The Chicago Cubs have the second best record in baseball, and the largest divisional lead in baseball. Their recent skid notwithstanding, they are very good.
But that’s just right now, what about the future?
For the longest time, the Cubs front office has stuck to their goal of achieving sustained success, while resisting the urge to sell out for the present. But have they succeeded? Or rather, how do they rank up against other teams, in terms their future outlook, even as the winning has already begun?
What are the future power rankings, you ask? Well, in Szymborski’s own words, “they’re an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years.” Obviously, the gurus at ESPN can’t predict the future 10-15 years from now, but there are a number of ways they can get a good measure of each team’s nearer-term future. Some of the categories they evaluate include Financial Support, Front Office, Current Talent, and Future Talent, and each category has its own weight toward the final ranking.
For a specific breakdown of what they did, check out the original article here.
The last time they conducted this project (November), the Chicago Cubs were on top, and here in July, they retain their status. Although it wasn’t apparently the landslide it was a few months ago, the Cubs have the “strongest possible organization.”
Starting with the Major League team, ESPN is impressed with the Cubs ability to be the best true talent team in baseball, despite having missed out on all of the top free-agent starting pitchers this past offseason – pointing to the fact that they’ve actually been a good bit better than their record has indicated.*
“What’s truly amazing,” as Szymborski puts it, is that they’ve built the team without sacrificing the future, by trading away many prospects of note.”
I don’t want to spoil any more of the Cubs section, because it’s actually really fun to read over, but know that they took first place with an overall score of 29.0. Their percent of the max possible score was an astounding 97%, their best projected season is 2016, and their most valuable asset is Kris Bryant.
The Dodgers came in second with a score of 28, followed by the Red Sox (22.8), Rangers (22.5) and Nationals (20.6). The Cardinals, of course, aren’t too far behind (7th – 19.1), and neither are the Pirates (9th – 18.4). The rest of the NL Central is expectedly a bit further down (Brewers – 17th; Reds – 29th), and the San Diego Padres have the worst future outlook in baseball.
So, yes, the Cubs figure to be quite good in 2016, but they also have set themselves up for some seriously sustained success.