Pre Spring Training MLB Power Rankings #1 Chicago Cubs

The Cubs will look to take the next step in 2016 as they made it all the way to the NLCS in (Charles Rex Arbogast The Associated Press)

The Cubs will look to take the next step in 2016 as they made it all the way to the NLCS in (Charles Rex Arbogast The Associated Press)

Coming in as the top dog one day before spring training the Chicago Cubs.

Projected Record:101-61 1st in the NL Central (NL Central Champs)

Potential Lineup: CF Heyward #22, 2B Zobrist #18, 3B Bryant #17, 1B Rizzo #44, LF Schwarber #12, RF Soler #68, C Montero #47, SS Russell #27, Pitcher

Potential Rotation: 1.Lester #34, 2.Arrieta #49, 3.Lackey #41, 4.Hendricks #28, 5.Hammel #39

Potential Bullpen: CL Rodon #56, 8th Strop #46, 7th Grimm #52 Mid Relief: Wood #37, Cahill #53 ,Ramirez #54, Warren #43

 What a year it was for the Cubs in 2015. The Cubs reached the postseason for the first time since 2008 winning 97 games, and reaching the NLCS where they were swept aside by the New York Mets. Despite the ugly NLCS the Cubs showed a ton of promise heading into the future and added to their offense full of young studs with a pair of the best free agent bats on the market. The team signed both Ben Zobrist who batted .276 splitting time with Oakland and Kansas City a year ago helping the Royals win the fall classic. The Cubs also brought in Jason Heyward stealing him away from the rival Cardinals. Heyward who has one of the best gloves in the game batted .293 for the Cardinals in 2015 making him a perfect table setter and great glove for the Cubs to have. The Cubs offense has a lot of talent that Zobrist and Heyward will be joining. Kris Bryant in his rookie season was an all star and took home NL Rookie of the year honors batting .275, slugging out 26 homers, all while driving in 99 runs. Kyle Schwarber, and Addison Russell also impressed in their rookie seasons. Schwabar slugged 13 homers, and drove in 46 runs in just 69 games played, Russell also hit 13 home runs, knocking in 54 runs proving he can be an everyday Shortstop. The heart and sole of the Cubs offense however is Anthony Rizzo, Rizzo just 26 years of age is a two time all star, and in 2015 batted .278, with 31 homers, and 101 RBI’s. With all these young sluggers and the additions of Heyward and Zobrist the Cubs have a scary good offense. As for the starting pitching the National League’s CY Young Jake Arrieta emerged as a superstar. Arrieta in an outstanding 2015 pitching to a 1.77 ERA, winning 22 games, and striking out 236 batters. Along with Arrieta the Cubs also have Jon Lester, and now John Lackey both whom had solid 2015 seasons. Lester in his first year as a Cub pitched to an ERA of 3.34 and had over 200 strikeouts, Lackey who the Cubs signed away from the rival Cardinals pitched to a 2.77 ERA. The Cubs with the addition of Lackey have more rotation depth putting less pressure on up and down youngster Kyle Hendricks. As for the bullpen  the CUbs finished 8th in the majors in bullpen ERA. The Cubs added a great long man/mid relief man in Adam Warren who posted a 3.29 ERA as a reliever and starter for the Yankees a year ago. The backend of the Cubs bullpen will be anchored by Pedro Strop who posted a very good 2.91 ERA, and closer Hector Rondon who’s ERA was 1.67 converting on 30/34 save opportunities. The Cubs bullpen isn’t scary good but is solid and will be competitive. Could this be the year the curse ends on the North Side? The answer is maybe the team on paper is probably the most talented in all of the major leagues, yet the Cubs will have to overcome a very strong division and keep the whole end the curse thing in the back of their minds to win it all in 2016.

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