I’m not picking the Cubs to win the NL Central. I’m not picking them to win the Wild Card, either.
But I know this team is better than the 79-83 record predicted by Baseball Prospectus, which has the Cubs finishing nine games behind St. Louis and in second place in the Central.
Chicago’s starting pitching is too good. Its lineup is too good. And, the Cubs play the Pirates way too many times to end the season below .500!
I respect BP and understand how such a sobering prognostication came to be.
The 2009 Cubs were chalked-full of talented players who collectively and individually underperformed due to injury, personal setbacks and/or ‘Milton the Terrible.’
Not exactly a glowing endorsement for 2010, even for the staunch believers in rebound years.
And other than Bradley’s departure, not much else changed on the North Side this winter to rank the Cubs as post season contenders.
It’s obviously left many questions unanswered beginning in Mesa, but finishing below .500 isn’t one of them.