Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicago Cubs Season 37 Preview

Season 36: 84-78, Won Division, lost in first round to New York Mets
GM: helop

The Cubbies jumped to a Division Title and an 11-year high in wins last year, thanks to a huge year from MVP Walter Brooks (.328/57/165) and big dividends from their farm system: LF Reggie Hunter (.288/36/110) was the 4th pick in Season 32, 1B Adrian Garcia (.296/37/102) was the 5th pick the same year, and CF Steve Mench (.292/18/53, 46 SB) was the 10th pick of Season 30.

Those lineup cogs propelled the Cubs' offense to # 3 in the NL with 730 runs scored.

Now for the pitching.  Chicago's staff posted a nice improvement last year, going from a league-worst 4.32 ERA in Season 35 to 3.89 - good for 11th.  The Jenkins/Grilli/LLoyd/Mondesi/Javier rotation was pretty good, with all 5 posting sub-4 ERA's and winning 55 games total.  The bullpen was another story and was really the weak point of the team.

Chicago's big offseason move was the acquisition of 7-time All-Star Pedro Nunez from Detroit (for swingman Rocky Clinton and a nice pitching prospect).  Nunez at 34 is still a Grade A starter, just 1 rung below the Moya's and Osuna's of the NL.  His strength is great command of 4 pitches - the "lookout for" is he's homer-prone; 38 last year, an alraming number considering Detroit was his home park.  Nunez bumps Javier into a relief role, which helps both the rotation and the bullpen.

The Cubbies will score and their pitching will likely improve; they have to be favored to win the North again.

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