There are plenty of reasons to like Jonah Keri. He’s smart. He’s thoughtful. He’s written excellent books, and excellent pieces at Grantland. And he’s Canadian. Some people really like that.
But I suspect Keri will win over a few more fans from among the ranks of Cubs denizens with his ranking of all 30 MLB based on how they look coming into Spring Training.
And the Chicago Cubs are all the way up at 9th:
Count me as a believer — and not just for Marty McFly–related reasons. Like their crosstown rivals, the Cubs made the big moves you’d want to see from a team eager to win, along with a bunch of vital, smaller, subtler ones. Jon Lester gives the Cubbies a legitimate ace, while bringing back Jason Hammel on a low-cost deal retains important depth for a rotation that looks to be strong at the top but also respectable on Days 3 through 5. Miguel Montero offers both an offensive upgrade and huge defensive gains at catcher, while the additions of outfielder Chris Denorfia and catcher David Ross should fortify the bench. Oh, and they also brought in some dude named Joe Maddon to manage.
Keri goes on to say additional lovely things about the Cubs’ youth, and offers a take on each of the other 29 teams. Read and enjoy. Keri’s take is fairly plausible, as most of the projections, extrapolated to rankinga, would have the Cubs right around there as well.
For the record, the Cubs are listed behind only the Marlins (8), Cardinals (6), Dodgers (2), and Nationals (1), which would have them facing the Marlins in the NL Wild Card Game if things actually played out that way. And I would totally take that.
If I were ranking the 30 teams, I’d probably have the Cubs roughly in the same range, perhaps a tick or three lower, and I’d have them behind the Pirates in the NL Central.
What do you think of Keri’s list? (We like it better than MLB Network’s player list, yes?)