## Another Prediction Has the Cubs as an 84-Win Team and Other Bullets

Well, that was an adventure. The Wife and kiddos were heading out for work/school when the garage door wouldn’t open. Or, more precisely, it would open three inches, and stop. Try to close it? Would go to the floor, and then back up three inches.

I tried disconnecting the opener so I could just open the door manually, which proved to be an hilarious overestimation of my own physical abilities. If I budged that thing a millimeter, I’d be shocked. So I reconnected the opener, and started frantically Googling. Thankfully, I saw a lot of other folks reporting the same kind of issue, and solving it – at least temporarily – by increasing the pull force of the opener (you turn a blue screw inside the opener). So I climbed up on the cars to access the opener (not an easy feat when they’re both jammed in there), turned the screw, and boom, the door opened. I don’t know if I could say it’s “fixed,” but it worked for now, and we’re scheduling service asap, just to be safe.

• ESPN’s David Schoenfield is the latest to take on the projection game, pegging the Cubs for 84 wins in 2015. That’s the same total FanGraphs is projecting, and it is right in between the total PECOTA is projecting and the total we think PECOTA would be projecting if they had the Bryant/Hendricks playing time a little closer to what we’re expecting. In other words, we’re starting to see something of a consensus in the projections with the Cubs’ win total right around 84.
• Keep in mind that projecting win totals before a season begins is a fun fool’s errand, because of the inherently unpredictable nature of baseball (injuries, surprise improvement/regression, luck, sequencing, etc.), but it’s really interesting to see the Cubs showing up right around the same win total in all of these projections/predictions. It’s interesting primarily because everyone seems to acknowledge that the variance in possible outcomes for this Cubs team may be wider than for any other team in baseball, thanks primarily to the extreme reliance on very-high-upside youth. It is plausible that a bunch of the young guys blow up, and the team is generally healthy, yielding a cumulative effect on the offense, and the Cubs win 95 games. It is equally plausible that the young guys struggle as they go through adjustments, there’s a key injury here and there, plus some regression, and the Cubs lose 95 games. And, of course, there’s everything in between that huge range. I tend to agree with the projections in this regard: I think the Cubs are more likely to skew to the good than to the bad, so predicting just over .500 makes sense to me. Not that I really care to project a win total.

• A good sign for the season ahead? Here’s Jon Lester golfing yesterday:

• (And then the conspiracy theorists among you go, “WAIT! Why is Evan Longoria playing golf with three Cubs players/coach?!?!” But then I say, “I wouldn’t read anything into that folks. Not even a tiny bit. They’re just people. And they played golf together. This is not a thing.”)

• Jake Arrieta’s biggest critic is his wife (CSN). As in, she actually watches game film and critiques his performance in specific ways. That’s awesome. (There’s more in the video there at CSN.)
• Sports on Earth has the Cubs’ bullpen as 7th best in baseball. Yesterday, we discussed how the Cubs’ back end last year was among the five best in baseball.
• A Reddit user attempted to determine how accurate WAR has been over the past few years when compared to how teams actually performed, and the conclusion was … pretty darn accurate. You’ll note that Baseball Reference’s WAR is determined to be more accurate than FanGraphs’ WAR, but the author notes that’s primarily because FanGraphs uses FIP as a determinant in its pitcher WAR calculation (i.e., the pitcher’s performance stripping out the things he can’t control), rather than the actual runs given up while the pitcher was pitching. Obviously the latter will track more closely to what actually happened, but, philosophically, I still prefer the former because I’m not really interested in given credit to players for things they didn’t, themselves, impact or accomplish (at least when I’m using WAR for evaluative purposes). Simply put, FIP is a better predictor of future ERA than ERA, and, when discussing WAR, we often tend to be concerned with trying to predict the future.

• Carrie Muskat writes about five Cubs players looking for a bounce back in 2015.
• AC/DC is playing Wrigley Field on September 15.

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#### Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.