Cubs' Lineup Ranked Number One, But is That Right? And Other Bullets

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Cubs’ Lineup Ranked Number One, But is That Right? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

kyle-schwarber-cubs-swingWith The Wife home on holiday break, we are giving each of the kiddos a special day this week where they also stay home from school, and we do fun things with just that kid (a little extra, individual attention – it becomes difficult to do it when there are three of them). One of The Little Boy’s ideas for today? He wants to go to Chipotle for lunch. OK. That’s fine by us.

The catch? He’s insisting on making fancy pancakes at home, and bringing those to Chipotle – specifically Chipotle – to eat the pancakes there. He doesn’t want to eat them at home, and he doesn’t want to eat Chipotle at Chipotle. He wants to make fancy pancakes at home, and take them to Chipotle to eat them there. It’s his day, after all.

  • Now that the Cubs are good, I look forward to this time of year, when various publications start ranking positional groups for the coming season. It’s a silly, borderline arbitrary exercise, but there are ways to analyze the rankings in a useful way if you’re interested. Plus, they always seem to make for good conversation. The first such ranking I’ve seen this offseason comes from FoxSports, which put up a top ten lineups for 2017 list, which you can read here. Overall, I don’t love the list, mostly because I have a hard time seeing how you can exclude the Astros from the top five, let alone the top ten. But, of more interest to you, I expect, is the fact that the Cubs are listed up top, as the best lineup in the game. If you believe Kyle Schwarber is going to be huge at the plate (and healthy), if you believe Willson Contreras won’t have a significant sophomore adjustment period, if you believe Addison Russell is about to break out, and if you believe Jason Heyward will bounce back, then it’s arguably a fair ranking.
  • But, outside of the shoulder-dusting-back-patting that these lists can generate, is it actually reasonable to have the Cubs on top? Or are we looking at a cynical, click-thirsty list, cognizant of the fact that Cubs fans can’t help but share things praising the Cubs? (I mean, heck, I’m doing it right now!) Well, we don’t yet have the full slate of 2017 projections out, so there’s only so much we can do to “fact check,” but FanGraphs does offer current team runs scored projections in its Depth Charts feature (which uses the Steamer projections, together with reasonable playing time allocations). There, the Cubs project to be the 7th highest scoring team, at 4.76 runs per game. They trail the Tigers (4.78), Rockies (4.82), Rangers (4.83), Indians (4.84), Astros (4.91), and Red Sox (4.99).
  • There’s an obvious apples-to-DH-oranges situation here when comparing AL and NL teams, but even accounting for that, I’m surprised to see the Red Sox on top after losing David Ortiz (but, then again, they were way out in front last year). Setting that aside, we also have to account for the fact that Depth Charts is incorporating team depth (naturally), and not just the starting lineup. Of course, I’d argue that’s actually helping the Cubs’ Depth Charts scoring projection, not hurting it, which would be an argument against the Cubs’ lineup being up near the top.
  • If you forced me, I’d put the Astros and Rockies ahead of the Cubs, and probably the Indians, too, after the Edwin Encarnacion addition. I might have the Cubs’ starting lineup, on paper, ahead of the Red Sox and the rest of the upper echelon offenses, though. Come at me.
  • If you’re starved for new baseball highlights, you can check out one of the best types: a straight steal of home by the Brewers’ Jonathan Villar in the Dominican Winter League.
  • Good GIFfery, Michael:

  • Love these pictures:


Author: Brett Taylor

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