Chicago Cubs – Projected Win Total Ov69.5 wins – Last in the NL Central
For long suffering Cubs fans, the circumstances are bordering in ridiculous. The “loveable losers”, who last won a World Series in 1908, have never come off two seasons in which they have lost 197 games and sportsbooks are not optimistic the prospects will be all that much better in 2014.
Chicago’s most productive outfielder is Nate Schierholtz, who hit .251 last season with 21 home runs and was a severe platoon player, with only 53 at bats against left-handed (.170 BA). Not exactly how champions are built.
The faces of the franchise are Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro and both need to up their game if the Cubs are to avoid another 90-loss season. Those making baseball picks understand Rizzo has exceptional power, but pitchers who throw hard with movement find him a frequent swing and miss hitter, with more holes in his swing presently than a golf course.
Castro went from a .300 hitter to .245 last season and is one most inattentive fielders in baseball, driving managers crazy. First-year skipper Rick Renteria will take a stab at trying to straight him out since he’s still just 24 years old.
Any MLB baseball handicapper can tell you if Jeff Samardzija is your ace, you have starting pitching problems. Names like Travis Wood, Chris Rusin and Jake Arrieta are far from comforting and the bullpen, that could be written about in e-book form.
Theo Epstein was brought over from Boston to build the Cubs from the bottom up and supposedly they are developing a loaded farm system (though top pitching prospects are lacking) and 2014 looks very similar to the past two years.
Game Notes - The Cubs Chris Rusin looked like he was throwing batting practice the way the Halos hitters were swinging knocking the ball around the yard. Two of Chicago top prospects, shortstop Javier Baez and 3B Kris Bryant looked good. Baez has real bat speed and displayed a strong arm while the 6-5 Bryant went yard, showing off his power stroke.
MLB Season Prospects – I will see each team one more time, but at the moment, I would not consider either team positively with MLB picks on win totals.