymore.
Overall, I'm not expecting a contending team this year. However, if some of these factors that Epstein mentioned come to fruition, we could see a .500 team with a bullet.
Now that would be something we can all tune into.