The Final ZiPS Projected Standings DO Give the Chicago Cubs a Chance

With the offseason more or less at a full close now, and with the various rosters around baseball now (more or less) set, we can look at the final preseason standings projections and know that at least they now have all the information.

To that end, Dan Szymborski pumped out his final ZiPS projections for the National League standings this year, and I know all you want to know: do the Cubs even have a chance?

They do! A chance! A slim chance:

When combining their chances at winning the NL Central with the expanded Wild Card situation, the Chicago Cubs have a 9.3% chance at making the playoffs this year, per these final preseason ZiPS projections. Not only does that pass the eyeball test for me, but it also squares with where we realistically thought the Cubs could get themselves this offseason while keeping their primary eye on 2023 and beyond.

Note some of Szymborski’s comments about the Central, which also track: “Chicago is the team in the division that improved the most over the winter, but the Cubs also started from a lower point than all but the Pirates. Even though the retooling went well, there’s probably not enough star potential to take advantage of the Cardinals’ or Brewers’ conservatism.”

The Cubs improved the most in the division this offseason … but that is mostly the product of how far they had available to climb. So it’s not much of a credit. Instead, it’s just more color to the idea that they’ve managed to give themselves a shot, but not much more.

Interesting that the Cardinals now project a click better than the Brewers, though ZiPS has kinda always been down on the Brewers’ style of succeeding (i.e., getting way more out of their pitching than you might think is possible). Also, note that neither club projects to win even 90 games. If the Cubs do manage to get out to a surprising start, and if the Brewers and Cardinals do stumble, then it isn’t inconceivable that the Cubs could be buyers come July (and August). But even that is going to require some really surprising breakouts on offense, the bullpen pitching to its peak level, and the rotation succeeding despite the unmistakable presence of duct tape.

Like I said, it’s possible! It’s just that it feels no more than 10% possible at the moment. Only five NL teams – the Reds, Pirates, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Rockies – have lower postseason odds in these projections than the Cubs, for what that’s worth.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

The Cubs Walk It Off on a Weird Play at the Plate!

Whew. That game was kinda dumb, but I tell you, the ending sure was fun. And also weird! So, to set the stage, the Pirates and Cubs' offenses could do nothing all day long. The game was still 0-0 in...

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 1, Pirates 0 – May 18, 2024

What matters most is that the Cubs won the game. And it was a fun ending, too. So I'm happy. But I also do feel a little frustrated - or concerned might be the better word - as I'm sure...

Pre-Gamin’: Pirates at Cubs (1:20 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — Losing to the Braves (and then Jared Jones and Paul Skenes), when you have 10 people on the IL, including your entire middle infield, is not really that concerning to me. It sucks and banking losses is...

REPORT: Cubs Trade Richard Lovelady to the Rays

When the Chicago Cubs traded Jake Slaughter to the Seattle Mariners for reliever Tyson Miller, they needed to open a spot on both the active roster and the 40-man roster. They did that in one move by designating reliever Richard...

Cubs Set a Target Date for Dansby Swanson’s Return, Daniel Palencia Also On His Way

First, a quick update I kept out of the headline: Nico Hoerner is not in the Cubs lineup today, as he continues to deal with left hamstring tightness. The Cubs have now blown past the maximum IL backdate optimization, which...

Hendricks Will Get More Chances, Many Injury Updates, A Possible New Scandal, and Other Cubs Bullets

Sports Saturday around the Taylor household, so it's time to run all over to soccer fields and baseball fields and dance centers. First, Cubs Bullets ... Kyle Hendricks may not have made a load of terrible pitches in yesterday's game...

Enhanced Box Score: Pirates 9, Cubs 3 – May 17, 2024

For six hitless, profoundly dominant innings, Paul Skenes today looked like the best pitching prospect I've seen since maybe Stephen Strasburg. The other two who came to mind as I watched were Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez. Those three, when...

MLBits: Elly De La Cruz Continues to Electrify, Yanks Want Soto for Long Haul, More

Elly De La Cruz continues to dazzle and the Yankees want Juan Soto in New York for the rest of his career. That and more in today's MLB Notes! Elly De La Cruz's Four Steal Night Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly...

Cubs Farm Report | May 17, 2024: I-Cubs’ Homer Party Helps Cade Horton Get His First Triple-A Win

The Iowa Cubs mashed four home runs and scored 10 runs, as Cade Horton made his best start at Triple-A on Thursday. That and more in today's Cubs Farm Report. Cubs Farm Report | May 17, 2024 Triple-A Iowa Cubs...

Cubs Roster Moves: Brewer to the IL, Hodge to Chicago

YES! ANOTHER CUBS PLAYER IS HITTING THE INJURED LIST! ANOTHER CUBS RELIEVER AT THAT! PLEASE DO NOT MISTAKE MY SHOUTING FOR EXCITEMENT! IT IS ACTUALLY JUST INCREDULITY AND CAFFEINE! Today the Chicago Cubs placed reliever Colten Brewer on the 15-day...

Latest News

Rays vs. Blue Jays: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

Isaac Paredes and the Tampa Bay Rays (24-22) visit Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays (19-24) at 1:37 PM ET on Sunday.If you're intending to watch this game, keep reading for streaming and TV options for the Tampa...

How to Watch Mets vs. Marlins: Live Stream or on TV

The New York Mets (20-24), with Sean Manaea on the hill, visit the Miami Marlins (14-32) who will counter with Sixto Sanchez, at 1:40 PM ET on Sunday.Keep reading to find out how to watch the New York-Miami matchup in...

Giants vs. Rockies: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Sunday, Jordan Hicks will take the mound for the San Francisco Giants (21-25) against Dakota Hudson and the Colorado Rockies (15-29), with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PM ET at Oracle Park.See how to watch the San Francisco-Colorado matchup...

The Cubs Walk It Off on a Weird Play at the Plate!

Whew. That game was kinda dumb, but I tell you, the ending sure was fun. And also weird! So, to set the stage, the Pirates and Cubs' offenses could do nothing all day long. The game was still 0-0 in...

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 1, Pirates 0 – May 18, 2024

What matters most is that the Cubs won the game. And it was a fun ending, too. So I'm happy. But I also do feel a little frustrated - or concerned might be the better word - as I'm sure...

Matt Duchene Channeled His Inner Patrick Kane Last Night In Stars 2 OT Win

Game 6 of the Stars and Avalanche series was an epic one last night. The two teams battled into double overtime in Denver with the Avs facing elimination. Just over the halfway point into the second extra session, former Avalanche...

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Mavericks – Conference Semifinals Game 6, Saturday, May 18, 2024

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's Oklahoma City Thunder face the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET in Game 6 of the second round of the NBA playoffs, and to beat his 3-point over/under, he needs to make two from beyond the...

Luka Doncic Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Thunder – Conference Semifinals Game 6, Saturday, May 18, 2024

Luka Doncic must make three 3-pointers to beat his over/under when the Dallas Mavericks meet the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET, in Game 6 of the second round of the NBA playoffs.Luka Doncic's Three-Pointer Prop Odds...

Kyrie Irving Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Thunder – Conference Semifinals Game 6, Saturday, May 18, 2024

Kyrie Irving's Dallas Mavericks play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET in Game 6 of the second round of the NBA playoffs, and to beat his 3-point over/under, he must make three from downtown.Kyrie Irving's Three-Pointer...

Top Player Prop Bets for Mavericks vs. Thunder Western Conference Semifinals Game 6 on May 18, 2024

The Dallas Mavericks host the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on Saturday (tip at 8:00 PM ET). Those looking to place a player prop bet can find odds for Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and others in this contest.How...

more cubs news