A friend in a text thread sent me this (thanks, Adam!), based on conversations he was having with another friend. And it looked sufficiently debatable to me that I thought it made for a fun discussion tonight.
Of the following five things, you can choose one to happen this season … and the other four are guaranteed NOT to happen:
1.) All five Cubs starting pitchers make at least 27 starts.
2.) Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo play a combined 290 games.
3.) Kyle Schwarber hits 45 home runs.
4.) Jason Heyward posts a wRC+ of 125 over a full season.
5.) Addison Russell and Javier Baez have an average wRC+ of 115 between the two of them over a full season.
When I first saw the question, I leapt on number one, thinking that if this killer rotation is generally healthy all year, the Cubs are a lock for the postseason.
But then I remembered that picking number one means that the other four things are guaranteed not to happen. Bryant and Rizzo play under 290 games. Schwarber doesn’t hit 45 homers. Heyward is definitely under 125 wRC+. And Russell/Baez are combined under 115 wRC+. Do I still take number one?
I think I do, though it’s the Rizzo/Bryant one that gives me pause. Schwarber can still have a great season without hitting 45 bombs. Heyward can still have a very nice bounceback season without going over 125 wRC+. And if Russell and Baez are at 100 wRC+ with their gloves, then that’s perfectly fine. But Bryant and Rizzo combining for under 290 games means there was at least a medium-term injury for one of those guys (or worse). Risking that feels a little scary. Debatably more scary than risking one of the starting pitchers going under 27 starts.
… of course, by not locking in those 27 starts for each starter, I’m risking several or – GASP – all of them being seriously injured. By taking number one, whatever else happens, I at least guarantee health for an excellent rotation.
As nice as it would be to see Schwarber or Heyward go off – and they’d be worth a ton of value at those levels – I don’t think they’d be my pick even if the question were which one do you want to happen, and then you don’t know what will happen with the other four (let alone if it guaranteed the other four won’t happen). The Russell/Baez one is very tempting, because that’s huge value at two positions. If picking them didn’t guarantee the other four wouldn’t happen, I might take that one.
All right. Enough from me. What about you? Which one are you picking, and is it more because you really want that one, or because you are afraid about the other four things not happening? Slide down to the comments and get into it.