Can the Cubbies Repeat?
Teams will be ready for the defending champions this year and the Cubs starting pitching will again be the key to success in winning their division. They again have strong starters in Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson. Jon Lester led the talented bunch with 19 wins in the 2016 campaign with Jake Arrieta adding an impressive 18 wins. The Cubs got off to a strong start last year and will need their starters to put in some big innings early on. The only question mark for the starting rotation will be Brett Anderson who came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He only pitched in 4 games last Season with the Dodgers and his career best in wins is a dismal 11 in 2009 with the Oakland A’s.
Wade Davis will take over Aroldis Chapman’s spot as the team’s reliever. Davis is coming over from the Kansas City Royals where he posted a career high 27 saves. Early on in the 2017 season he has already looked spectacular. The Cubs bullpen was plenty strong during their champion run last year and again will be the key to wrapping up tight games this season. Their talented relievers include Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, Koji Uehara, and Mike Montgomery. The Cubs definitely have a different look in the pen this year and will be interesting to see how they perform under the pressure of repeating.
The Cubs again bring a scary lineup to the field as they did last season. At catcher, Wilson Contreras should get most of the playing time. He hit 12 home runs in his rookie campaign and the team is banking on him to raise those numbers in a full season of play. Back at first base is star Anthony Rizzo. He knocked in 109 runs while posting a career high .292 batting average. He should again put fear into the opponents eyes batting in the middle of that tough lineup. At second base is solid Ben Zobrist. He’s a veteran who played most of his time since 2006 with Tampa and can be counted on playing every day. Young Addison Russell will be the team’s every day shortstop and had career highs in almost every significant batting category. Although he knocked in 95 runs with his 21 home runs, he will need to improve on his .238 average from the 2016 season. Superstar from Las Vegas, Kris Bryant will be back at the hot corner. He has everything going for him, he is young, a team leader and shows his leadership on the baseball field backing it up with great numbers. He should be an MVP candidate as long as no injuries hit him. Defending in the outfield with be Albert Almora in Centerfield, Jason Heyward in Right and Kyle Schwarber in Left. Jason Heyward will need to get back to his form in Atlanta after having a disappointing season at the plate. He’s still a great fielder in the outfield, but if he can regain his previous form and improve on his .230 average it would be a big bonus for the World Champions. 23 year old Albert Almora will be a question mark for the team due to his limited big league experience. But he does have great potential. Kyle Schwarber and Jon Jay will be in left field on most nights depending on who is on the mound. The Cubs have alot going for them. They’re young, talented and now have valued playoff experience. Look again for them to make a run at another World Championship.