The 79-Win Cubs? OK, Sure, Whateves, and Other Bullets

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The 79-Win Cubs? OK, Sure, Whateves, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife is more of a headline scanner than a regular reader around here, but she does occasionally peruse the Bullets so she can see what I put in this spot. And if she is today, I just want to say: you are awesome, dear. We’ve been together, what, 17 years or so at this point? Ups and downs and challenges and all that, but I think we’re doing pretty darn well. I know I’m lucky to have you in my life. Much love, G.

  • In retaliation for the Cubs using their projection as a motivating tool, PECOTA has now downgraded the Cubs to just 79 wins this year. That’s a joke, of course – well, the retaliation part, not the 79 wins part. With the Brewers retaining Mike Moustakas and the Reds adding Derek Dietrich, there was just enough movement to knock the Cubs back another win. That would leave them the fourth worst team in the entire National League, and middle-of-the-pack in the bizarro American League. On the bright side, the Cubs might be able to get a top ten draft pick!
  • In all seriousness, although I dig the cold analysis of projection systems, I think it’s pretty clear that something is off in this one. The Cubs get absolutely hammered for pitch-framing, and then their pitching collectively is brutalized:

  • I can certainly understand a projection system seeing the ages of the starters, the injuries all around, and the dips in performance, and you mash it all up, and it’s big trouble. The data inputs are the data inputs. But I would say that some of the declines projected are pretty significant, and the bullpen projections necessarily suffer from having to guess who is going to be in the bullpen for most of the innings. The Cubs will have the benefit of actively evaluating from their massive reserve of fingers-crossed relievers, picking and choosing the guys they want to proceed with for given stretches of time. That is likely to produce, as it has the last several years, results that outpace what a projection system can peg.
  • As for the rotation projections, it’s hard to look at the ERAs, at least, and say they look totally out of whack (save, perhaps, for Kyle Hendricks). Would any of those numbers – in isolation – really shock you in 2019?
  • Part of me is so tired of the (deservedly) negative story lines around the Cubs and around baseball right now that I’m absolutely DESPERATE for the games to start so that we can just talk about actual baseball. This hit. That pitch. This game. But then I remember that if the Cubs lose a few of their first five games, it’s gonna be an emotional nightmare all across the fandom. Is there a way we can brace against that now? I might start trying to meditate on it preemptively – losing winnable games absolutely sucks and matters in the final accounting, but even good teams lose lots of games, and some of them come early, so you’ve gotta roll with it, even if a disproportionate chunk of the early games turn into losses … ohmmmmmm ….
  • It is to be expected that many pitchers would have a beef with the pitch clock, but that’s not a reason not to do it:

  • Forever a Cub:

  • Whatever you say, Mr. Tank:

  • What a shot:

  • Meanwhile, how things are looking at Wrigley:

  • Mitch:

Author: Brett Taylor

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