The 2013 Cubs Have a 3% Chance of Winning 91 Games and Other Bullets

## The 2013 Cubs Have a 3% Chance of Winning 91 Games and Other Bullets

With our second kid on the way in about a month – a boy, this one – we’ve entered that crazy preparation mode that every set of soon-to-be parents (or soon-to-be-again parents) enters. I spent my night last night assembling some kind of wooden thing that is important for the future of the family or some such thing. I do what I’m told. Now we’re off to Target to buy them out of baby-related supplies.

• On paper, after accounting for the not-yet-but-will-be additions of Carlos Villanueva and Scott Hairston, FanGraphs’ Bradley Woodrum calculates that the Cubs’ projected win total is in the 77 to 79 win range. Further, the calculations show that the Cubs have a 3% chance of reaching 91 wins, which is a pretty easy proxy for a playoff team. Teams routinely “luck” into winning five to ten more games than the numbers say they should have, so if the Cubs are truly a 79 win team on paper, winning 85 games isn’t that far out of the realm of possibility. That said, I have trouble accepting the 77 to 79 win range, largely because I believe that, if the Cubs aren’t clearly in the race come early July, they’re going to look to sell off. And once you start the sell-off, that win total will drop rapidly. I’m not trying to be pessimistic about the 2013 Cubs, just realistic – a 25-win improvement is an exceedingly rare thing, and tends to come where a team has added multiple big-time pieces AND has multiple young players on the verge of a breakout. Is that the Cubs? You could make the argument, and, as the season approaches, we’ll probably make those arguments. For now, I simply think it’s interesting to point out where the projections say the Cubs are expected to fall.
• MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has started putting together his top ten positional prospect lists in the lead-up to his revised top 100 prospects for 2013, and his shortstop list features Javier Baez in the number three spot, behind only Jurickson Profar and Francisco Lindor (ahead of Xander Bogaerts). Mayo’s remarks on Baez: “Taken No. 9 overall in the 2011 Draft, just one spot after Lindor, Baez might be the more dynamic pure hitter of the two, even if Lindor is the better defender. Baez’s plus bat speed will allow him to hit for average and power, both of which have already been on display, and he will improve as he refines his approach. He’s not without defensive skills, with a strong arm and good hands, and more folks are thinking he can stay at shortstop than did when he was coming out of the Florida high school ranks. Even if Baez has to slide to third base, his bat will profile just fine there.”
• A profile on relief prospect Tony Zych from CSN. He’ll be a fun one to watch in Spring Training, and, if his progress continues in the first half, he’s a guy you could see at Wrigley in the second half. Zych came in for some love – and info – on this week’s podcast, by the way.
• Another prospecting bit from Vine Line, this one on relatively new Cubs pitching prospect Barret Loux. In Loux, we might get to see just how far having four average pitches can get you – and that’s not necessarily a knock.
• The 2013 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game – a showcase for the top high school prospects in the country – will be at Wrigley once again this year. The game is August 24 at 1:30pm CT, and it’ll be on MLB Network.
• I was on Chicagoland Sports Radio‘s Jmack and Nate Vash Show (that’d be Jason McKie and Nate Vasher, for you Bears fans) yesterday, which was fun. I’ve got an mp3 of the appearance that I’d like to share for those who missed it, but I’m still working on the logistics of that. So, for now, this Bullet is mostly just a pat on my back.
• Lip-reading umpire/manager fights. It turns out that managers curse a lot. Who knew?
• Stalking is a scary, uncool thing, and Theo Epstein’s stalker is going to be in some trouble.