A Look Ahead….The Final Standings

Could this finally be the year? Crane Kenney has repeatedly mentioned the 100-year due bill the Cubs’ front office is faced with on a daily basis. It is more than obvious the Cubs are in “win now” mode. But do they have enough to play games in October? Some say yes, some say no….but what does the Faithful think?

The final look ahead before Opening Day stateside is centered around not only the final standings in the National League Central, but in all of Major League Baseball.

The NL Central

With teams such as the Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Rockies in the West and the Mets, Phillies and Braves in the East, the likelihood of the Wild Card coming out of the Central is very slim. So if the Cubs have aspirations of playing in the fall, they must win their division. With the obvious out of the way, that could be easier said than done.

The ‘Comedy‘ Central has featured Champions the past two seasons that have sported win totals of 83 and 85 respectively. With all of the moves made during the off-season, the Central should be more competitive and the winner will likely need to win at least 90 games in order to be crowned champion.

A lot of the experts are predicting the Central will be a two team race between the Cubs and the Brewers, with the sleeper being the Reds. Many of the XM experts are giving the edge to the Brewers….because of their young, explosive offense and the promise of such pitchers as Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva. Holden Kushner, however, recently emailed the CCO and not only is he picking the Cubs to win the Central but he is predicting the Cubs will represent the National League in the Fall Classic against the Toronto Blue Jays.

PECOTA is predicting the Cubs to win the Central with a 91-71 record and the rest of the division to shake out as follows:

  1. Chicago Cubs – 91-71
  2. Milwaukee Brewers – 86-76
  3. Cincinnati Reds – 80-82
  4. St. Louis Cardinals – 75-87
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates – 73-89
  6. Houston Astros – 72-90

And the Sporting News is predicting:

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Milwaukee Brewers
  3. Houston Astros
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Cubs losing to the Red Sox in the World Series

Phil Rogers recently predicted a 95-win season for the Cubs and his final predictions for the Central:

  1. Chicago Cubs – 95-67
  2. Milwaukee Brewers – 88-74
  3. Cincinnati Reds – 86-76
  4. Houston Astros – 76-86
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates – 74-88
  6. St. Louis Cardinals – 69-93

For another point of reference, Squawking Baseball.com has the over/under on Cubs’ wins for 2008 at 87.5….and then there is Dave Kaplan’s prediction of 96 wins.

But this is not about the experts, it’s about the Faithful. So what is your prediction for the NL Central for the upcoming season?

The Rest of Baseball

So if Lou Piniella’s crew is able to play ball deep into October, which teams could the Cubs end up facing?

PECOTA is predicting the rest of baseball to finish as follows:

NL East

  1. New York Mets
  2. Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Atlanta Braves
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Florida Marlins

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. San Francisco Giants

NL Wild Card – Milwaukee Brewers

AL East

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

  1. Cleveland Indians
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Minnesota Twins
  5. Kansas City Royals

AL West

  1. Los Angeles Angels
  2. Oakland A’s
  3. Seattle Mariners
  4. Texas Rangers

AL Wild Card – Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers finished their prediction with identical records

And the Sporting News is predicting:

NL East

  1. Atlanta Braves
  2. Philadelphia Phillies
  3. New York Mets
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Florida Marlins

NL West

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. San Francisco Giants

NL Wild Card – Philadelphia Phillies

AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Cleveland Indians
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Minnesota Twins

AL West

  1. Los Angeles Angels
  2. Seattle Mariners
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Oakland A’s

AL Wild Card – Cleveland Indians

So here’s the final preseason contest. There will be two winners for this round of predictions. First, you must correctly pick the finishing order of the NL Central. Second, you must correctly predict the final records of each team.

Also, there are two more stats to correctly pick that will help determine the winner in the event of a tie….the total amount of runs the Cubs will score this season and team ERA. In 2007, Lou Piniella’s offense scored 752 times and the 2nd best ERA in the NL belonged to the Cubs….4.04.

To make your prediction, leave a comment below.

You can also make your predictions for the rest of the league, but those are only for bragging rights only….and a very clever title we will come up with later.

Winners will be announced at the end of the season and there will be prizes awarded….probably just some CCO swag. Hat tip to Jim Kneisley for the idea behind all three articles.

Also, keep in mind there is still time to make your predictions on the Cubs’ offense and pitching staff and all entries will be accepted if time stamped before Carlos Zambrano’s first pitch on Monday….

A Look Ahead….Predicting the Offense for 2008
A Look Ahead….Predicting the Pitching Staff for 2008

Remember to have fun, isn’t that what baseball is supposed to be? FUN!

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney