The Chicago Cubs lost both of their first two series, and stand at 2-4 on the year. Hardly an emphatic opening to the year, particularly for a team that was going to need enormous pleasant surprises in order to stay in the race past June.
How do the projection folks at FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus see things for the Cubs after a week of play? Well, about how they saw them just before the season started.
At that time, BP saw the Cubs as a 73-win team, with playoff odds at 8.3%. Now, BP sees 74.5 wins (hooray!), but 6.7% playoff odds (boo!).
At that time, FanGraphs saw the Cubs as a 75-win team, with playoff odds at 3.3%. FanGraphs now sees the Cubs as a 73-win team (boo!), but with 4.1% playoff odds (hooray!).
So, all in all, not too much change. I think that’s probably what we should expect, given that the Cubs haven’t looked great, but could very easily be 3-3 or 4-2 right now, with a little more timely hitting.
An interesting aside that has developed in the early going in the NL Central: both BP and FanGraphs agree that the Brewers are more likely to make the playoffs than at least one non-Cubs NL Central opponent, and BP actually has them right up behind the Cardinals. After a 4-2 start, and some health, the Brewers have a 33.7% playoff chance, ahead of the Reds (27.4%) and Pirates (24.9%). FanGraphs loves the Pirates (48.5%), but has the Brewers (18.9%) just ahead of the Reds (16.5%).
I do think the Pirates and Reds have some issues, and the Brewers were probably always underrated, but … I find that all very surprising. But, hey, when you’re projected to get more than 8 wins out of just two outfielders (Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun), you can hide a lot of deficiencies.