2015 Cubs Den Staff Predictions

Happy Opening Day (and Easter)!

It’s time for some staff predictions.    We had eight of our ten writers participate: Sam Fels, Mike Moody,  Catherine (Cat) Garcia, Dan (North Side Irish), Sean (The Sinister Urge), Tom Loxas, Kevin Gallo, and me.  Additional comments by each author (when provided) can be found in italics next to their respective predictions.  My general comments can be found on the bottom. of each category.

Also, I don’t want to be too strict with the objective measurements.  For example, a surprise breakthrough player may come out of the bullpen or off the bench and not have the playing time to accumulate even one win above replacement, while a starter can much more easily go from say 3 wins to 4 wins.  Since 2 writers ( Mauricio and Dabs) didn’t participate, I will let them judge.

Club Record

  • John: 86-76:  I’m always a bit optimistic but 86 wins doesn’t sound outlandish this year.
  • Sam: 84-78
  • Mike: 83-79:  Still a very young team and there are going to be bumps. But that’s a 10 game improvement and things are looking up.
  • Cat: 83-79:  I have the Cubs finishing in 3rd place in the NL Central race this year, with roughly a low-mid 80s winning record.  Why third place? Not because I don’t have faith in the team, the immense progress and strides towards a contending makeup that this offseason has shown, but because unfortunately the Cardinals still exist in this division, and they aren’t going away. I also see the Pirates emerging as great contenders and probably the smaller battle within the war for the NL Central.
  • Dan: 85-77: I said 84 in ATL, so I’m giving myself two chances to be right.
  • Sean: 83-79
  • Tom: 86-76
  • Kevin: 85-77

83 wins seems to be the popular sentiment and it seems Tom and I both boxed in Dan at 85 with our 86 win prediction.  Sorry Dan, you are going to have to nail this one .

Top Position Player (per fWAR)

  • John: Anthony Rizzo.  It’s a safe prediction but the OBP, power, and what I think will be much improved defense will keep him in that 5 win range even if his average (and subsequently his OBP) drops off a bit,
  • Sam: Jorge Soler. I think he’s going to win Rookie Of The Year too. Just see him hitting for a higher average than Rizzo with similar discipline. And right field is slightly more valuable than 1st base, but it’ll be close. Whatever, I’m all in on Soler so no reason to stop here.
  • Mike: Anthony Rizzo. Real hard time with this one. He’s the obvious pick but this prolonged spring slump has me wondering if pitchers have found a hole they’re taking advantage of. But the only other viable options are Soler and Bryant and, as amazing as I think both will be, I’ll go with the 3 year vet over the rookies.
  • Cat:  Jorge Soler.  Soler is probably a long shot to actually have a team leading fWAR in 2015 amongst position players such as Anthony Rizzo, but I feel as though he isn’t that much of a long shot. Soler has shown an all encompassing blend of sufficient talent in a variety of areas.
  • Dan: Anthony Rizzo.
  •  Sean: Anthony Rizzo.  While there’s a lot to be excited about with Soler and the impending arrival of Kris Bryant, they are still kids.  There are bound to be ups and downs as they adjust to MLB pitching, pitching adjusts to them, etc.
  • Tom: Jorge Soler
  • Kevin: Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo and Soler — and nobody picked Bryant.  He’s probably going to make us all pay.

Top Pitcher (per fWAR)

  • John: Jake Arrieta.  Arrieta is capable of surpassing him if he his healthy and maintains the good command he showed last year.  He is in his prime and is coming off a low innings count last year.  Lester will take some of the pressure off and provide some friendly competition to motivate him.
  • SamJon Lester: Wanted to say Arrieta, but feel like he’ll slip just a tad off of last year’s pace, as will Lester but that will still put him ahead of Arrieta. Just a better bet to have better control than Arrieta
  • Mike:  The obvious two are Lester — whose spring has me a little worried — and Arrieta — who is hard to judge because breaking pitches tend not to break as much in Arizona. Both great pitchers. Both could be #1. I’m gonna go way outside the box on this one, though: Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks put up 1.6 fWAR over only 13 starts last season and is mature beyond his years. I think he has a great year and leads the team in fWAR at around 4.0.
  • Cat:  Jon Lester. He’s not only very good at what he does, but there is a distinct gap between his talent and experience that differentiates him from the rest of the Cubs rotation. Nothing against Jake Arrieta, by all means I am a huge fan especially after the 2014 he had, but when your number one rotation spot is saved for Jon Lester, and your number two is Jake Arrieta, there is somewhat of a shadow cast over Arrieta.
  • Dan: Jake Arrieta. I think he takes a step up this season and is the de facto ace.
  • Sean I love Jake Arrieta.  If anybody remembers from last year, they know I love him.  But the Cubs got Jon Lester for a reason, and that is to be an ace.  Lester is my choice.
  • Tom: Jon Lester
  • Kevin: Jake Arrieta

Mike with the outside-the-box pick here.  The Cubs have hidden Hendricks in B games, possibly to work on something (his curve?).  Could we see an even better version.  Lester is the best bet.

Best First Year Player per fWAR (includes any player with less than a half season in bigs)

  • John: Kris Bryant. If he sticks at 3B and plays average defense, then I think he will edge out Soler.  Hendricks could factor here as well.
  • Sam: Jorge Soler
  • Mike: Jorge Soler
  • Cat: Kris Bryant.  The Cubs have plenty of appetizers, but Kris Bryant is the main course. Even if he has a sub par first year in the majors, it’s sure to outshine any of the other youngsters best efforts in 2015.
  • Dan: Kris Bryant. Boring.
  • Sean:  I hate picking between Bryant and Soler, because I like them both so much.  I’m going to say Jorge Soler ONLY because he’s had a taste of the MLB already.  And since everyone thinks that stashing Bryant in the minors for 9 games will cost the Cubs the playoffs, Soler benefits from more PT (Hahaha).
  • Tom: Jorge Soler
  • Kevin: Kris Bryant

Bryant or Soler.  That will be the debate not just in the Cubs dugout, but also for NL Rookie of the Year.

Surprise/Breakthrough Player (per fWAR relative to career)

  • John: I was going to go with Tommy LaStella.  I think Maddon will have a hard time keeping his OBP out of the lineup and he’ll play solid D at 2B/3B.  But I am going to shift gears here and go with Mike Olt.  Everybody has him as a seat-warmer for Bryant, but he’s put up some great ABs this spring, his confidence is back, his defense is plus, and nothing keeps a player focused quite like the best prospect in baseball breathing down your neck.  I also really, really wanted to put Javy Baez here because I like what I’ve seen from him at the plate lately, but I think the others have too much of a head start.
  • Sam: Arismendy Alcantara: I’m not sure there’s another candidate. Soler or Bryant won’t be a surprise. I’m not even sure Baez will be here. Everyone expects Russell to be good. I think most people expect Alcantara to be good too, but that swing is so compact and his instincts all over the field so good, I think we’ll have Zobrist East
  • Mike: A little unfair since Career is one lousy year, but Tommy La Stella.
  • Cat:  Tommy LaStella: It was a hard choice for me on this topic, considering both of these players seem to show the same types of progression and quality in their respective parts of the field. Both had excellent (and very similar) springs, and though spring numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt, they do account for something when coaches and managers are making their final roster cuts. Both La Stella and Szczur have the potential be solid, replacement level talent off the bench if things go according to plan for them in 2015.
  • Dan: Dexter  Fowler. Really underrated pickup. D will be much improved in small home outfield.
  • Sean: : Arismendy Alcantara is my pick, and I debated whether or not he had enough of a sample size to be included here with the given parameters.  I love the defensive flexibility.  I love the speed and deceptive power.  I love that he’s a switch-hitter.
  • Tom: Arismendy Alcantara
  • Kevin:  Jorge Soler

A nice variety here.  It’s nice to have this many candidates.

Surprise/Breakthrough Pitcher (per fWAR relative to career)

  • John: I really want to go Jacob Turner here because he can burst on the scene the way Arrieta did, although not quite that good.  More of a mini-Arrieta.  This has the potential to blow up in my face if he winds up in middle relief.
  • Sam: Jacob Turner. The latest Bosio Reclamation project.
  • Mike: Also a bit of a cheat, but Kyle Hendricks. In this case, though, no one else really qualifies.
  • Cat:  Kyle Hendricks. Can we still consider him a breakthrough candidate after the 2014 he had? Considering he only started in 13 games, I would say that we can. 2014 gave us just a small sampling of what Hendricks has to offer in a full time rotation spot, and for this reason,
  • Dan: Neil Ramirez. I’d love to see it be Jacob Turner, but I think a healthy Ramirez takes over the 8th inning and gets some chances to close.
  • Sean: Edwin Jackson…cough…er…Kyle Hendricks.  I think that we are to the point where expectations are greater.  I want Arrieta to take the next step, but I think last year was his breakthrough.  I think we pretty much know what we have with Hammel in the 3-spot.
  • Tom: Kyle Hendricks.
  • Kevin: Kyle Hendricks

Everyone steered clear of Edwin Jackson this time, so now we can expect a big year from him.  Right?  Ok, Probably not.

Biggest regression

  • John: Is it cheating if I say Welington Castillo?  There’s no way he can duplicate 2.4 fWAR as a 3rd catcher.  In fairness, if he gets traded early in the season before he accumulates any WAR at all, then I will forfeit this pick.  Then again, if he gets a starting gig somewhere else, he will probably at least equal last year’s WAR anyway.
  • SamChris Coghlan, but only because he’ll get hurt and then replaced by Bryant.
  • Mike: Jon Lester.  If you look at current Cubs fWARs last season, there aren’t a lot of good options here: Rizzo, Lester, Arrieta, Castro, Coghlan. (Hammel was 1.8 last year and Fowler 1.4.) Sadly, I think you can make a case for any of them. Coghlan has had the best spring, so I’ll eliminate him. Rizzo’s approach is so good I think he’ll work through any holes pitchers have found, I’ll eliminate him. I can’t eliminate any of the remaining 3 and can make a good case for all of them. Lester put up the highest fWAR of the 3 last year (5.6) and has had a spring training defined by minor injuries and command struggles (by his own admission). I’ll go with him. Sorry.
  • CatChris Coghlan.  This was a hard pick for me, considering there are so many fresh faces in the Cubs organization this year and many who haven’t had a chance to normalize their statistics and fully prove themselves yet. Coghlan posted a 2.3 fWAR with the Cubs in 2014, while hitting 9 home runs and batting .283 at the top portion of the lineup. The last time Coghlan played as many games as he did in 2014 (125) was his first year in the majors with the then-Florida Marlins, and his numbers were very similar. The only major differences? The amount of hits and runs scored Coghlan produced. Coghlan is entering his age 30 season, and though I see him still having a successful 2015 campaign, I don’t see him repeating the stellar year he had in 2015.
  • Dan:  Jon Lester. His 2014 will be hard to replicate. Plus I’m counting on none of my predictions being right.
  • Sean: I don’t really know what his fWAR was off-hand, but Chris Coghlan seems like the obvious choice to me, and one of the reasons why I see Bryant in LF before the season is over.
  • Tom: Chris Coghlan
  • Kevin: Chris Coghlan

Two different philosophies here.  One expects a big enough drop off from a big year from Lester while others see Coghlan as either the guy who will have trouble duplicating and/or the guy who gets replaced by Bryant.

Breakthrough prospect (highest ranking Cubs prospect previously not in BA top 100)

  • John:  Gleyber Torres.  SS who is 18, in full-season ball, and already has plate discipline… What’s not to like?
  • Sam: (pass) not familiar enough I don’t think
  • Mike: Jake Stinnett could fly up boards this year. Given his age and stuff, I even give him a long shot chance to be in the bullpen if the Cubs are competitive.
  • Cat: Addison Russell
  • Dan: Duane Underwood.
  • Sean: I’m hoping its Duane Underwood, but going with Shawon Dunston Jr. for purely sentimental reasons.
  • Tom: Albert Almora
  • Kevin: Jake Stinnett

This was a tough one and maybe I didn’t make this one quite as clear as I’d hoped.  But if Russell comes up this season and has a big year, we’ll give it to Cat.

Kris Bryant’s Call-up date

  • John:  April 25th.  It seems like enough time for the Cubs to leave him down.  If Olt or Coghlan struggle early, that gives them justification for recalling him sooner rather than later.  Besides, it’s my birthday.  A bottle of Lagavulin 16 and a Bryant call-up would make it a great one.
  • SamApril 20th
  • Mike: May 1st. This has been a fiasco. The Players’ Union is ready to wage war over Bryant. They don’t want to give the union any more ammunition so they’ll delay this so as to make a credible argument that the control date had nothing to do with it. Then comes the long term project of smoothing over the hurt feelings this whole thing caused.
  • Cat: May 1st

    A series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, just before the start of a road trip that takes the team to St. Louis and then to Milwaukee for a rematch series with the Brewers? Sounds like the perfect time, without making it seem like the team was just deliberately waiting for “the date”, so to speak, to arrive.

  • Dan: April 24th in Cincy. Would have been earlier before the union and Boras got involved.
  • Sean: My students celebrate 4/20 each year, why can’t i do it this year?
  • Tom: May 2nd
  • Kevin: April 24th

Cubs HR Leader

  • John; Jorge Soler.  He already baptized the Jumbotron.  The power and bat speed are unreal and he has enough discipline to wait for his pitch.  With the media focus on Bryant and the veteran Rizzo the focus of opponents,  Soler will be able to lurk in the shadows.  I think he will go on a couple of power streaks this year that will make us all weep uncontrollably.  The relative anonymity probably won’t last long. Caveat: He has to stay healthy.
  • SamAnthony Rizzo – 37
  • Mike: Anthony Rizzo
  • Cat: Kris BryanIt’s hard to pick between two of the premier power hitters in this organization for who will finish with the most homeruns in 2015. Rizzo is coming off a season in which he hit 32 home runs, but Bryant has the potential to hit more. The real deciding factor here depends on when Bryant gets the call up, which will effect his homerun totals. Another factor that contributes in Bryant’s favor though, is that this will be the first taste of him that major league pitchers will have – which could inflate his homerun totals until they figure out the entirety of his game. It’s a real toss up for me between these two.
  • Dan: Anthony Rizzo
  • Sean: Anthony Rizzo. (probably for the last time in a while).
  • Tom:  Kris Bryant
  • Kevin:  Kris Bryant

Cubs OBP Leader

  • John:  Tommy LaStella because I think he will hit for a higher average than Fowler or Rizzo and has shown enough extra base pop to force pitchers to respect him at the plate.
  • Sam:  Dexter Fowler -.389
  • Mike: Dexter Fowler
  • Cat: Dexter FowlerIt’s hard to argue against someone who’s posted an OBP of over .360 his whole full-time career, with the exception of posting a .347 OBP in 2011 (we’ll let that slide). There really isn’t much else to say on the topic besides that. The Cubs have some great get-on base type guys, some speedy guys on the base paths, but again – there just isn’t a huge argument when you bring a guy on board that has numbers like that in his not too distant past.
  • Dan: Dexter Fowler
  • Sean: Anthony Rizzo
  • Tom:  Anthony Rizzo
  • Kevin: Dexter Fowler

Nice to have real choices this year.  Bryant and Soler are possibilities as well.

Pitcher with the most strikeouts

  • John: Jake Arrieta
  • Sam: Jake Arrieta – 201k
  • Mike: Jake Arrieta. 
  • Cat:  Jake Arrieta:  The was another hard sell for me. My initial instinct was to go with Jake Arrieta, who posted an amazing 167 Ks in 2014, the most of his career. But then again I thought, Jon Lester is quite the workhorse, and racked up 220 Ks between time spent in Oakland and Boston last season. Lester did have 7 more starts than Arrieta did, in which he pitched 63 more innings, but I’m getting the feeling the workload could lessen for Lester in 2015, as well as escalating for Arrieta
  • Dan: Jake Arrieta
  • Sean: Jake Arrieta
  • Tom: Jake Arrieta
  • Kevin:  Jake Arrieta

Ok, maybe this wasn’t the best question.  Of course, now we know it is going to be somebody else — but I hope that doesn’t happen because the only way Arrieta doesn’t get the most Ks is if he is hurt for any extended period.

Bonus Question:  Will the Cubs make the playoffs?

  • John: No.  Like Cat, I think they’ll be good, but the competition will be tough.
  • Sam:  Yes. They win the coin-flip game at home I think, and then beat the Cardinals in Game 5 in the first round which will be the greatest day in all our lives before getting clocked by the Nationals. But we won’t really care by that point
  • Mike:  No
  • Cat: No
  • Dan: No
  • Sean: No.  I think they just miss it, with a LOT to look forward to in 2016.
  • Tom: No.
  • Kevin. Yes

Obviously we are all going to put our personal prediction pride aside and root for Sam’s scenario here.

So, there you have it.

What are your predictions?

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  • My only prediction is that Jorge Soler will be in the top 10 in WAR in all of Baseball.

  • In reply to Ricky Maravilla:

    That would be awesome.

  • Biggest regression is a trap category because some not named regressed as far as they could go last year but are still on the team.

    Playoffs, I figure this year is the same as 2 years ago with 3 NL Central teams are in the playoffs, or last year with 2, but the highest prediction of 86 wins isn't going to make it under that scenario. In the West, I'm not sure what makes the conventional wisdom believe that SF is out of it.

  • 88-74. I think we will have our struggles but by years end we will ride a late 12 game win streak to the playoffs! (This is really my dream scenario more then anything)

  • Javy returns in late June and hits the piss out of the ball for the remainder of the year. Jackson is released when Wada gets off the DL. Rivero is in Chicago and closing games by early August. Bryant plays LF most of the time and hits eleventy-billion HRs. 88 wins.

  • Bryant leads team in HR with 30, Rizzo 28, Soler 27.

    Fowler leads in OBP at 365, Rizzo and Bryant finish around 360 and Soler around 350.

    Wouldn't be shocked with Hendricks leading the pitchers in any category simply because I don't see him as an injury risk.

    Breakthrough prospects are Torres and Underwood. Breakthrough Cubs are too many to count. Olt, Alcantara, La Stella, Baez are all going to improve on their numbers from last year. I think Coke is going to be excellent out of the pen.

    Cubs win 84 and finish 2 games behind Pirates.

  • Club Record: 83-79
    Top Position Player: Rizzo... he's the leader of this team
    Top Pitcher: Arrietta... had him for breakout last year, keep going
    Best First Year Player: Soler... is gonna be a monster
    Surprise/Breakthrough Player: Fowler... well over 100 runs scored
    Surprise/Breakthrough Pitcher: Hendricks... quietly
    Biggest Regression: Castillo... only gets ABs if Montero is hurt
    Breakthrough prospect: Russell... if Cubs contend he could be here
    Kris Bryant's Call-up date: 4/20... road game @ Pirates
    Cubs HR Leader: Rizzo... 30+ again this year
    Cubs OBP Leader: Fowler... will be on base constantly for sluggers
    Pitcher with the most strikeouts: Arrietta... no brainer
    Bonus Question: Do the Cubs make the playoffs? Close, but no cigar

  • Olt clubs 25 HR and .350 OBP in a mostly full-time role. Pushes Russell's debut back until next April causing the player's union to make more threats over another player who isn't a member yet.

  • In reply to CubbieRoad:

    If Olt is playing that well I think he gets traded in offseason.

  • 92-70 and a division win with some stumbles at first, but they put together a phenomenal 2nd half, because:
    1. Joe Maddon.
    2. Olt is traded at the deadline for pitching. Russell is brought up to play 3B and positively rakes ...
    3. Baez? Maybe next year...
    4. Mendy turns out to be, well, Mendy...
    5. Joe Maddon.
    6. See #s 1 and 5

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Wow, love the optimism. I think the Cubs improve 10-12 games this year and then again next year to finish with about 95, but 20 wins in one year would be awesome.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    For it to happen, every rookie / prospect would have to play to their potential. Not likely, but stranger things have happened in the game...

  • More than one "W" flag will have to be used because of it being hoisted so many times and it being exposed to the winds off the lake for long durations.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm going with my heart and not my head and sticking with 91 wins, NL Central champs, and World Series winners. Lester in the NL will be an absolute beast. Bryant, Soler, and eventually Russell will disprove the axiom that rookies must struggle. The Cubs will be a top five NL OBP team, and when coupled with their power will be an unstoppable offensive force. It's Opening Day and I am flush with optimism. Oh, and I'm going with Mr. Woo Woo's prediction: the Cubs will have a 14 game winning steak and Ernie will be smiling somewhere. Go Cubs!

  • Chant of 'We want Bryant!' goes up in Wrigley during first hint of a losing streak.

  • I predict the 2015 NL Wild Card game will be in Wrigley Field this September. The opponent will be one of Pittsburgh, Miami, or San Diego.

  • Really pumped for the Cubs this year. So many young guys who are ready to contribute. My predictions for the top 6 in your list:
    a) 86-76: I've had this number for about a month now, even though it looks like I'm just riding on John's coat tails here - LOL.
    b) Rizzo: he's just too good. Not a knock on the youngsters.
    c) Hendricks: he proves last year was no fluke. Not sure Lester gets through the year healthy, and see some regression for Arrieta this year.
    d) I'll go with Bryant. But wouldn't be surprised if Soler pulls a .280/.370/.500 slash line for his rookie campaign.
    e) Really like Alcantara. He brings such unique talents (speed, switch hitting ability, MIer with power) in addition to his fielding versatility. I'm friendly for Mendy!
    f) Pierce Johnson. He'll pitch great in Iowa, come up in July to fill a hole in the rotation, and never move out. Just like Hendricks, people will rag on him for his "lack of tools" (re: < 95 MPH fastball), desperately try to pigeon-hole him with a #4-#5 starter ceiling, but will provide a 1-2 punch with Hendricks to help lead the Cubs to the playoffs this year! This isn't a knock on Lester or Arrieta by any means. Just an (probably over) optimistic opinion on the 2 young hurlers.

  • You guys are killing me! I mentioned in an earlier post that when I was in Vegas 10 days ago, the over/under was 82.5 wins and I had a brain cramp and forgot to make the bet since the sports book weren't open that am before I left.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to stv711:

    I'm not sure I would take that bet if money and not hope was on the line.

  • In reply to stv711:

    I'll be in Vegas the first week of May, but have no idea how to place a sports bet, even if I can get away from work long enough to do it.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm naturally very cautious. I see improvement but not massive improvement. I see 83-79 this season as is the consensus with you guys. I think Rizzo leads with HR's. I think Soler is gonna have a huge year. With all the Bryant hype he looked good this spring. I see Bryant starting the Pirates series April 22. Theo will say it follows the Cubs formula on the road after the hoopla to start the year. I think Arrieta takes a slight step back, and Lester is solid. I believe in Hendricks even drafting him in fantasy, so beware Kyle that's the jinx.

  • Top pitcher: Arrieta. Look for historic season from him. Regression candidate: Jason Hammel. Top position player, Rizzo. Wins, the Maddon factor, 88. Unless Hammel regresses, wait a minute... 85.

  • I am a bit shocked by the love for TLS. I think his playing time is going to be restricted by his poor defense. He really struggled this spring with the glove and not a lot has been made of it. I think we see AA play a lot at 2nd and if Javy can get it turned around, he comes north pretty quickly.

    I think Soler has a better year than Bryant. He can do it all. I get the whole batting 2nd thing, but would prefer him in the 3 hole.

    I think our season rests on the shoulders of Arrieta and Hendricks. If those guys prove that last year was not a fluke for them, Cubs have a chance to win a WC spot.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I'm not shocked at all. If you think something should have "been made" of TLSs "poor" spring, then something would need to be made of Alcantara's poor spring at the plate. His BA was .123 lower than La Stella's and his OBP was .138 lower.
    Going with the larger sample size of 2014 MLB regular season play, La Stella's BA was 50 points higher, OBP was 74 points higher, mostly due to walking about twice as much and striking out at 12.5% - just over a third of AA's strikeout rate.
    It's not apples to apples, but TLS's Fielding percentage was better than Alcantara's too.
    I think Alcantara has a higher ceiling and he definitely has more power, but there's already plenty of power in the Cubs' strikeout-prone lineup. They need OBP, and TLS does a better job of that than Mendy does, without sacrificing a lot on defense.

  • I have only one prediction and its rock solid: we're gonna have a whole lotta fun this year!

    Less than five hours to go! Let's go Cubs!

    It's Our a Turn!

  • In reply to TTP:

    My prediction is that your prediction has the best odds of any of them.

  • Worst to First:

    All of you are not factoring injuries and I think there will be some with the Cards, Nats, Giants and Dodgers

    As for the Cubs I think you pegged it with Olt forcing the Cubs to put Bryant in the OF, but the other is Russell forcing his way up sometime closer to the ASB and taking over 2B making a big move for defense. La Stella gets more time with 3B and suddenly the Cubs defense is fairly good.

    The other item are trades, I am thinking Cubs make a splash and not a rent a player. Epstein is that courageous. 89 wins, and Cards don't make the playoffs.

  • UPDATE: Kevin added his predictions.

    Also, it appears Matt Szczur has made the team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Way to go Matt!!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Can you at some point discuss what you have seen in Schwarber's progress at catcher? For example I didn't have a stop watch to measure "pop" time on his throw. Framing? Positioning etc.? I only saw the short clip and he looked good to me. Feet were really lined up good for throw to 2nd allowing him to maintain a nice over-the-top throw. I didn't see any fade on this throw, but that was just the one. I also heard he had thrown out 3 straight runners including in the future-stars game with Texas.

  • The Cubs weld the “dimachaerus” of the colosseum (two swords each) in their Patrician two-headed monster named Lester and Arrieta. Oh suffer much lesser men, “thieves” no less, Liriano and Cole, Burnett, Locke, and Morton! These pirates of the sea indeed, are possessed of their greatest skill of steal, “hit and run”, being fleet of foot. But the power of the great bear of the North, reinforced by well known weapons of strength like Byrant, Soler, and their legions of strong youth shall overcome! How can our growing empire of Theo-logians honor such Plebs, or shall we give them their well earned “thumbs down”?

    PIRATES: 3rd place!

  • Cubs DFA Sweeney, keep Herrera per Muskat tweet 1:12

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Interesting indeed!

  • Cubs DFA Sweeney. Mild surprise to me. I thought Herrera would go to minors

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to stv711:

    Thank God.

    Sweeney is so 2013.

  • fb_avatar

    I would really love for Turner to be a breakout pitcher.

    And I hope this is a career year for Lester. Hadn't thought about this until I saw someone mention it on twitter but if Ross always catches for Lester, that will leave the lineup with 2 batters who are pretty much completely wasting at-bats.

  • Ok, my turn.

    Record:
    90-71 Don't need no stinking wildcard! Division champs! Respect 90 Wins.

    Position Player:

    Kris Bryant. Rizzo and Soler will make this tough but Bryant will have no problem surpassing them in the power department. Maybe I'll get lucky.

    Pitcher:

    Jake Arrieta

    First year player:

    Kris Bryant

    Break-out Pitcher:

    Turner

    Considering how they all did so well last year(Wada, Arrieta, and Hendricks) I don't see how you get much improvement in fwar. I suppose more games will have an effect. Have fun figuring that out. Guess I have to take Turner.

    Break-out Position:

    Soler.

    Doing it for the whole season. Not sure how Bryant can even be considered having no career to use as a baseline. If his baseline is zero though I take Bryant.

    Regression:

    Castilo, due to lack of playing time.

    Prospect:

    Albert Almora

    From what I can see he hasn't lost a thing. For me it was him or Underwood.

    Call-up date:

    April 20 first game of the Pirates series. The union can just stick-it.

    Homer:

    Bryant 40+

    OBP:

    Fowler

    Strikeout:

    Arrieta

    Playoffs: See above.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Yea make that 90 and 72.

  • These youngsters are like John Snow, they no nothing, but that means that they don't know what the can;t do either. That means they could follow the pundits predictions of ending up in third place i n the Central division, or they could make people stop talking about 1908. Go! Cubs!

  • As for predictions, hold on while finish my glass of kool-aid, I would say 95 - 67

  • In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    Way to go chrissygirl! What flavor is that kool-aid?

  • (Wishful) Prediction: Bryant debuts during the Pittsburgh series in April, days before I get married in Pittsburgh on 4/25. I catch his first HR ball in left field, which he trades me for an autographed bat. I present the bat to my bride at the alter, which she graciously says I do to, thus completing her full conversion from a Pirates fan to a bleedin' Cubbie blue Chicago fan! (I worked on her all of last year...every time Rizzo was on tv I'd say Hey there's your boy! By the end of the season I'd say who's your boy? And she'd say Rizzo's my boy! A bit pavlovian, but effective in fan-conversion efforts.)

  • In reply to CubbieRoad:

    Heh. I'm also getting married on 4/25. Unfortunately, I won't be anywhere near Chicago (or the US!) so I can't live out a similar Bryant 1st HR fantasy.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    April 25th is a good day!

  • In reply to CubbieRoad:

    Congrats to both you and Pura Vida!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks and a happy birthday to you on 4/25 as well!

  • Hey Sam, last week you predicted 89 wins. I was so proud of you! Is that because Sweeny got cut? :-)

  • I see...let me see....Bash Brothers II ... Soler and Bryant....There will be a lot of protection in this line up and both Soler and Bryant will be pitched to....and outhomer Giancarlo....Cubs 91-71....Hendricks and Hammel each win 14 or 15....Bullpen will be lights out.

  • If you guys are in the Indianapolis area I will be at Scotty's Brewhouse on 96th St today for Opening Day. Come join me!

  • The Cubs will finish 94-68 and win the Central Division.
    1. The bullpen will be among the best in the National League
    2. The Cubs will be among the leaders in Homeruns and
    their OBP will be nearly 40 points higher than 2014.
    3. Jon Lester moves to the National League and wins 18 games
    with Jake Arrietta winning 16. Also solid years from both Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks.
    4. Kris Bryant will make his debut late April and be the talk of baseball. He will hit 38 homerun and hit 320.

    Tonights score. Cubs 12 Cardinals 3.

    If you dream, dream big,,

    I hope everyone enjoys this year!...It should be something special.

  • Cubs 87-75
    50% chance of making the playoffs
    100% chance I will enjoy this season.

  • Cubs record 83-79. Bryant position player and best first year player. Hendricks best pitcher. Biggest disappointment Mike Olt, he is a heart breaker, he looks like he should be good, but he is a bust.

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