The Upside of a 100-Win Cubs Team, Immediate Fill-In Depth, and Other Bullets

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The Upside of a 100-Win Cubs Team, Immediate Fill-In Depth, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

I have seen many of the Marvel movies in the MCU, but not all of them. I’d like to watch them all in advance of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, but so few are available on the various streaming services we have available to us. So, I mean, I guess I could rent them individually, but I just know as soon as I do, they’ll pop up on Netflix or Amazon or whatever.

  • I know that the projections this year for the Cubs do not match those of the 2016 team, and, in fact, mostly have the Cubs in the low-90s in terms of win total. Still, when I look over this roster and consider the upside all over the place, I can help but think this is a club that has a very real shot at 100+ wins. This hit me over the weekend when I was fawning over the potentially absurd starting rotation, and this tweet crossed my stream:

  • It’s true! The Cubs’ pitching has so much potential, but it’s not like the offense doesn’t also have the potential to be as explosive as any Cubs offense we’ve seen in recent memory thanks to elite talent, quality depth, and the ideal “crossroads” of age and experience.
  • Not everyone hits the upside, obviously, and some guys always surprise you with underperformance. But it’s not going to take that many big seasons for the team overall to be really, really good. I suppose the rub, as always, is that injuries can derail any team, and the Cubs are not loaded with upper-level impact prospects who are ready to shine; but even there, the Cubs do have some impressive next-man-up options already on the big league roster. Consider that Mike Montgomery is among the best sixth starters in the game. Of that I have no doubt. On the positional side, it’s Ben Zobrist? Tommy La Stella? Albert Almora? Nominally, those are all guys who don’t have “starting spots.” You hope there are no injuries, of course, but if a couple guys go down for long stretches, how many teams out there have guys like those three ready to step right in as full-timers? And because of the way the Cubs can coordinate positions, literally any starter besides Willson Contreras could be injured, and one of those three could take a spot in the lineup.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of the upside in the rotation, it’s rare that a fifth starter gets as much hype as Tyler Chatwood has gotten this spring, let alone when the four guys in front of him are among the top 30 starters in the game. Joe Maddon adds to the chorus (Cubs.com): “This guy [Chatwood], heads up. What you saw the other day was not a fluke, and you’ll see more of that. He’s very driven and motivated right now. He’s listed as a fifth starter, but he’s one of five. This guy could pitch in every rotation in the big leagues. It’s just a matter of where you want to spot him, his stuff is that good.”
  • Cubs pitchers are loving the two-headed monster of Mike Borzello and Tommy Hottovy, key parts of the team’s pitching infrastructure about whom you can read more here at Cubs.com.
  • Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has pitched exceedingly little this spring, and even by the end of it, he might have made only eight or so appearances. That is, of course, by design, as the Cubs look to protect his arm after a long year last year, which came after years of injuries and shortened seasons (Tribune). And if it concerns you that he might not be ready with so little ramp-up opportunities, it probably shouldn’t. Consider that last year, the Cubs had the same plan for Wade Davis, who made just seven spring appearances (with terrible numbers, to boot). He went on to not blow a save until September.
  • After dinging a dong off of Tyler Chatwood this weekend, former Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler pulled into the Cactus League lead with six homers. If Soler goes on to have a great year, at long last, I’ll be nothing but happy for him. He has reportedly put in the work this offseason to be better against a wider variety of pitches, and to try to stay healthy. Those were the two things that derailed him as a Cub.
  • Speaking of dinging a dong:

  • All kinds of Crayola stuff is the Deal of the Day at Amazon, which means we get to load back up on the supplies the kiddos tore through this weekend.
  • It’s spring clearance time at Fanatics, so you should troll around the site to see if you can get a steal on some sports gear you like (including, but not limited to, the Cubs).

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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.