I think at this point everyone has Cubs fatigue. Every season we’re left wondering if the Cubs will finally get that World Series. This season I think we have Cubs fatigue for another reason too. All year we’ve had to hear about how good the Cubs are. They were by far the best and most consistent team in baseball all season. They pitch, they hit, and they play defense. But will they finally break the “Curse of the Billy Goat” this season?
Yes. The Cubs will play in their first World Series since 1945. And they will win their first World Series since 1908.
I understand that the season isn’t even over yet, but I don’t think it matters. The Cubs are just too good for other teams. FanGraphs has them ranked as the second best offensive team, and the best defensive team. Then there’s their pitching which is ranked fifth, but does boast the best ERA in baseball.
So let’s start with the offense.
Leading the Cubs offense is 24 year old Kris Bryant. An MVP candidate Bryant has done it all this season. He currently has 39 home runs, 101 RBIs, and has scored another 120 runs. By fWAR he’s been the best position player this season not named Mike Trout.
Bryant isn’t the only threat in the Cubs lineup though. They also have Anthony Rizzo who is slashing .292/.386/.549 combined with his 32 home runs and 106 RBIs. Then we can throw in Dexter Fowler with his .274/.388/.448 slash line out of the lead off spot, and Ben Zobrist’s .269/.385/.427 slash. That’s four guys in the top-15 for OBP. No other team has more than one. The Cubs are going to score runs. Four players aren’t going to slump at the same time. Opposing pitchers simply cannot make mistakes.
Now, the defense.
Regardless, of my feelings about Addison Russell being elected to the All Star Game, he can definitely play defense. Based on FanGraphs DEF stat, Russell is the third best defensive shortstop in baseball. He has the range to steal hits. And while he does have 14 errors, 9 of those are throwing errors. But still he makes plays like this:
But Addison Russell is just one highlight reel piece of an exceptional defense. As a whole the team just plays better defense than anyone else. Baseball-Reference has them at 92 defensive runs saved. The next closest team is the Houston Astros with 59. We can also look at defensive efficiency. The Cubs come in at .728. The Dodgers are next at .704. And if there was still any doubt about the Cubs ability to defend, they allow the fewest runs per game at 3.42.
But the Cubs can also pitch.
Last year Jake Arrieta won the NL Cy Young Award. He hasn’t been as dominant this season, but that’s not to say that he hasn’t been good. Arrieta has still posted an 18-8 record with a 3.10 ERA. But he’s also only been the third best pitcher for the Cubs this season. Kyle Hendricks has had an incredible season. He’s thrown 185 innings and leads all starters with a 1.99 ERA. The second guy on that list though is also a Cub. That spot belongs to Jon Lester. Lester has posted a 2.28 ERA this season.
So going into the playoffs teams will have to face each of these guys. That’s a scary thought. But what’s even scarier is what’s at the end of the game. Yeah, Aroldis Chapman. His K/9 is 15.43. That’s ridiculous, almost as ridiculous 100.4 MPH on your fastball.
All in all, this has to be the Cubs year. They are set up for October baseball. They can do everything. They hit, field, and pitch. There is no team in baseball that has come close to being as good as them this season. 2016 is the year that the Cubs will finally win that World Series.