The LT Profits Group continue to provide team profiles for every MLB team in advance of the 2016 season to assist with your MLB picks, and today they look at the Chicago Cubs.
The 2016 MLB season is only about five weeks away, as it starts with three games on Sunday, April 3rd followed by the rest of the league beginning play Monday, April 4th. In an effort to help with your MLB picks, we are here presenting team profiles for all 30 Major League Baseball teams in advance of opening day. Today we profile the Chicago Cubs, who finished second in the National League Central in 2015 at 97-65 but advanced to the NLCS as a wild card.
First, we begin with a summary of the Chicago betting statistics for the 2015 season. Note that these stats are always for regular season games only and that the units won or lost are based on betting one unit every game, with those units and Over/Under records based on the closing lines from Pinnacle.
Chicago Cubs 2015 Betting Stats
The Cubs actually finished with the second best record in all of baseball last season, but they had the misfortune of sharing the National League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals, who had the best record, and thus had to settle for a wild card. It was still a great season though for a franchise with a loyal fan base that had gone through years of futility, and the Cubs did beat the Cardinals when it counted most in the NLDS before running into the Mets in the NLCS.
Up next, here is the Cubs’ statistical summary for the 2015 season.
2015 Chicago Cubs Team Statistics
|Runs per Game||4.25||16th|
The Cubs had great pitching last year, led by reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and second starter Jon Lester, and their offense actually got better as the season went along thanks to a constant infusion of young talent called up from the best farm system in baseball, including the likes of Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.
2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Futures
The Cubs may be the new America’s Team as they are the favorites to win the World Series this year virtually everywhere you look. The pitching should sparkle again with the addition of former Cardinal John Lackey as a very good third starter following up Arietta and Lester, and remember that both Bryant and Schwarber will now be blasting tape-measure home runs right form opening day after both were called up during the season last year.
2016 Chicago Cubs Batting Forecast
There is a lot to like about the Cubs’ offense this year, which may seem strange after the team finished second to last in the Major Leagues in batting average and struck out a ton last year. But that only goes to show you just how useless mainstream stats can often be, as the trio of Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and the newly acquired Jason Heyward combined for a WAR of over 18.0 last year!
Sure, some regression is expected, but even with that the ZiPS projected WAR for that trio has Bryant at 5.7, Rizzo at 4.8 and Heyward at 4.7 for a total of 15.2 wins. Then, Schwarber projects for around 30 homers and 100 RBI while playing with the big club all year and keep an eye on the versatile Javier Baez, who saw action at second base, third base and shortstop with the Cubs last season and has played some center field in Puerto Rico during winter ball.
2016 Chicago Cubs Pitching Forecast
We have already touched on the starting rotation, as the Cubs first three starters are probably only rivaled by the New York Mets in all of baseball. And Chicago also has competent depth in the rotation with Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks both possessing excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios for back-end rotation starters.
Now, the bullpen is loaded with castoffs like Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop, but they were all well handled by perhaps the best manager in baseball in Joe Maddon last year, as the Cubs managed to finish eighth in the majors in bullpen ERA as a unit without a true star. Rondon is currently the favorite to emerge as the fulltime closer this season.